The works of Hiroshi Sugito often depict dreamy landscapes containing houses, boats in the vast ocean, trees, snow and mountain forests. Various shapes and contours seemingly frolic on his canvas amongst hues of pink, mossy green and sky blue, exuding both a child-like candor and a frenzy of energy. The ebb and flow of emotions in Sugito’s works are foggy and indistinct, as if striving in futility to capture the totality of visions from a dream.
Hiroshi Sugito was born in Nagoya in 1970. He moved to the United States as a child on account of his father’s occupation and spent the better part of his childhood and early teen years immersed in English. At the age of 14, Sugito returned to Japan, though his atrophied Japanese language abilities estranged him from the land of his birth, making him feel more like a foreigner in a strange land. It was from that point on that Sugito started to use painting express his thoughts and feelings. When he turned 16, he crossed paths with visiting art professor Yoshitomo Nara who introduced Sugito to the works of Cy Twombly. Sugito found himself drawn to Towmby’s debonair and almost indulgent style and became inspired to make painting and art his life’s profession.
Sugito’s artistic expression has since expanded beyond just painting. Some of his works are clearly no longer confined to just drawing and painting as his medium of expression. For instance, many years earlier, Sugito held an art exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. One of the promotional posters for the exhibition showcased an old, worn-out envelope which Sugito bedecked with an array of bright colors. This did not seem to conform to the traditional notion of a painting. Some of his other pieces in the exhibition were placed in a specially designed frame which was always larger than the pieces they encased. Sugito filled the spaces that existed between the pieces and their frames with a crimson spongey material, making these pieces more akin to installation art than paintings. There was also a large portrait frame situated in the back stairwell of the venue which curiously looked like yet another one of Sugito’s works.
In the Japanese language, “datsuryoku” literally means the release or loss of physical power. When applied to art, it refers to the unrestrained and nonchalant style of an art piece. In contrast to overly intricate and meticulous works of art which often astound but suffocate, Sugito’s “datsuryoku” style provides a breathable experience and is able to engross the beholder’s thoughts in a gentle and calm ambience.