Yoko Matsumoto: Darkness Against Nature to Open at White Cube New York in June




Yoko Matsumoto, Rock Flower, 1993,, Acrylic on canvas. 194 x 260 cm/76 3/8 x 102 3/8 in. © the artist. Photo © White Cube (Theo Christens)

White Cube is pleased to present Darkness Against Nature, a solo exhibition by Japanese artist Yoko Matsumoto. Featuring paintings and works on paper created from the 1980s to the present day, the exhibition marks the artist’s return to New York after almost three decades.

Yoko Matsumoto, Thought Circuit IV, 2006. Oil, charcoal and pastel on canvas. 194 x 259 cm/76 3/8 x 101 15/16 in. © the artist. Photo © White Cube (Theo Christelis)

Born in 1936 in Tokyo, Matsumoto continues to live and work in the city of her birth. After graduating in oil painting from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1960, she first visited New York in 1967, where she became profoundly influenced by the second generation of American Abstract Expressionists such as Morris Louis and Helen Frankenthaler. It was there that she discovered materials unavailable in Japan, namely acrylic paint (Liquitex), a gloss-polymer medium and raw cotton canvas, which she thereafter adopted into her practice.

Matsumoto’s expressive and disciplined abstraction is informed by lineages of Japanese art, in particular the monochromatic ink techniques of suiboku-ga. Throughout her extensive body of work, the artist addresses color in a processual and meditative manner, distinguishing material constitution, tonal mutability and dimensionality through a rigorous use of light, shade and hue.

Yoko Matsumoto, Untitled (Pale Blue), 1995, Acrylic on canvas. 183 x 193 cm/72 1/16 x 76 in. © the artist. © White Cube (Theo Christelis)

Highlights from the exhibition include the artist’s signature, labor-intensive “pink” acrylic works. Painted on the floor during periods of deep concentration, Matsumoto began this series in the late 1970s and continued to develop it for three decades. “Unlike black and white,” the artist expressed, “pink bears no concept; instead it exists, unreachable, in the innermost depths of our subconscious.”

Due to the physical demands of the acrylic works, Matsumoto returned to oil paint in the early 2000s. Upon seeing Cézanne’s The Great Pine (1889) during a trip to Philadelphia, the artist was inspired by his perception of nature, leading to the development of a palette centered around verdant greens in her more recent paintings and watercolors included in the exhibition.

Yoko Matsumoto painting at her studio in Ongata, Hachioji, Tokyo, in 1982. © artist. courtesy Hino Gallery and White Cube. Photo © Mike Kubota

About the Artist ~ Yoko Matsumoto (b.1936) lives and works in Tokyo. She studied oil painting at the Tokyo University of the Arts, graduating in 1960. Matsumoto has exhibited extensively, including solo exhibitions at White Cube Mason’s Yard, London (2024); Hino Gallery, Tokyo (2023, 2019 and 2017); and Nihonbashi Takashimaya Art Gallery X, Tokyo (2021), as well as group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2023); The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan (2023); Phillips, Tokyo (2023); The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan (2022); The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan (2022); Ginza Yokyo Hall, Tokyo; The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura Annex, Kanagawa, Japan (2020); and Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Aichi, Japan (2020). Her work is held in public collections, including He Art Museum, Foshan, China; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama, Japan; and Fukuyama Museum of Art, Hiroshima, Japan. Since 2005, Matsumoto has been represented by Hino Gallery, Tokyo.

Darkness Against Nature is on view at White Cube New York from June 28 to August 23, 2024. This is Matsumoto’s second exhibition with the gallery, following her show at White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, in January 2024. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Hino Gallery, Tokyo.

Yoko Matsumoto: Darkness Against Nature will be on view from June 28th to August 23, 2024 at White Cube New York, 1002 Madison Avenue, NYC.

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