River I

copyright the artist, courtesy of ShugoArts

Naofumi Maruyama
River I
130.0 x 162.0 cm
acrylic on cotton

This painting is striking for the lively colors of the trees, and amidst the green reflected in the mirror-like water floats one small boat carrying two people.

Born in 1967 in Niigata prefecture, Maruyama began his career in the fashion world. One day, he took the fabric for making clothes and used it as a canvas. This led him to explore painting with the staining method, in which the artist soaks the canvas or cotton fabric in water and draws on it by letting the acrylic paint soak into the material.

In Maruyama’s works, objects aren’t painted with clear outlines, colors, or shapes. With the staining technique, they never limit the viewer’s imagination to a specific place or a single image. For every person who sees his painting, there is a different version of it. Unlike a realistic drawing or a photograph, it resonates with our own experiences and memories that lie dormant within us. A scene that we might have or might not have seen before, something that’s just beyond our grasp. This landscape — formed by converging coincidences, drawn together by stains and blurs — leaves its place and time ambiguous, yet it seems to be in touch with our memories.

(Commentary: Mami Chida / Translation: Yui Kajita)