Born 1922 in Mie Prefecture, Motonaga attended Ueno Commercial High School in Iga. After graduation, he moved to Osaka, and from 1955, he participated in the famous Gutai Art Association. His works incorporate a technique called “dripping”, where he dribbles pigment onto the canvas, similar to the technique that Jackson Pollock used to create his works. His unique way of creating art caught the attention of many, and he received favorable reactions from American and European critics alike. Though he emerged in a post-war surrealist existentialism was at the forefront of art in japan, the art he was creating in the US during the 60s were vibrant, geometric and joyful – he humorously referred to his style as “clownish” and his artworks as “eccentric art”. In 1986, Motonaga received the Hyogo Prefectural cultural Award. In 1991, he received the Order of the Rising Sun, 4th class, and in the following year, was awarded with the Osaka Art Prize. In 1993 he showed at the Venice Biennale, and also exhibited at the Kobe Biennale in the same year. Motonaga gradually expanded his practice to include printmaking, stage design, and children’s books, all while continuing his ongoing elliptical investigation into abstract painting.