Emptiness Overflowing

Sam Francis and Japan

In the work of American artist Sam Francis (1923–1994), Western and Eastern aesthetics engage in a profound intercultural dialogue. Francis first traveled to Japan in 1957, developing a lifelong affinity for Japanese art and culture that influenced his work. His expressive handling of negative space shared pictorial and philosophical affinities with aspects of East Asian aesthetics, particularly the Japanese concept of “ma,” the dynamic between form and non-form. The exhibition explores the artist’s work in relation to “ma” and other aspects of Japanese aesthetics, including works by Francis in the company of historic Japanese works to illustrate stylistic priorities shared by both.


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