A Solo Exhibition of Japanese Painter Ken Matsubara – Distillation –

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When the ability to express emotion was acquired, that is when man became human.
I would like to get back to this starting point.
If my paintings strike a sympathetic chord with, and awaken nostalgia in the back of a viewer’s mind, it will be my pleasure as an artist.

- Ken Matsubara

Ippodo gallery is pleased to announce – Distillation – Japanese painter Ken Matsubara’s solo exhibition which opens on May 12. Ken Matsubara (b. 1948) is a Japanese painter. He was born in Kamiimachi, Toyama Prefecture, Japan. The Toyama is close to the Japanese Alps, so he has been surrounded by mountains since he was born. Now he spends his time using earth from the outdoors to recreate nature indoors, living and working in Nasu, Tochigi prefecture.

“When memory and reality combine, the seeds overflow and scenery is born,” says Matsubara. Deeply treasuring his relationship with the natural world, Matsubara travels through the mountains and plains of the Nasu district to collect materials infused in his work. The artist grinds his own pigments from the earth, sourcing different colors of soil to mix with charcoal and bengala, a red iron oxide. The technique is systematic but the result is serene, and his valleyand mountain paintings blend pleasantly in a variety of settings.

With a playful smirk on his face and a skullcap on his head, Matsubara methodically sources materials outdoors, grinds pigments by hand, and prepares his washed canvasses. Although he uses brushes to gesso and glue the canvasses, the subject matter only evolves with spritzes of water, allowing the grit of the dirt-based pigments to stick to the glue in a natural formation.

When Matsubara had a chance to fly over Mount Fuji and view the mountain from above, he felt profoundly that the mountains were sculpted by water, so he paints them using only careful direction of fluid. The result mimics nature itself, like lines in the soil from a river, or rings and bark breaks on a tree. He almost always paints outside during the daytime, to bask in the light of the sun and view the paintings in their purest form.

In the summer, Japan’s climate is hot and humid. Matsubara’s works with bright sun, thriving on his own energized spirit as well. When snow falls on white-capped mountains, the landscape is quiet, with just the sound of ice melting. Air is brisk, and while the climate is harder when working with water, Matsubara’s spirit is purified. His work changes depending on the season.

The simplicity of the line nevertheless has a contemporary feel, evoking the minimalistic calligraphic work often seen in other artistic movements. On the one hand, the work is incredibly unique in subject and media, yet the universality of the line on the other compels viewers previously unfamiliar with Matsubara’s innovative style.

Matsubara has shown extensively in Japan, but rarely outside his home country. This is first exhibition in the United States, and the first abroad since his 2006 Exhibition of Ken Matsubara, which toured Paris and Cologne.

Ippodo Gallery has been actively seeking artists who depict nature through unusual methods, making powerful statements about the awe-inspiring beauty and sometimes danger that nature can bring humanity. This aesthetic appreciation for the natural world manifests with inspired living artists, and proves to be an exciting development for the direction of contemporary Japanese art overall.


***Click to watch the film of Ken Matsubara’s process of making! ***

The Process of Painting by Ken Matsubra

For more information and to view an online catalogue, please visit our Exhibition page, or see our official press release.

The Ippodo 20th Anniversary Party was held at the Palace Hotel on March 31st !


The Ippodo 20th Anniversary Party, which was held at the Palace Hotel on March 31st, was a wonderful celebration!

At the height of spring, with cherry blossoms in bloom, roughly 220 people came dressed in beautiful attire.
The event’s program consisted of various culturally-related and creative entertainment.

With the various works by our artists on display, we were witness to, and reaffirmed of, the great bond between guests and the art in our exhibition.

We are incredibly grateful for 20 years of support.
We at Ippodo take a passionate vow to continue to act as a bridge that connects those who create, with our beloved patrons.




On each table, flowers were displayed with Ippodo’s artists’ pieces.



A video of Kenji Wakasugi’s fusuma photographs marked a start of the party.

Opening speech from Keiko Aono ( Owner of Ipppodo gallery )


Performance of hand drum and flute by Mr. Denzaemon Tanaka and Mr. Denjuro Tanaka


Congratulatory speech from Mr. Yuji Akimoto ( Director of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa )


Lecture by Genbei Kondaya, the tenth generation owner of the famous Kyoto Obi specialist, Kondaya, with the theme of “Trace the origin of the word Utsukushi (Beauty)”



His obi, which will be exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London this fall, were publicly displayed for the first time in the world.


A lacquer artist Tohru Matsuzaki proposed a toast.


Sakura drink – The cherry blossoms at the Imperial Palace were in full bloom.









Many excellent works by various artists were on display and fascinated people.


A total of 52 artists joined the party. ( Left: potter Shiro Tsujimura  Right: lacquer artist Tohru Matsuzaki )


Panel discussion with the theme of “Things that Jomon period conveys to the world of today” with Mr. Karoku Miwa ( Former Director of the Kyushu National Museum ), Ms. Reiko Tsukamoto ( Member of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry ), Mr. Seiichi Kondo ( Former Director General of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan ), and Mr. Everett Brown ( Creative Advisor at the International Center for Japanese Culture ).


They gave very interesting viewpoints from the each field. The talk became animated and attracted the attention of the audience.


Lively lunch time


900 pictures which trace 20 years of Ippodo were displayed in a slide show during the meal.


We were thankfully supported by the partners to hold this party.



Closing speech from Shoko Aono ( Director of Ippodo New York )


All the staff of Ippodo were pleased with the success of the party.

An Exhibition of Japanese Fusuma Photography by Kenji Wakasugi – Synthesis –




Ippodo New York : March 10 – April 22, 2016

Ippodo Tokyo : March 31 – April 9, 2016


This March, Ippodo Gallery will showcase the fusuma photography of Kenji Wakasugi at both the Tokyo and New York gallery locations. Coinciding with Asia Week New York, the stateside exhibition is Wakasugi’s first-ever solo show outside Japan. 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Ippodo Gallery in Japan, and its 8th year with a gallery here in New York.

The photographs on view pair Edo-Period (1603-­1868) fusuma – decorated paper doors used in traditional Japanese buildings – with landscape and nature photographs. The fusuma doors used were sourced from the 17th century feudal domain Kishū (from the Rinshun-kaku, which has since been relocated to the Sankeien Garden in Yokohama and is a designated Important Cultural Property of Japan), once belonging to the eminent and long-powerful Tokugawa family.

Wakasugi (born 1941) drew inspiration from Junichirō Tanizaki’s essay, ‘In Praise of Shadows’, an eloquent aesthetic analysis. Tanizaki writes, “We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates…Our ancestors, forced to live in dark rooms, presently came to discover beauty in shadows, ultimately to guide shadows toward beauty’s ends.” The quote is soft and sensitive, not unlike Wakasugi’s photography.

The fusuma images are juxtaposed with landscapes and nature photography in a delicate balance achieved through a lengthy, painstaking process of digital artistry. The distinct pairing is a contemporary comment on reverence for tradition. Wakasugi explains that, “as the world rushes towards globalization, I find myself becoming more attracted by Japan’s unique culture and customs.”

In Wakasugi’s work, the historic locations are selected for their lack of electricity to emphasize only the original, natural light of 17th century Japan. In fact, fusuma paintings are best seen with natural light, candlelight, moonlight, or tatami reflection. This world of shadow is an essential place in Japanese tradition. Fusuma has been the canvas in Japanese art history – an aesthetic and philosophical expression and a way to communicate on life and death. Fusuma is a reverse concept of culture and sensibility in space, both a barrier and a connection to spirituality in nature.

Landscapes are carefully chosen for their dual endurance and fragility. One lone pine tree in Rikuzentakata City survived the great tsunami in 2012. With nostalgic experiences in the Himalayas, travels across the valleys of China and the vistas of Patagonia in South America, Wakasugi has chosen to pair the fusuma with his unforgettable sights so that they may live forever.

Wakasugi was educated at Saga Prefectural Karatsu West High School and what is now known as the school of Tokyo Visual Arts, working at Roppongi Studio in Tokyo before going freelance in 1975. His first photobook, My Shangri-La, was published by Hirakawa Publishers in 1996, followed by an exhibition of the same name at Canon Salon in Ginza, Tokyo. Since then, Wakasugi has been recognized with an award from the Art Directors Club in New York, exhibitions at the Japanese Embassy in Belgium, and Nikon Salon in Ginza, Tokyo.


For more information and to view an online catalogue, please visit our Exhibition page, or see our official press release.

Thank you for coming to Yūki Hayama’s workshop “Expressing Myths and Legends” at the Museum of Arts and Design on Dec 18th!



Porcelain artist Yūki Hayama’s workshop held on December 18th at the Museum of Arts and Design, was a big success!

Participants could watch Yūki Hayama’s incredible drawing technique before their very eyes, and some of them enjoyably experienced porcelain painting themselves.


Yūki Hayama’s first solo exhibition in the United States presented by Ippodo Gallery NY is coming in fall 2016.

Please wait for further announcements!







Yuki Hayama’s Workshop at Museum of Arts and Design on Friday, December 18th

Yuki Hayama

Yūki Hayama : Expressing Myths and Legends




Friday, December 18, 2015 from 1 p.m.



at Museum of Arts and Design ( 6th floor )

2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019


Free with Museum Admission



Experience the skill and mastery of Japanese ceramic artist Yuki Hayama as he demonstrates his drawing and painting techniques.

Hayama’s imagery blends myths and legends from around the word that get translated onto incredibly expressive porcelain plates.

Visitors will be able to try porcelain painting themselves and also have the opportunity to see Hayama’s work on view in the exhibition Japanese Kôgei | Future Forward.

Great for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.


Please visit MAD’s official website for more details.

SOFA Chicago 2015, a Great Success!




SOFA Chicago, which ran from 11/5 – 11/8, came to a close amid the entire event being a great success.

Being that it was the 5th time that we’ve participated in the fair, there was a sense of nostalgia as we came across familiar faces and felt the warmth of what seemed like a second home.

We were delighted to engage with many new people as well.

Many artists’ pieces found new homes, and the pieces on display brought out a variety of emotions in attendees. We thank everyone who was able to visit us at our gallery booth.


We will continue to find only the highest caliber of work within the genre of contemporary Japanese art-craft; our promise is to seek out these impressive works from all over Japan.

These are pieces that coexist harmoniously with nature, pieces that celebrate the joy of life, pieces that are born out of the artistry found in pairing the utmost level of technique with aesthetic sensibility.

It is in moments when world affairs look bleak that we can turn to the potential of the arts –

I believe that when beauty is created, it can spur empathy in human beings.


November 17, 2015

Ippodo Gallery New York


Ippodo Gallery to Participate in SOFA Chicago Again this Year!

Masahiro Maeda Large bowl with enamel and silver overglaze

Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design

Navy Pier’s Festival Hall
600 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Booth 1220

Opening Night:
Thursday, November 5, VIP Preview ( Invitation Only ):
5 – 9 pm | Public Preview: 7 – 9 pm

General Admission:
Friday, November 6, 2015
11 am – 7 pm

Saturday, November 7, 2015
11 am – 7 pm

Sunday, November 8, 2015
Noon – 6 pm


Ippodo Gallery, which is based in Tokyo and New York, is proud to announce that it will participate in the SOFA Chicago (Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design) exhibition again this year from November 5-8, 2015. This year will mark the fifth consecutive year that Ippodo has participated in this renowned exhibition.

We will be introducing the most current works by over 18 contemporary Japanese artists selected from a wide range of fields including: bronze, ceramics, porcelain, glass, lacquerware, metal, painting, calligraphy, and photography.
These works – which display an exquisite pairing of skill and sense of design, combined with refined aesthetics – are representative of the fine caliber of art crafts in Japan today. These artists have not simply inherited traditional techniques or adopted the philosophies of contemporary art, rather, their works truly embody the world of SurJaponisme.
Exhibiting Artists:

Ken Akaji ( porcelain ) / Koji Hatakeyama ( metal ) /
Hiromi Itabashi ( ceramics ) / Yukiya Izumita ( ceramics ) / Satoshi Kino ( ceramics ) /
Masahiro Maeda ( ceramics ) / Ken Matsubara ( painting ) / Jihei Murase ( lacquer ) /
Tohru Matsuzaki ( lacquer ) / Junko Narita ( doll ) / Katsuya Ohgita ( glass ) /
Suikei Saito ( calligraphy ) / Shota Suzuki ( metal ) / Ruri Takeuchi ( porcelain ) /
Takashi Tomo-oka ( photography ) / Kai Tsujimura ( ceramics ) / Midori Tsukada ( glass ) /
Shinya Yamamura ( lacquer ) and more!


For more information, visit our art fair page.

SOFA’s official website.

An Exhibition of Japanese Kôgei by Five Ippodo Artists From October 21- November 28, 2015

Shinya Yamamura Mother-of-Pearl Tea Container 2015 (H3 W2 1/2 D2 1/2in / H7 W5.7 D5.7cm)

Shinya Yamamura
Mother-of-Pearl Tea Container
(H3 W2 1/2 D2 1/2in / H7 W5.7 D5.7cm)

Kôgei art springs from detailed technique and genuine internal soul.
In honor of our artists’ participation in the Japanese Kôgei Future Forward exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design, Ippodo will be presenting the newest works by our five exhibiting artists at the Museum: Yuki Hayama, Harumi Noguchi, Toshio Ohi, Kohei Nakamura and Shinya Yamamura.
Exhibiting artists:

Shinya Yamamura
Harumi Noguchi
Toshio Ohi
Kohei Nakamura
Yuki Hayama


Click to watch the film of each artist’s process of making!

The Process of Making a Lacquer Piece by Shinya Yamamura

The Process of Etsuke (painting) on Porcelain by Yuki Hayama

The Process of Making a Ceramic Piece by Harumi Noguchi


Ippodo Gallery is based in both Tokyo and New York, working to foster and promote the innovation of traditional Japanese arts and crafts.

Open by appointment 7 days a week, we will be closed from November 2 to 12 due to participation in SOFA Chicago.


For more information and request for admission, please contact Shoko Aono.
For more information and to view an online catalogue, please visit our Exhibition page, or see our official press release.

Thank you for coming to Suikei Saito’s calligraphy demonstration at the Museum of Arts and Design on Sep 11th !!

Suikei Saito's 2nd demonstration.

Suikei Saito’s 2nd demonstration.


Suikei Saito’s calligraphy demonstration held on September 11th at the Museum of Arts and Design, was a major success. Her outstanding and graceful performance blew away the crowd. She chose three words “希望”(Hope), “平和”(Peace) and “朋友”(Friendship) for this historically significant day in New York, and the power of calligraphy touched the hearts of New Yorkers.


We deeply appreciate your participation in the event and the cooperation of the Museum of Arts and Design.


Over 30 works, including these three demonstration pieces, are now on view at Ippodo Gallery until October 3rd.

We are looking forward to your visit!


Director Shoko Aono hosted the event.

Director Shoko Aono hosted the event.


The crowd welcomed Suikei Saito.

The crowd welcomed Suikei Saito.

Mr. Glenn Adamson (The director of Museum of Arts and Design) gave us a speech about Japanese art and calligraphy.

Mr. Glenn Adamson (The director of Museum of Arts and Design) gave us a speech about Japanese art and calligraphy.

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