This painting shows a striking similarity to that of purple marble or a mineral cross section. This remarkable resemblance perhaps strikes at the root of Kotaka's work aim and philosophy. Within this painting, one recognises a harmony between art and nature, a quality Kotaka above all seeks to achieve:
‘By combining my work with harmony and nature I hope to produce art showing harmony with the Earth. By being in harmony with the Earth the Universe becomes to me a very close existence. More than just ‘close’, the work I produce is part of the Universe and could be seen as the Universe itself. What I believe I do is put the ‘Universe on Washi’.
The Suminagashi works by Japanese artist Ryosaku Kotaka combine ancient Chinese and Japanese painting philosophy with imaginative contemporary. Suminagashi, (pronounced, ‘sue-me-NAH-gah-she’) is the name given to the ancient Japanese technique of decorating paper with ink.
Suminagashi is a technique which was practiced in Japan as early as the 12th century and literally translated means ‘ink-floating,’. The process is as follows: ink is carefully dropped on to still water and blown across the surface to create delicate patterns. Once finished, paper is lowered onto the water’s surface and absorbs the ink.
Kotaka produces his work upon ‘Washi’ (Japanese paper) made by himself. By beginning with collecting Kozo, (Mulberry wood), stripping and draining its fibers, to drying and pressing them, he produces a thin tissue paper able to accurately absorb ink from the water’s surface .
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