Quite beautifully shown on so small a surface area, are a variety of textures applied and layered in diverse ways. The choice of colours add a pungent vigor to the painting thus giving it such distinctive vibrance. Clearly recognisable is the changeable behaviour of ink seen in the extraodinary patterning. One might suggest a close likeness to that found in graphic art due to, if not known, the mystery of how it was made.
Kotaka's smaller works tend to draw focus on colour texture rather differently from his larger works. His works produced on a smaller scale demonstrate the intricacy achieved in suminagashi design as opposed to the calm ink wash tones of his larger works. Furthermore, vibrant use of colour combined with textures reminiscent of those seen in water, soil. oil and lava demonstrate the playful diversity of which suminagshi in capable.
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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