Base Gallery is pleased to present our first exhibition “time after time” with Rikuji Makabe.
Born in 1971 in Kanazawa city, Makabe graduated from Tama Art University in 1998.
Although he used to do descriptive painting mainly on canvas, his work have begun to undertake a major shift and take another turn after having chosen wood as the support medium.
Instead of the plane and smooth canvas, the rough and infinite surface of wood was nothing easy for him to work with when it comes to the free expressive painting. Wood is in fact rather archaic as the support medium originally. Tempera painting or Sugido-e painting by Sotatsu Tawaraya are the well known examples. His encounter with wood has shaken up his innate qualities and urged significant development in his style.
Firstly, he chose exterior wall of a house as the place to paint on. That was the perfect place in the sense that the natural elements such as wind, light and moreover the scenery back over integrate and act in concert with the painting itself. This experience made him face the test of strength and essentiality of his work, but it also gave him the opportunity to discover his clear qualification.
The project of wallalley in Ogijima island in Setouchi International Art Festival back in 2010 made the clear difference from his past work. Makabe did the extensive painting on sheathing of houses in vibrant colors with cashew paint with a view of beautiful Seto Inland Sea in back. Subsequently, he has begun to paint with the expression of the day along with the heritage nurtured by various Japanese traditional painting. His recent work reminds us of the ornamentation, transformation between the shape and its background and compatibility with nature of Japanese traditional painting, and also of color from the glaze of Kutaniyaki Pottery and the composition of each detail and whole image.
He has applied the providence of wood even to the canvas works, some of which are painted with birds-eye view that is reminiscent of Rakuchu-rakugai painting, and this style of work certainly makes us foresee the possibility of contemporary painting. "memory of a tree - prayer"
The trees painted minutely look like mist with a view from distance, and in fact each tiny dot is in the shape of human being with a closer look. The whole image on canvas leaves the impression of running across someone in a labyrinth, and brings many different stories to those who see it. The parts call back the whole image in and out of the shadow of the trees. Being refined but boundless, his work seems to play the role of the bridge between this world and the other world, creating abundant images and generating gradual stories repeatedly.