photo: SAIKI Taku

color of river

ArtistMARUYAMA Naofumi
Material/ Techniqueacrylic on cotton
Size/ DurationH113.5×W340.0cm each (set of 2)
Copyright Notice© MARUYAMA Naofumi
Year of acquisition/ donation2005
DescriptionBorn in Niigata, Japan in 1964. Lives and works in Tokyo.

After attending Bunka Fashion College and Setsu Mode Seminar, Maruyama Naofumi finished his studies at B-semi School. He attracted critical attention in the 1990s with a series of abstract paintings that resembled the enlarged structures of cells and plants. Since then he has gradually moved away from abstract paintings to still lifes, portraits, and other representational paintings, although he has stuck with the same technique of staining, which involves applying paint to unprimed canvases. The resultant paintings, in which the images seep into the canvas and disappear the moment the paint is applied as if some external force beyond the control of the artist were also at work, reflect the earnestness with which Maruyama approaches the act of painting.

This work was first exhibited as part of the solo exhibition in Tokyo titled “Temperature of Time – Large Water” in 2003. The staining effect and bright colors give the surface of the water depicted in the painting a dreamlike appearance, creating a scene that is somehow familiar yet unfamiliar. The composition, in which the same motif stained in a different manner is repeated top and bottom, the latter appearing at first glance to be a mirror image of the former but not being so, blurs the boundary between real and virtual images, impressing on the viewer a sense of expanding and shifting time and space. Although the technique employed by Maruyama, in which the paint seeps into the canvas, demands the acceptance of uncertainty and makes repainting difficult, the decisive, flowing lines are actually achieved with the help of countless drawings.