Distinguished from the trends of the time, Masako Ando works assiduously to create paintings that are able to express on the picture plane the gap between image and reality. For this exhibition, in celebration of her first art book published by Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc., a set of three new paintings “Hare”, “Pine”, and “APE” as well as drawings “APE” and “Light”, a drawing with her handmade frame, will be presented.
The new works “Hare”, “Pine”, and “APE” were created while the artist lived with her young child in the Chubu region, facing the disordered and chaotic appearance of the area of 2011 Tohoku earthquake and its associated nuclear disaster. Ostriches running wildly around deserted promenades; a pine tree left standing alone; a café named “APE”, which means ‘fire’ in the Ainu language, built with waste materials after everything was washed away from the seashore. Information from newspapers and images on TV broadcast screens; the heads of cardboard robots she made with her child; a beautiful winter day of snowfall; a map hand-drawn by her father; a child who ran to cross the fields; a child who was unborn. Great accumulations of daily occurrences are visualized as motifs such as women, children, the plants that surround them, and daily necessities. Taking full advantage of the unique properties of the oil paint medium such as its capacity for transparent and opaque hues, Ando makes a dialogue with her paintings. The process of contemplation and the materiality of the paints were carefully taken away from the works’ surfaces, and there mysteriously lie the mirrored fictitious world, depicted realistically with her highly remarkable skills, well-honed compositions and universally recognizable facial expressions. Thus, Ando’s works let us experience the true pleasure of painting.
Masako Ando was born in Aichi Prefecture in 1976. In 2001 she graduated from Aichi University of the Arts’ Graduate School of Oil Painting Department. While at university, she studied painting under Nobuya Hitsuda whose practice has influenced many artists, and now she continues to live and work based in the verdant setting of Seto city in Aichi Prefecture. Because of the extremely time-consuming techniques behind her art she works at a pace of several new pieces per year, and this exhibition marks her third solo show, following on from one in 2004 at Tomio Koyama Gallery, as well as “Hara Documents 9 Masako Ando: The Garden of Belly Button” (Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2012)