The landscape painting tradition developed simultaneously across numerous generations and countries by independent invention, revealing various perspectives, spiritual and emotional inspirations. Ryozo Kato is fascinated by Chinese ink landscape painting tradition of the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) where sceneries in scrolled formats were rendered with finely-executed strokes categorized as fuhekishun (axe-cut stroke) and himashun (fiber texture stroke). Kato applies comparable characteristics by painting San sui kyo (Lot 1597) and San kyo zu (Lot 1598) by channeling the eye vertically through the foliage or horizontally through the mountain ranges, inviting the viewer to visually tread along the meandering path.
By employing delicate brushwork over a softly colour-washed paper, Kato forms a romantic vision of dense foliage that seemingly provides shelter for the hermetic literati scholars who similarly practiced this style of painting. The acute shading of yellow, green and pale red are equally reminiscent of Baroque artist Jacob Isaackszoon van Ruisdael's romantic paintings where natural, untamed landscapes represented the grandeur of Nature. Kato follows in the footsteps of his Dutch predecessors, using color to reveal the subtle nuances in clouds, greenery and ground, further extending the rich and complex idyllic landscape in our imagination. Though unexplored wilderness may present unexpected encounters with animals and strangers, Kato's paintings negate fears and tribulations of the extreme wild and instead invite the viewer into his calm and meditative surroundings.