Nihonga Painter Yuki Matsuoka’s Organic Artworks are Brimming with Energy

“No beginning No end” by Yuki Matsuoka | photos courtesy the artist

Last week in Kyoto, the Eki Museum hosted an exhibition dedicated to five up-and-coming nihonga painters. Literally “Japanese painting,” the term nihonga sounds broad but actually refers to a very specific style of painting that uses only natural materials like sumi ink, mineral pigments, gofun (a white pigment made from pulverized seashells) and animal or vegetable coloring.


One of the featured artists was Yuki Matsuoka, who graduated from Kyoto City University of Arts with an MFA in 2020. On display was a recent work titled “No beginning No end,” made from sumi ink painted onto a pigskin canvas, which itself had been stitched together from smaller pieces.

Small dots gradually form masses that expand outward, taking on shapes like atmospheric flow, supernova explosions, and flowers. Brimming with organix energy, it’s a piece that was shaped largely by the artist’s tragic experience over the pandemic, which included not only his own hospitalization and surgery but the death of his grandmother and teacher. Painting is an act of acquiring bits and pieces of the world around him, explains the artist, adding that the past 3 years made him of life and death; of beginnings and endings.

The three-dimensional texture of Matsuoka’s paintings are hardly captured by photography. Although the current exhibition has ended, you can keep up with the artist on Instagram and try to see his works in person. We’re looking forward to seeing more from him.

a flyer for the exhibition featuring Yuki Matsuoka, as well as four other young nihonga painters

1 Comment

  1. So wonderful to see this site. Love all things Japanese.

Comments are closed.

© 2024 Spoon & Tamago

Up ↑

Design by Bento Graphics