woodblock on paper
Gift of Ted and Marcia Marks in memory of Emily Howe Marks
This expressionist print renders the experience of Nōh drama in two-dimensional form. Nōh is one of the oldest types of performance in Japan, dating back to the 14th century. Matsubara hails from the historic capital Kyoto, where Nōh originated and is still flourishing. As a Japanese artist living abroad, Matsubara saw the city’s historic and tradition-infused character reflected in Nōh drama. One of its key aspects is the moment of yugen, a dramatic pause that reveals the true character of the actor. The natural rhythm and slow movement of Nōh inspires Matsubara’s own technique. Bold, thick, and rough lines are used to create a dramatic, dynamic effect. Bold shapes and monochromatic coloring evoke a singular, abstract gesture, revealing the expression of the actor at this moment. In this stillness, Matsubara captures the essence of Nōh drama.