This would be the first time when I am writing not only about an artist but an entire genre that he/she represents and also the culture that created both of them. Today I will present to you one amazing artist from an amazing country-a land filled with mystery and beauty-the Japan’s great artist Fuyuko Matsui.
Fuyuko Matsui uses the “Nihonga” traditional Japanese painting which uses all natural materials and the process(usually compared to the European oil painting) is time consuming.
“In 1882, Ernest Francisco Fenollosa, the American philosopher who was hired by the Meiji government, used ‘Japanese Painting’ at his lecture and the term was translated in ‘Nihonga’. He pointed out 5 characteristics of it;
1. No realism like photograph
2. No shadow
3. Having outlines
4. Pale colors
5. Simple expression
Strictly speaking, ‘Nihonga’ is the painting after Meiji Era, but generally we call so even if they were painted before the time.”(Click To Learn More)
Fuyuko Matsui’s Nihonga style is delicate and washes are pure,luminous color. The light is captured and bounces off the edges of the various ground edges of the mineral pigments allowing the various build up layers to play off each other. Her art is rich and expressive-probably based on traditional Japanese mythology and movies.
When I first saw her art I couldn’t help but to remember the amazing Japanese horror movies like-“The snow Woman”(1968) or “Ringu”(1998). I know that there is a major difference in the way an European would perceive the horror and the way a Japanese sees it. The main difference stands in style and surprisingly enough-in details. There is also a huge amount of messages concentrated into one single image.
“Over the course of Japanese history, Japanese traditional art had gone through several phases. One such phase in Japanese art was the introduction of wall paintings (murals) at some point in Nara period. Murals were commonly displayed on the walls of the Horyu-ji, a temple in Ikaruga, Nara. The paintings made by the artists follow the same painting styles as that of Chinese paintings and were usually based on religious beliefs and tales.”
“Somewhere around Azuchi-Momoyama period, the Japanese art viewed the introduction of gold and silver foil in the art forms. Several different styles were introduced in the Japanese art In Edo period. Monumental landscapes and wall paintings beautified the sliding doors and castles respectively.
Presently, Japanese artists have integrated many new themes and abstract paintings in the Japanese art to keep pace with the present demands of the society. Nihonga is a form of Japanese art which is still presented in several different ways, especially with modern themes and mediums.”
There is another reason why her paintings are to be seen from a different angle-she doesn’t only portrays horror scenes but all of them have a purpose. Fuyuko Matsui is a feminist and in a country where traditions still say women are unclean and inferior she delivers a message of truth.Women are not only beautiful but also they also deliver life.So, in an interview with the Japan Times she clearly states that “We have few female artists in Japan.
Most of the female figures depicted in art are from the male’s point of view, which can be sexually limiting or look down on women. But I am a female artist and I paint female figures from a female point of view, with experience of the situation of women and girls in Japan. In this way, I can paint the reality(…), I think concepts such as not allowing menstruating females to go through a shrine, and so on, are rather meaningless today. So I tried to paint a new kusōzu — from a female point of view.”