“Burst of Nature”- An Essay by Shoko Aono, Director of Ippodo Gallery NY

A nandina plant with red berries struggles under the weight of the falling snow while a marten holds its breath, its eyes gazing in our direction. The sweet perfume of a magnolia in full bloom almost wafts from the image as the carp stream against each other in crowded pools.

Nihonga-style painter Daisuke Nakano uses an animated method of expression which makes it appear as if living creatures are on verge of bursting out of the picture. He says, ‘I want to paint pictures that look as if they would bleed if you cut them,’ imbuing each line with life, each color with blood. He takes exhaustive care over every line, capturing movement inside a stationary two-dimensional work. Accurate down to the finest detail, they dominate regardless of size.

In this, the Nihonga works share something in common with the heterogeneity that allowed anime painting to shake the Japanese art world. The exquisite way in which the scenes are expressed provide the viewer with a wonderful sense of enjoyment, touching the heart profoundly, prompting a longing for nature and hinting at how we should think of life.

Nakano was born in the ancient capital of Kyoto and studied design in school. He soon grew fascinated by natural pigments and glue made from deer, so from the age of eighteen, he devoted himself to the Nihonga painting style.

He learned quickly from the flat world of the Nihonga, drawing particular inspiration from the method of using gold or silver leaf as a base that was developed by Itō Jakuchū or the Rinpa School. It wasn’t long before he created his own, derivative painting method, filling the entire surface of the picture with detail.

Depicting the overwhelming power of nature and the climax of life, he expresses the changes of natural world, its evanescence and sorrow. Flowers in full bloom will eventually fall and physical bodies return to the earth. This intoxication of paradox and life is to be found in the work of the ‘contemporary painter’, Daisuke Nakano.

We are delighted to announce that just as spring comes to New York, Daisuke Nakano will be holding his first ever exhibition outside Japan at the Ippodo Gallery, New York.

“Snowy World,” 2016, 71 x 71 in., Natural mineral pigments, aluminum leaf, Japanese ink, jute paper

“Magnolia, ‘Luminous Wind’,” 2018, 71 x 71 in., Natural mineral pigments, aluminum leaf, Japanese ink, jute paper

“Carp, ‘Entreat’ (Ten Aspect series),” H64 x W38 1/4 in., Natural mineral pigments, aluminum leaf, Japanese ink, jute paper

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‘Even though I paint animals, even though I paint flowers, I never forget human beings.’

– Daisuke Nakano