Take a deep breath, in and out – our breath imitates the swelling and contracting of the sea as Matsui Kazutoshi highlights in The Breathing Sea. Kazutoshi’s blues are hauntingly beautiful, reminiscing of the quiet landscapes of tropical islands in Japan’s southern reaches like in Kakeroma Romance. In his Living With Snow series, Kazutoshi plays with a muted color palette and staccato strokes. His work reflects both innocence and simplicity as Kazutoshi channels the power within the places he translates onto canvas from the moments in which they exist. His sensibility is decidedly Japanese, showing elegant and minimalistic characteristic of his culture and people.
Many of his works feature the traditional Japanese sumi ink: a medium similar to watercolor in texture, but solid black in color. Sumi inks are typically used in a painterly fashion, always displaying the process and movement of each stroke. Kazutoshi’s work venerates these practices utilizing his strokes sparingly to highlight negative space and resemble traditional Japanese art styles. One is reminded of the sparse prose of novelist Yasunari Kawabata who’s story Snow Country would pair well with Kazutoshi’s Living with Snow. Both reflect a nostalgia for the old world, tradition, and the natural world–all important themes in Kazutoshi’s work.
Kazutoshi Lives in Saitama, a city within the Greater Tokyo Area. He enjoys traveling throughout Japan where he is inspired by the varying landscapes and climates of his country.