(about the exhibition of Masao AOKI at MAISON D'ART Osaka )

Masao AOKI is an artist who celebrates the glow of life with straight lines!

@-In the new work he has gone on to produce even dazzling lines.
Aoki is an artist of line.He is retiring from a life of teaching at an art college,and is holding an exhibition to mark the occasion.It is not a retrospective exhibition including all his major works of the past but a continuation of the solo exhibitions he has held every year until now.For it,he has selected the best of his recent work,concentraiting on works that have not yet been shown.
When I asked him the reason for this continuity,he told me ,
" Line always refreshes me,line is power!"
This statement expresses his awareness,a kind of inspiration,that he and line are one.
It goes without saying that he can make such a statement because he achieves a state of concentration in his work where he does not know whether line is him or he is line.

an omission)

-I would like to repeat

Aoki is an artist of line. his line depending on the painting are devided into two kinds. One is the painted or drawn line,a streak or stripe on the surface of the painting.The other type of line is created at the boundary between two areas of color. It is a geometric line with the witdth or thickness. This line is like a fold or crease,a natural boundary.
In terms of the overall composition, the painted lines freeze the picture plane while the boundary lines liberate it, creating a sense of rhythm through form and color. Colored areas become spaces that weave together bright, vivid color and forms like the view in a kaleidoscope.
After looking at these pictures for a while, one notices that small functional changes occur in the lines which ordinarily would freeze the surface. Very thin painted lines perform the same function as strings on the lyre of Orpheus.
That is, they visually convey the rhythm of forms and colors created by the boundary lines as subtle reverberations. This means that the main protagonist of expression in the Reverberations series is the painted line, and the order of the surface(its two-dimensionality) is maintained by the boundary lines that create shape and patterns. It is pleasurable to watch Aoki manipulate his varied lines, performing a drama involving a protector and a liberator of the picture with
many reversals of plot. In reality, the painted lines and the boundary lines are not enemies but enter into organic relationship in which they supplement each other's functions on the canvas. In any event, boundary lines always accompany the painted lines.

(an omission)

In the new work he has gone on to produce even more dazzling lines. The short segments overflowing the canvas repeat the forward-moving pulse of today, the heartbeating present, cascading on the viewer before he has a chain breath, like the Wadaiko drums that overcome the roaring wild sea and the Tsugaru samisen that echoes the trash northern wind. This powerful force that always wants be now is the power of line.

Masao AOKI is an artist who celebrates the glow of life with straight lines!


Art Critic. Member of International Association of Art Critics, Japan.
Born in 1927 in Tokyo. Studied German litterature at Tokyo University.
Used to be a professor of Hosei University and lecturer of Tama Art University.

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