Hiroyuki Doi
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  • UNTITLED (HiD303)
  • Hiroyuki Doi (b. 1946)
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • 2003
  • Ink on paper
  • 55 x 27 in.
  • American Folk Art Museum, gift of the artist and Phyllis Kind Gallery, 2005.20.1
  • “Now that we are living in the age of computerized society,” writes Japanese artist Hiroyuki Doi, “I believe human work using human hands has to be emphasized more. By drawing, I started to feel relief, at some point I started to feel that something other than myself allowed me to draw these works. Suppose every creature is a circle, which exists in this world, how many of them can I draw? That is my life work and my challenge. I have to keep on working, otherwise nothing will be brought in to existence. By drawing circles I feel I am alive and existing in the cosmos.” Doi has selected a single form for his visual vocabulary: the circle. He covers page after page of  paper with highly organic forms that evoke several images:  the world’s topographical map, enormous soaring galaxies, swirling comets, and stormy tsunamis.

    The artist executes a remarkable variety of circles, from fat, cartoonlike discs that appear decorative and almost cute to dense, highly rendered and less orderly circles that take on more mysterious personalities. Using a Pilot ink pen and a range of paper, Doi is able to present an impressive span of color values—from pale gray to jet black—through only the variation of the circles’ scale. He exploits volume and his artistry partially rests in how he creates so much mass in the process. Working on imagery that is quite large in scale and completely abstract, but with a form that is quite intimate, makes for complex drawings.

    Doi has been working as an artist for more than three decades, but this circle motif and meditative process is something relatively new. This drawing belongs to a series the artist began after the death of his younger brother, and is much more personal than the illustrations he creates for reproduction in magazines. Doi approaches the blank page in a pensive state—“something other than myself allowed me to draw these works”—and his process is reminiscent of the spiritualist, trancelike works of self-taught artists Emma Kunz, Madge Gill, and Agatha Wojciechowsky.
  • Photo by Gavin Ashworth