“With time and water, everything changes”
~ Leonardo da Vinci
One of Japan’s most renowned living artists, Hiroshi Senju, is based in New York but often spends time in Japan. He’s known internationally for his large-scale semi-abstract waterfall paintings that employs a traditional technique known as the Nihonga. This technique, which dates back to a thousand years, exclusively uses natural pigments obtained from minerals, corals and shells to create atmospheric effects.
Born in Toyko in 1958, Senju graduated from the Tokyo University of Arts in 1987. Ten years later, at the 46th Vienna Biennale, he became the first Asian artist to receive an Honorable Mention Award. Senju was the president of Kyoto University of Art and Design from 2007 to 2013 and is presently a professor at the university’s graduate school.
Selected Works of Hiroshi Senju
The following examples of Senju’s work showcase his signature waterfall and cliff paintings, many of which are monumental in scale. They combine a minimalist visual language rooted in Abstract Expressionism, with ancient painting traditions unique to Japan, in particular the thousand-year-old nihonga technique which uses pigments made from minerals, ground stone, shell and corals suspended in animal-hide glue. Since 2007, Senju has also explored the use of fluorescent pigments, creating images that appear black and white in daylight but fluoresce an electric blue hue under ultraviolet light. These paintings are an ode to the ubiquitous city lights of contemporary existence, allowing the viewer to be completely enveloped in towering, vibrant blue cascades, alluding to the tension between the man-made and nature, between the material and the ethereal.