Rinpa: Silver Waves Lacquer works by Tohru Matsuzaki

November 1-21, 2018
(Tue.-Sat. 11a.m. – 6p.m.)
Opening Reception : Thursday, November 1, 6 – 8 p.m.

New York, NY, September 29th, 2018 ー Ippodo Gallery is pleased to present its latest exhibition, “ Rinpa: Silver Waves”, a solo showcase of lacquer wares by Tohru Matsuzaki (b. 1944) will be on view for November 1 – November 21.

His deep understanding of Japanese artistry has flourished through a lifelong journey of vitality and self-discovery, leading to unique and inventive works which remain useful and subtle in design.

Tohru Matsuzaki lives and works in a beautiful gated residence in Motegi, just north of Tokyo. It is a stone’s throw from the renowned pottery center of Mashiko, where ceramic artist Shoji Hamada first cultivated the folk art movement Mingei in 1930. And so, past and future coexist in this quiet enclave, as our artist continues to create. Today, he is widely celebrated, and heads the Kougeibu (Craft Division) of the influential artists’ association Kokugakai.

Matsuzaki’s appreciation of form and function was fused by his unprecedented work ethic. Seemingly rough around the edges but equally familiar and kind, the artist’s sense of self is synonymous with the pieces on display. Although his father was a Nihonga painter, in 1974, Matsuzaki’s pursuit of lacquer study proved he was as fascinated by its significance in traditional Japanese culture as by its humble, functional origins–particularly Mingei, or folk art. As such, Matsuzaki’s experimentation remains exceptional, essentially creating his own genre.

At first, he worked solely in the natural tones of the red and clear lacquer on wood, only adding the matte-finished black lacquer to his portfolio. This stands apart from the typical works of the period, in what Asian art specialist Martin Barnes has called, “tactile in a very unpretentious way, not obviously rustic like some Mingei lacquer.”

Matsuzaki approaches the process with his trademark energy and unique eye. He hollows out the wood, shapes it, then applies and reapplies the thick coats of fresh lacquer, accenting with cinnabar for red. In this methodology, he has uncovered a means to express his individuality: a technique rooted in simplicity and strength. The beauty of Matsuzaki’s work lies in this dual significance. The silver waves tell the story.

These silver waves evoke the whimsy of the Rinpa movement, the Japanese art category established in the 17th century. As director Shoko Aono explains, “His sculptural works capture the viewer’s heart. Carved from single pieces of 400-to 500 year-old zelkova, horse chestnut or chestnut timber that have been dried for more than twenty years, they do not warp. The beauty of the numerous coats of black or vermillion lacquer awake ancient memories of the Jōmon period that lie dormant within us.”

And so, Ippodo gallery invites you to awaken. The exhibition runs from November 1 to 21 at Ippodo Gallery’s New York location.

Biography

Tohru Matsuzaki
1944 Born in the Umegaoka district of Tokyo, the eldest son of Nihonga-style painter and dyer, Shu-ki Matsuzaki
1967 Graduated from the Literature Department of Tamagawa University
1974 Studied under the potter, Tatsuzo Shimaoka
1982 First selected for the Kokugakai exhibition. 1983: received the Kokugakai New Talent Award.
1984: became affiliate member.
1987: received the Kokugakai Affiliate Award for Excellence
1988 Nominated for membership of the Kokugakai. Moved his studio to Motegi-machi, Tochigi Prefecture
2001 Produced the vases for Daniel Ost’s ‘Daniel Ost Flower Festival’ in Tokyo
2002 Contributed to Shigeru Uchida’s Exhibit at the ‘Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2002’ (Milan, Italy)
2003 Participated in the ‘Turning Point: Oribe and the Arts of Sixteenth Century Japan’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
2006-2009 Become a Chairman of the Judging Committee of Craft Section of the Kokugakai 2009 Solo exhibition at Ippodo Gallery New York (New York, U.S.A.)
Collections: Schleswig Folk Museum (Schleswig, Germany) Kuri no Ki Museum (Nagano, Japan)
2009,2012: Solo exhibition at Ippodo Gallery New York
1996-Present Exhibition at Ippodo Gallery Tokyo

In addition, holds various solo and group exhibitions throughout the country.

Public Collection :
Philadelphia Museum of Art / Philadelphia, PA
Detroit Institute of Arts / Detroit, MI
University of Michigan Museum of Art / Ann Arbor, MI
Schleswig Folk Museum / Schleswig, Germany
Kuri no Ki Museum / Nagano, Japan

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