Akira Yoshikawa | Reciprocity
John Kissick | Sugar & Splice

Katzman Contemporary is thrilled to launch the winter season with two exhibitions that accentuate a diametrically opposed treatment of abstract gesture. Akira Yoshikawa’s latest show, Reciprocity, consists of installation compositions, photo essays, and drawings that employ abstract gesture to exemplify the Zen notion of “surrendering naturally.” John Kissick’s new series of small-scale paintings and works on paper, Sugar & Splice, continues the exploration initiated in Sugar Won’t Work, his series of large-scale canvases exhibited this past fall, one of Canadian Art Editor Richard Rhodes’ top three shows of the year. The abstract gestures in Kissick’s latest renderings drift in the space between the deadpan and the ironic, while remaining committed to the sheer materiality of paintings as objects. Together, these exhibitions divulge both the serenity and spectacle that arises from abstract gesture, positioning the viewer between these two worlds to experience this dichotomy, and rendering an idiosyncratic resolution to these depictions.

EXHIBITION DATES: January 17 to February 21, 2015




Reciprocity focuses on the serendipitous experience of chance occurrences; specifically, those moments when a particular energy aligns with one’s own. During his residency at the Banff Centre in the summer of 2013, Yoshikawa first experienced the extraordinary, experimental sound of cellist Alex Waterman (NYC). Yoshikawa immediately felt a connection to Waterman’s creative exploration, which inspired the series of drawings “Notations for Alex Waterman.” Yoshikawa also created installation compositions and photo essays for this exhibition. Some pieces are an homage to contemporary art masters, while others depict human connections and relationships with nature. Collectively, these works embody the Eastern concept of “surrendering naturally,” akin to the natural flow of water.


Alex Waterman explores the social body that gathers together to listen, read, think, and speak musically. Since music is a process by which we listen to ourselves listening with heightened awareness of the relationships between sounds and subjects, Waterman’s musical compositional process concerns listening to listening, where “listening” is a way of being in tune and present with others.

During their residencies at the Banff Centre in 2013, Yoshikawa attended a presentation by Waterman of his dissertation on his sound making practice, followed by a performance. Yoshikawa anticipated a classical composition; however, in his own words, “I was astounded and speechless with what I was hearing! [Waterman] literally blew my mind!”


Hot on the heels of his fall 2014 exhibition, Sugar Won’t Work, Kissick extends his newfound integration of craft glitter in his work with a series of small-scale paintings and works on paper. The smaller scale of the canvases and paper for this exhibition necessitated Kissick to condense his prolific layers of paint and glitter into increasingly constrained spaces, resulting in an intense focus on the materiality of paintings as objects.



Akira Yoshikawa: Akira Yoshikawa was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1949, and moved to Canada when he was twelve years old. Yoshikawa’s primary interests are in art, architecture, and design. He studied at the Ontario College of Art, graduating in 1974 with a Special Commendation Award. During his studies, he immersed himself in Minimalist and Conceptual Art, which still influences him today. His mentors at that time include the art historian Joyce Zemans, and the artist Nobuo Kubota.

Yoshikawa has shown his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Public galleries, universities, and corporations, including Queen’s University, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, and the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, collect Yoshikawa’s artworks. He also has been awarded several grants from the Ontario and Canada Arts Councils. Until recently, the Art Gallery of Ontario employed him as a member of the Collections Management department for almost forty years.

Alex Waterman: Alex Waterman is a composer, performer, and scholar based in Brooklyn, NY. He holds a Masters in Composition and Performance from the Institute for Sonology, and a PhD in musicology from New York University. He studied cello with Andor Toth, Catherina Meints, George Neikrug, and Frances Marie Uitti. His installation works have been exhibited at the ICA London, Stonescape, Vilma Gold, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, and the Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht. New Documents released his book on Robert Ashley, written and edited by Waterman and Will Holder, in September 2014. He has produced two other books with Will Holder: Agape and Between Thought and Sound. Waterman was an artist in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, where he built a television studio, and installation space inside the museum to produce three operas by Robert Ashley. He has taught at Bard College (MFA program), NYU, Bloomfield College, and the Banff Centre for the Arts. His writings appear in Dot Dot Dot, Artforum, Brooklyn Rail, BOMB, and The Third Rail.

John Kissick: Known primarily as a painter and writer, John Kissick’s exhibition record includes over 30 solo exhibitions in Canada, the USA, and Germany. His work has been included in a number of important survey exhibitions on contemporary painting, and held in numerous public collections. A mid-career survey, entitled John Kissick: A Nervous Decade, toured Canada from 2010 to 2012, and was accompanied by a major publication. An upcoming survey exhibition, curated by Carl Lavoy, will tour from 2015 to 2017.

Kissick is also the author of Art: Context and Criticism (1992-1996), was editor of the Penn State Journal of Contemporary Criticism (1990-1995), and was a regular contributor to the New Art Examiner (1990-2000). As a critic and essayist, he has written numerous catalogue essays and articles for periodicals. As a curator, he was the recipient of the 2014 Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) Award for Curatorial Writing for his essay on the artist Ron Shuebrook. Two recent essays: “Elephants in the Room” for Canadian Art Magazine and “Disco and the Death Switch: Tales from Contemporary Abstraction” for Border Crossings Magazine recently were nominated for National Magazine Awards.

John Kissick has held numerous academic posts, including: Head of Critical Studies at Penn State University’s School of Visual Arts, Dean of the Faculty of Art at the Ontario College of Art & Design (2000-2003), and Director of the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph (2003-2014). John Kissick was elected into the Royal Canadian Academy for the Arts in 2005.

For additional information, or to inquire about this exhibition, preview opportunities, and/or general gallery questions, please contact us at info@katzmancontemporary.com.