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Oriental Lily(Washi Paper)
Takashi Tomo-oka
[Photograph]
Item Number:55
Tomo-oka's photographs can be described as contemporary Nihonga-style pictures. They represent a new form of painting that is carried out not with ink and brushes, but using a digital camera then printing the resulting image on handmade paper. From traditional painting, as represented by woodblock prints, to contemporary manga or anime, one element common to all Japanese art culture is that all the works are what the artist, Takashi Murakami, refers to as 'superflat', which is to say they do not utilize perspective but present instead a two-dimensional space. Tomo-oka's photographs share this characteristic of appearing flat, but another reason why 'it is difficult to tell whether they are paintings or photographs', is that all extraneous matter has been eliminated, the true essence of the plant being accentuated within the space in the form of lines. As with Japanese family crests or kimono design, the motifs have been simplified to the extreme; in Tomo-oka's words, he 'photographs the space', and the 'composition' this creates can be truly described as embodying the Rimpa style. Another feature of Tomo-oka's work is the reality imbued into the flowers and trees. A tiny wormhole in a petal, a leaf that has been reversed, a rotting berry, he presents a true image of nature and moreover, once the photograph has been exposed, he makes virtually no alterations to the image. From early childhood he devoted himself to painting, but the reason why he decided to use the camera as his tool of expression was because he realized that its ability to capture a single moment in time made it ideally suited to depict the ephemeral life of a flower.

'I wish to express the beauty of 'kaboku', which is to say, flowers and trees, using photographic techniques to create an image resembling a painting. I want to be able to feel the unadorned beauty of the plants, using a composition consisting solely of the plant and empty space, making the picture as simple as possible.'

-Takashi Tomo-oka-



On March 11 it will be one year since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. We would like to offer our sincere gratitude to all the people of the world who offered their help in the aftermath, and hope that spring, the first of the four seasons, will prove to be beautiful for them all.
About the Artist
1971Born in Nagaokakyo City, Kyoto Prefecture, the son of a bamboo basket weaver and a dressmaker.
1994Graduated from the Faculty of Art of Kyoto Seika University.
1994-1997Studied under Jun Yamashita.
1996Won the 2nd Young Portfolio Award.
1998Studied under Hironori Konishi.
2005Became a member of the Tokyo design office, Rokunana & Co.
2009Solo exhibition in Omotesando Hills, Gallery Kowa.
2012Solo exhibition at Ippodo Gallery New York, USA.
2013Solo exhibition at Ippodo Gallery Tokyo, Japan.
Solo exhibition at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California

Collection:

The Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego ( USA )
The Yale University Art Gallery, Department of Asian Art ( USA )
The Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California ( USA )