Yuriko Kitamura ASA

Abiding Harmony

Yuriko Kitamura's aesthetic approach exquisitely captures nature's timeless serenity. We feature her watercolours, drawings and dye-paintings.

"My concern is nature’s spontaneous and sometimes fragile existence. I want to capture timeless serenity, delicacy and strength in my drawings and paintings. When I concentrate on a flower, a mountain or a tree, I am completely absorbed in my surroundings – then my mind and nature become one.

I strive to be true to qualities of simplification, decorativeness and serenity, aspects of my Japanese heritage. With these sensitivities I draw all stages of life cycles – my emphasis is on the expectations of life.

What more can I ask?"

According to David Kung in The Contemporary Artist in Japan, “The qualities of simplification, decorativeness and serenity are the most salient forces influencing Japanese art throughout its history.”  There is no mistaking that these qualities abound in Yuriko’s body of work. Her approach allows her to express nature's spontaneous and sometimes fragile existence. 

Drawings and paintings of refined elegance - delicate flowers, quiet sanctuaries and inspiring mountains.

Born in Hokkaido, Japan, in the early 1960s the artist moved to Canada after completing a BSc in Pharmacology. Her career as an artist began in Alberta.

Yuriko Kitamura is best known in artistic circles as the originator of dye-painting on rice paper. She taught the technique through the University of Alberta, Faculty of Extension. Her art has been exhibited in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. 

The mixed media paintings are created by “wet on wet” watercolour technique using dyes and/or pigments on rice paper. Since rice paper is porous, wax lines are applied as resist, in order to contain the dyes and pigments in their designated areas. Wax is applied on the whole rice paper in order to protect it from damage by moisture in the air.

One of Yuriko's poems, "Buddha's Mercy," is included in the anthology Standing Together, edited by Linda Goyette.

Selected Exhibitions

2019 Abiding Harmony, Willock and Sax Gallery, Banff
2015 Japanese Paper Paintings, Willock and Sax Gallery, Banff
2009 Changing Light-The Mountains of Banff, Willock and Sax Gallery, Banff
2009 Ode to mountain, Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, Red Deer. AB
2008 International Figure Exhibition, Leighton Art Centre, Calgary AB
2008, Fusion, solo exhibition, Scott Gallery, Edmonton
2007 Women Artist 100 Years, Scott Gallery Edmonton, AB
2006-07 Common Ground, ASA,MSA Joint traversing Exhibition, Alberta, Manitoba
2003, Soul of the Mountain, MCPAG, Stony Plain, Alberta
2002 "Mountains and Bears", group exhibition, Willock & Sax Gallery, Waterton Lakes National Park - in celebration of the United Nations International Year of the Mountain
2002 "Selected Influence" group exhibition, Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge, AB
2000 Solo exhibition, Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge, AB, courtesy of the Willock and Sax Gallery
2000-2002 "Bridging a New Century", ASA 7th Anniversary travelling exhibition, Alberta
2000 McMullen Gallery, University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton
2000 The Works International Visual Arts Festival, Edmonton
1998 "Process", Kensington Gallery, Calgary, AB
1996 "Process", Kathleen Laverty Gallery, Edmonton, AB
1995 "Growing Well", McMullen Gallery, WC MacKenzie Health Sciences Center, Edmonton, AB
1994 "Spring Florals", Horizon Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1994 "New Works", Kensington Fine Art Gallery, Calgary, AB
1993 "Instructors' Exhibition", U of A, Extension Gallery, Edmonton, AB
1992 "Artist In Wilderness", Provincial Museum of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
1991 "Visions", Alberta Society of Artist, Japan Tour, Edmonton, AB
1990 "View From Alberta", Muttart Art Gallery, Alberta Tour
1989 "Winter Shadows", Kensington Fine Art Gallery, Calgary, AB
1987 "Scenes From Alberta", Tomakomai Gallery, Kokkaido Minato Gallery, Ginza, Japan
1986 "Royal Institute of Painting in Watercolour and Federation of Canada Artists Travelling Show, Vancouver,BC., Seattle, Washington, London, England
1984 TH Morgan Fine Art, Edmonton, AB
1983 Oppertshauser Gallery, Stony Plain, AB
1981 "Land And Floral", Fireweed Gallery, Edmonton, AB

Selected Public and Corporate Collections

Alberta Foundation for the Arts
Alberta Culture, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Canadian Western Bank
Cross Cancer Institute Edmonton, AB
Edmonton Journal, Edmonton, AB
Alberta House, Hong Kong
Misericordia Hospital, Edmonton, AB
Stony Plain Multicultural Heritage Centre, Stony Plain, AB
Suncor Corporation
University of Alberta, Health
Sciences Centre, Edmonton, AB  
Private Collections: Canada, Japan, Singapore, Europe, and the United States.

Artist Statement

Life is like a river – a tiny stream flows toward the ocean, then evaporates, becomes rain, nurturing all matter.  The process of creative painting is like a journey through a river.

Although I am known for developing dye painting on rice paper, a studio technique, my primary work is done on location in watercolour and pencil sketch.Despite the physical and visual demands, nothing can replace the sense of wholeness nature provides – the smell, sound and tranquility.When I concentrate on painting, I am completely absorbed in my surroundings – then my mind and nature become one.
What more can I ask?

“The qualities of simplification, decorativeness and serenity are the most salient forces influencing Japanese art throughout its history”, states David Kung in the contemporary artist in Japan (1966).