George Miyasaki

Red 48
Oil on canvas, 1963

Born in 1935 in Kalopa, Hawaii, George Miyasaki began drawing at an early age, copying cartoons out of magazines. Miyasaki’s family supported his interest in art, as did his high school art instructor, who encouraged Miyasaki to attend the California College of Art and Crafts. Miyasaki followed this advice, moving to Oakland and enrolling in CCAC in 1953, where he had the opportunity to study with Richard Diebenkorn and Nathan Oliveira. During this time, Miyasaki began to work in an abstract expressionist manner and by the late 1950’s his paintings and lithographs were beginning to find an audience and gain critical attention.

In spite of this early success, Miyasaki abandoned the expressionist approach during the mid-sixties in favor of more systematic investigations of color and form. The rigorous geometry characteristic of his works of this period subsequently softened and by 1978, Miyasaki was freely combining collage elements with hard-edge shapes and spontaneous, expressionistic paint application.

In these mature works, Miyasaki engages the viewer in almost meditative contemplation as he challenges the eye to survey the depths of his paintings’ highly nuanced surfaces and subtle printmaking. This involvement has brought him on numerous occasions to Magnolia, where he has produced several editions of delicate intaglio works and lithographs. Most recently, George Miyasaki was the recipient of the National Academy of Design’s prestigious purchase prize for print produced at Magnolia (from the Emotional Map portfolio). Miyasaki has also received, among other honors, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1980, 1985), and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1963). His work is held in the permanent collections of institutions such as the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. He currently lives and works in Berkeley, California.

Inner Eye
Acrylic on canvas

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