Take a deep breath, in and out – our breath imitates the swelling and contracting of the sea as Matsui Kazutoshi highlights in The Breathing Sea. Kazutoshi’s blues are hauntingly beautiful, reminiscing of the quiet landscapes of tropical islands in Japan’s southern reaches like in Kakeroma Romance. In his ‘Living With Snow’ series, Kazutoshi plays with a muted color palette and staccato strokes. His work reflects both innocence and simplicity as Kazutoshi channels the power within the places he translates onto canvas from the moments in which they exist. His sensibility is decidedly Japanese, showing an elegance and minimalism characteristic of his culture and people.
Many of his works feature the traditional Japanese sumi ink: a medium related to watercolor in its texture, but in color is always deep black. Sumi inks are traditionally used in painterly fashion, always displaying the process and movement of each stroke. Kazutoshi’s work venerates these practices utilizing his strokes sparingly to highlight negative space and reflecting a Japanese aesthetic – one is reminded of the sparse prose of a literary counterpart Yasunari Kawabata who’s novel Snow Country would pair well with Living with Snow: both reflect a nostalgia for the old world, tradition and the natural world, all important themes in Kazutoshi’s work.
Living with Snow II, 2019 watercolor, pencil on Paper 15.5” x 19” Please Inquire
Valley of the Gods, 2017 watercolor, pencil on Paper 17” x 20” Please Inquire
I paint the unique beauty of Japan and its people. Unexpected works of art can only be created when the channels for receiving nature are opened beyond human knowledge, just like the creatures of the natural world. When I create, I go outside and paint on the spot as much as possible. The process is more about feeling than logic. When I work, I let my hand be intuitively guided by the movements and forces of the natural realm.
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