Silhouette ’12, Lacquer Sculptures by Murata Yoshihiko / Keiko Gallery, Boston, USA
April 7 – May 7, 2012
Artist Reception: April 7, 3 — 6 pm.
From its beginning, Keiko Gallery has been committed to introducing contemporary Japanese lacquer art to the American public. We are pleased to announce the first solo exhibition by a gifted young lacquer artist, MURATA Yoshihiko, whose work relies heavily on the external play of light and shadow. His recent lyrical Silhouette focus on anthropomorphic forms whose lines twist and turn, swell and fade, like the sounds from a musical instrument. Simple, exquisite and profound, they share much in common with the brief poetic form, haiku.
Among the increasing number of well trained and gifted young Japanese lacquer artists, each of whose work is idiosyncratic, Murata Yoshihiko’s work relies distinctively on the external play of light that creates silhouettes which extend his forms and flow indistinguishably from the sculptural pieces themselves into their shadows.
Like his slender anthropomorphic forms, his occasional use of the contrasting brilliance of raden (mother-of-pearl) reflects his early fascination with the elaborate hair ornaments (kanzashi) once worn by oiran,* the high ranking goddesses of Japan’s traditional entertainment world. When he was a student in lacquer at Kanazawa College of Art — a city once famous for its entertainment quarter — he first discovered images of these courtesans whose extravagant attire and richly ornamented hair styles had captured the imaginations of most artists of Ukiyoe, the paintings and wood block prints featuring the demimonde of the Floating World. In studying these images he realized that many of the hair ornaments suggested creature-like aspects. This resulted in his exploration of small sculptures that evoked creatures of the wild.
Murata currently lives in the rural part of Japan’s Toyama Prefecture which is famous for its natural beauty and a wide variety of wild life. His encounters with the animals continually inspires his recent sculpted silhouettes.
Before he begins carving the pieces from a block of maple wood, he shapes the three dimensional form in his mind, imagining the flow of each line and arc as the cast shadows on a wall or on a flat surface. He begins to carve only after he can envision each piece from every angle.
After the form is carved, and the surface carefully sanded, he applies more than 20 coats of lacquer, each of which must be thoroughly dried, then polished — all of which requires several months to complete. It was this mastery of lacquer that led him to develop his recent lyrical Silhouette Series whose lines twist and turn, rise and fall, swell and fade like the sounds from a delicate musical instrument.
Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm. Sunday, Noon – 5pm.
Keiko Fukai, Gallery owner
Tel. 617 725-2888
121 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
Above: Murata Yoshihiko, Silhouette – Jumping Lizard, 2012, Lacquer, Wood, 3” x 7½” x 4½”.