Japanese, born 1937
woodblock on paper
Gift of D. Lee Rich, P’78 ’80 and John Hubbard Rich, Jr., Class of 1939 Litt.D. 1974, P’78 ’80
Reflecting her transnational cultural heritage as a Japanese-Canadian, Matsubara combines the traditional Japanese medium of woodblock print with the modernist technique of abstraction to present a harmonic balance. Japanese and Euro-American aesthetics mutually inform the print’s elongated shape, angular form, and expressive line. Matsubara precisely carves out negative space to create balance in the composition. The work’s monochromatic coloring alludes to 17th century ukiyo-e prints that inspired the artist, while blocky geometric abstraction channels Euro-American Expressionism. In contrast to traditional ukiyo-e prints, which typically depicted beautiful, idealized women, Matsubara’s self-portrait re-writes the female subject not as a sexualized figure but rather as a strong, independent woman who acknowledges no fixed cultural or gendered identities.