FOR SHUHEI MATSUYAMA
It is with laborious and carefuly weight concentration that, sheet upon sheet of paper, layer upo layer of watercolor, Matsyama’s new painting grow. They grow in the lucid and serene awareness of the time of their formation, and in emotional and intellectual condition in which thougbt is action, and the movement of expression is the genetic process of theimage.
For years, the theme around which Matsuyama develops bis poetics has been Shin-on, sound, in the myriad manifestations in which it is perceived by the mind and senses. It is a sound from which the artist alms to create a sort of script, a realization on the plane of visual experience by way of atmospheres, of emotional equivalences, of symbolic slippages above all, of aesthetic vibrations.
In the past, reverberation of an axial layout, capable of tinging the surfase texture with its tiny variations of emotivity, as if through a highly concentrated seismography, he sought to put the surface of the image under tension, to give it an assertive evidence that is very slightly heightened by the way that the layers of paper refract the light.
The color was applled in uneasy tones, with small and jarring differences, that rnaintalned the flavor of an evocation of nature but tended to produce a troubled quality, of contrived and not indulgent beauty.
Now, with his latest cycle of works — still accompanied by an accessory ,musical commentary — Matsuyama has attempled an even more complex set of variations.
On the one hand, he tends to tackle the naturalistic component — desire — of his image in a more direct manner, and to contain the fervent ambigulty of the superimposition between the flowing line, with its graphic and chromatic reasonances, and the idea of the horizon. Less and less axial and brought lower and lower down, to reveal the vision of an alien pictorial sky, this trace now emerges not so much from linear decision, but out of chromatic differential, of a deviation in tonal quality. It is, now, a sort of threshold, a borderline of energy, in which different depths intersect with one another: depths that speak, through the gradations of color, of distances, and poetic cosmic suggestions: reminiscent, to make an exotic comparison that is not banal, of Hokusai’s distant grays, reds, and blues.
This more accentuated natural motion in Matsuyama’s recent work correspons to a desire to expend the area of incidence of the operation of painting beyond its canonical forms.
The series of panels of ostentatious verticality, which also acts as a physical side
—scene to the vision and as a “pasture” in which to take time over their perusal, the cylinders that reverberate outward into the space of experience, the radiant tension of the image, and the arches, the ogives: all this, now, is taking Matsuyama in the direction of an all—embracing environmental quality of the operation of painting (making the relationship with the musical accompaniment even closer), with a precise awareness of architectural integration.
The atmosphere, then, the sonorous quality of the image, moves from the inside to the outside of the actual pictorial form, without perverting its nature it is a microw orld, a part of other, concatenated and congruent microworlds.
Matsuyama, finally, succeeds in contriving a homogeneous and suspended emotional state of interpretation for the observer for those who wish it, a truly meditative state.
by Flaminio Gualdoni