We’ve been looking at the work of Naoko Matsubara, an artist whose practice spans three continents and nearly 50 years. Focused on a variety of subjects including trees, landscape, the arctic, Kyoto, and Tibet, much of her work is unified by a highly ordered yet playful simplicity in composition, against which gestural markmaking and brightly saturated planes and patterns of colour push and pull the eye.
Through this juxtaposition of contrasting patterns and gradations, Matsubara achieves a sense of framing and depth in many of her prints, which often resemble windows, doorways, screens, or sliding panels, evoking architectural space even as they conjure the natural phenomena of light at dusk or on the water.
Her series of trees, for which she is known, are the exception; these employ a more subdued approach to colour and a focus on the solidity of trunk and branches, the laciness of leaves, or both within the same composition.
thanks: Susan Low-Beer
all images by Naoko Matsubara
from top to bottom:
Sky on Sky, 2008, 69cm x 86.5cm
Summer Garden B, 2008, 95cm x 120cm
Arctic Twilight B, 1987, 80cm x 56cm
Nova Scotia, 1994, 80cm x 56cm
Tibetan Sky B, 1987, 80.2cm x 56.5cm
Inari, 1976, 56cm x 46cm
Arctic Twilight A, 1987, 80cm x 56cm
In Praise of Trees, 1985, 56.7cm x 40.3cm
Pine Fragrance B, 1996, 86.5cm x 69cm
A Giant Willow, 2006, 68.9cm x 43.3cm
In Praise of Trees, limited deluxe edition portfolio, 1985, Mosaic Press, Oakville, London, New York