Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In memory of George Miyasaki

George Miyasaki at Magnolia in 2009

It is hard to believe and difficult to report, but our friend and teacher George Miyasaki passed away this week. He was 78 years old.

George was a role model to all who knew him – an extraordinarily humble and soft-spoken man whose grace, patience, and good humor were matched only by his incredible work ethic. Having studied painting and printmaking with Richard Diebenkorn, Leon Goldin, and Nathan Oliveira in the 1950s, George immediately began winning awards for a highly innovative body of printmaking work that continued right up until this year. His signature mix of collograph textures, expressionistic forms, and unpredictable colors made his work instantly recognizable. It would be a disservice to George to say that his work simply reflected his personality when he was so unquestionably gifted and worked so admirably at his craft – yet it is true that his prints balanced a gentle, lyrical elegance with a bold physicality in a way which mirrored the quiet strength that seemed to radiate from George himself.

A young George Miyasaki, second from right, with (from left) Harold Rosenberg, John Coplans, and Wilfrid Zogbaum

One can read all about George's storied career in the biography available from his galleries or the numerous major museums that collected his work; to list his various Guggenheim and NEA grants, to speak of his work at Atelier 17 in Paris or his decades of teaching at UC Berkeley, while extremely impressive, somehow still does not seem to do him justice. George was a lion. It is hard to put into words how generous he was with his brilliance, how dedicated he was to his work, and how fortunate we are to have learned so much from him. We love you, George.

John Mass, Era Farnsworth, George Miyasaki, and Brian Caraway at Magnolia in 2010

George Miyasaki - Composition 18, a lithograph from 1957

Miyasaki (far left) with family in the 1950s

Guy Diehl, Donald Farnsworth, George Miyasaki, Enrique Chagoya, and Dean Smith at Magnolia, 2010

Miyasaki (at right, ever the instructor) at a wedding in Hawaii, 2006

Miyasaki with family in front of a painting in progress, 2005

A 2005 drawing by Miyasaki commemorating his parents

Squeak Carnwath and George Miyasaki with collagraphs in progress at Magnolia, 2010

Miyasaki at Magnolia, 2008

Printer Rick Dula and George Miyasaki wiping a collograph plate at Magnolia, 1999

Dula and Miyasaki pull a print at Magnolia, 1999

George Miyasaki - Dog Days of Summer III (v.4), 2005
collagraph and mixed media, 31.5 x 25 in.

Miyasaki at Magnolia, 2008


jeannie said...

He was my teacher at Berkeley. He was a great teacher and I learned much from him.

Geraldine Duncann said...

George and his wife and my first husband, Don Yuen and I were great friends when we were all at the California Collage of Arts and Crafts. We pulled many an all-nighter over a jug of cheep wine and a game of pinochle.

I only just discovered that he had died. Does anyone know the cause of death?

Geraldine Duncann