White Cube Mason’s Yard is pleased to present the debut UK solo exhibition of the Japanese artist Yoko Matsumoto. Featuring paintings and works on paper from the mid-1980s to the present day, the exhibition introduces Matsumoto’s expressive and disciplined abstraction. Throughout her extensive body of work, colour exists as a unifying force that marries tempestuous energies with a mercurial sense of physicality. With a rigorous use of light, shade and hue, Matsumoto addresses colour in a processual and meditative manner, distinguishing material constitution, tonal mutability and layered dimensionality.
With the understanding that ‘colour determined form, and form obeyed colour’, Matsumoto has developed a practice that recognises the agency of colour as both conveyor and collaborator. Through immersive compositions, hues are layered in elaborate complexes across which the eye traces nebulous forms and fluid gestures. The vaporous, feathery and climatological turbulence of her compositions are executed with the intentionality of movement across the canvas, the body assuming primacy of painterly expression. Informed by lineages of Japanese art, in particular the monochromatic ink drawing practice of suiboku-ga, Matsumoto affiliates the transparency inherent to suiboku-ga with the gradated delicacy of traditional landscape painting. ‘My ideal was to express a space with transparency like an original ink painting’, the artist says, ‘fuzzy and indistinct things. An ideal space.’
Characterised by a reduced palette and chiaroscuro, Matsumoto’s paintings weave tapestries of light and shadow through intense and vivid pigment. In the ground floor gallery, seven early works dating from 1989 to the late 1990s showcase her pursuit of focused colour study through the modulation and variability of acrylic paint. Tracing the influence of Abstract Expressionism, particularly the work of Morris Louis and Helen Frankenthaler, which the artist first encountered in 1967 during a stay in New York, these works accumulate subtle variabilities of tone. Discovering new materials in America unavailable in Japan, namely acrylic paint (Liquitex) and raw cotton canvas, in this early work Matsumoto adopted a similar technique to Louis using thinned acrylics on gessoed canvas applied with a brush and then wiped with a cloth to gradually accrue sweeping nuances of colour.
For more information, visit White Cube Mason’s Yard