The Minster Gallery presents a second solo exhibition of Japanese abstract artist Masako Tobita from the 2nd May to the 2nd June 2014. In this new exhibition, Masako captures the beauty and tranquility of nature and the soothing effects it can have. There is a wonderful serenity and almost transparency about this new collection.
Masako’s first exhibition at The Minster Gallery in 2012 was inspired by the devastating effects of the forces of nature, in particular the Tsunami of 2011. She predominantly used the colour red in her work, as an expression of the overwhelming feelings of loss, anger and desperation and yet stoical determination and courage of the people of Japan.
On her recent travels to Japan, she found her country still suffering from the consequences of the Tsunami. She listened to the stories of loss and fear of the people she met, and the sense of powerlessness and wonder at what had happened. Masako was moved by their stoical calmness, bravery and courage. It left her in awe of the strength and warmth of human nature facing adversity. She wanted to capture this strength. It was in her travels to the Seto Inland Sea that she rediscovered that in fact, nature which can be so devastating, can also give you the strength to carry on.
In the Seto Inland Sea, she visited the islands of Naoshima and Inujima. These islands are centers of contemporary art and architecture co existing with the traditional Japanese culture alongside the beauty and tranquility of nature. There, Masako was overwhelmed by inspiring art works and more importantly, the timelessness one can find in certain parts of Japan, the essence of the old country, its people and their ways.
Standing on a pier and staring out to sea like she used to do in New York by the Hudson River, she felt a connection to her life. There was for her a revelation that no matter how hard life may be, nature inspires you to carry on. Masako was fascinated by the water , which was calm, soothing and beautifully “grey”, so different from the power of the Pacific Ocean… “Since then, the peacefulness of the colour “grey” has been in my mind”. These new paintings celebrate the communion of man with Nature in the old traditional Japanese ways. “Nature embraces you and Life triumphs”. The serenity of Nature and the calming colour of grey are inspiring, soothing, energizing.
Masako’s work is very distinctive and unique. She allows her thoughts, experiences and feelings to flow through onto the canvas, producing brushstrokes that draw the viewer to experience and enjoy her ability to reach abstraction. “As the days begin, I pick up a brush, mix some colours and start making a first mark on a canvas, without knowing where it will lead. My work is very much like an autobiography, layers of feelings about the past, the present and the future.” In her new works, Masako uses pallet knives to create different effects, acrylics and oils together and wood panel.
Masako was born and raised in Japan and studied art and design at Joshibi University in Tokyo before working for a graphic design and architectural company. When she moved to New York later on, she felt drawn to paint and followed a drawing course at The Art Students League in Manhattan. Since living in the U.K., for more than twenty-five years, she attended a course at Winchester Art College and developed her work as an artist very successfully, exhibiting in many galleries across the U.K., including in London at the RA Summer Exhibition and at the Open West, Cheltenham. She has been represented by The Minster Gallery for the last four years.