Nature's spontaneous and sometimes-fragile existence is an underlying theme in Yuriko Kitamura’s work. “I want to capture the timeless serenity, the power and endurance of rugged mountains, the delicacy of a flower or the essence of the human figure.” Yuriko pioneered the technique of dye painting on rice paper, although she is known for developing this studio technique, her primary work is done on location in watercolor and pencil sketches. Despite the physical and visual demands, for Yuriko nothing can replace the sense of wholeness nature provides – the smell, sound and tranquility. She takes every opportunity to work in the mountains, this work is based on several such trips.
"I'm really aiming to develop the work past what I see. In effect, I want to go behind what I'm seeing and paint what's in my heart as I face the landscape." Yuriko Kitamura, "Kitamura dovetails eastern, western art forms", Edmonton Journal, 5 September 2003, E8)
Nature's spontaneous and sometimes fragile existence is an underlying theme in Yuriko’s work. “I want to capture the timeless serenity, the power and endurance of rugged mountains..."
Yuriko Kitamura pioneered the technique of dye-painting on rice paper. This approach allows her to express nature’s spontaneous and sometimes fragile existence. 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. Despite the physical and visual demands, for Yuriko nothing can replace the sense of wholeness nature provides – the smell, sound and tranquility. She takes every opportunity to work in the mountains.
Born in Hokkaido, Japan, Yuriko moved to Canada in the 1960s after completing a B.Sc. Degree in Pharmacology. Her career as an artist began in Alberta, where she still lives.
Yuriko Kitamura taught the technique of dye-painting on rice paper for 14 years at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Extension. Her art has been exhibited in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her work is represented in the Art Collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Alberta House (Hong Kong), Suncor, and in many other public and private collections in Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe.
Yuriko’s mixed media paintings on rice paper are created by “wet on wet” watercolour techniques using dyes and/or pigments on rice paper. Since rice paper is porous, wax lines are applied as resist, therefore keeping the dyes and pigments where they are desired. Then wax is applied on the whole rice paper in order to protect it from damage by water. It is recommended that the painting not be hung in direct sunlight, nor exposed to high temperatures. The works therefore should be treated like watercolors and graphite drawings.
One of Yuriko's poems, "Buddha's Mercy," is included in the anthology Standing Together, edited by Linda Goyette.
2009 Changing Light-The Mountains of Banff, Willock & 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
University of Alberta, Health
Sciences Centre, Edmonton, AB
Private Collections: Canada, Japan, Singapore, Europe, and the United States.
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).