Kim Uchiyama Captures the Light of Sicily

Installation view of Kim Uchiyama: Heat and Shadow at 499 Park Avenue, The Lobby Gallery

New York, the birthplace of Minimalism, has not always been kind to artists striving to expand the genre’s reductive orthodoxies. Consider how long it took for this city’s art world to recognize the rigorous abstractions of Carmen Herrera, Virginia Jaramillo, and Mary Corse. Herrera was 102 and Corse was in her mid 70s when they had their first museum shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Jaramillo was in her early 80s when she had her first solo museum show at the Menil Collection in Houston. Instead of seeing them as derivative, the art world began to recognize these artists as pioneers.

Born in 1955, a decade after Corse, Kim Uchiyama belongs to a generation of women abstract artists who have yet to receive the recognition they deserve. When I visited the exhibition Kim Uchiyama: Heat and Shadow at 499 Park Avenue, in the building’s lobby gallery, the artist’s first solo show in New York since 2014, I asked myself: What does Uchiyama do in paint that is her own?

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