EXTENDING JAPAN'S TRADITIONAL AESTHETICS OF HARMONY
Maekawa introduces new materials into the two-dimensional interface of the painting surface, and develops the limitless possibilities of materials and painting methods.
The inherent power of materials was also emphasized by artists after the second world war: In the 1950s, Italian artist Alberto Burri used gunnysacks and cloth fragments (Fig. 1), while Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies chose concrete and sand (Fig. 2), both with the object of creating new sculptural effects. They showed how materials, aside from their unique physical properties, could directly be made vehicles for the artist's expression of feeling. Maekawa's artistic creation fully elaborates the original physical quality - its texture, surface, and tenacity - of the chosen material burlap. The application of oil paint allows further surficial glossiness and hardness, giving an everyday object a completely different and new meaning.
Maekawa's paintings display a traditional harmoniousness in their colours. The employment of techniques such as paint splashing, dripping, and staining diversifies the visual effects, registering the aesthetics of spontaneity. The vivid designs meticulously planned out by the artist possess an organic, flowing quality that is reminiscent of the paintings of Japan's traditional Rimpa school (Fig. 3). In Maekawa's landscape-like paintings woven out of burlap, balanced lines shift and change, like forms derived from flowing waves and water, demonstrating the versatility of arcs and curves whilst expressing traditional themes through the artist's distinctive methods of decoration and design.
ANOTHER WAY OF SEEING
Maekawa constructs a three-dimensional illusion on the canvas using woven fabric, from which a new way of reading this piece of art is proposed. The artist guides viewers to look at the painting horizontally at first - browsing through every inch of the canvas, then takes their eyes off it before re-entering with an aerial view. The painting thus becomes a view seen from an airplane, having a collage effect composed of complex circular shapes. This intriguing perspective of seeing certainly distinguishes itself from the accustomed way of reading an oil on canvas of flattened physicality.