Matthew Larking

For Matthew Larking's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Yokoyama Kazan: The Edo Period influencer

Art Jul 16, 2019

Yokoyama Kazan: The Edo Period influencer

The Edo Period painter Yokoyama Kazan's imaginative works depicting Kyoto, inspired not only artists but also intellectuals and writers, including the novelist Natsume Soseki.

The Osakan artists who bucked the system

Art Jun 11, 2019

The Osakan artists who bucked the system

Osakan paintings have conventionally emphasized regional traits of humor, boisterousness and fun. "Do You Know Osaka Painting Circles" at the Shokado Garden Art Museum, however, reminds viewers of its farther flung painting traditions.

Kanjiro Kawai: Pots of incredible talent

Art May 14, 2019

Kanjiro Kawai: Pots of incredible talent

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto's "Potter Kawai Kanjiro: Works from the Kawakatsu Collection" is just the fourth time it has presented such a substantial selection of works from its renowned Kawakatsu Collection of over 400 pieces.

First, there was Matsumura Goshun

Art Apr 23, 2019

First, there was Matsumura Goshun

The recent focus on the vibrant idiosyncratic works of the Edo Period (1603-1868) eccentric painters has left the achievements more traditional masters in neglect. "Road to Shijo School" at the Otani Memorial Art Museum, Nishinomiya City, is a welcome reparative.

The rise, fall and resurrection of Kyosai

Art Apr 16, 2019

The rise, fall and resurrection of Kyosai

An overachieving infant, Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-89) sketched at age 3, studied ukiyo-e from 7 and joined a branch of the Kano school of painting at 10. He offended officials, was shunned as an ex-convict, applauded by Josiah Conder and then forgotten after WWII. Now, ...

Japanese artisanship: As real as it can get

Art Mar 26, 2019

Japanese artisanship: As real as it can get

From perfect replicas of fruit to tiny articulated dragons, Japan's ceramic, metal, wood and other craft industries excel at making decorative items that are so detailed and realistic, they can fool the naked eye.

Ways to never forget Christian Boltanski

Art Mar 5, 2019

Ways to never forget Christian Boltanski

Memories eroded, recovered, or forged from or for other peoples and times are the major themes of "Christian Boltanski: Lifetime," the artist's first full-scale Japan retrospective at The National Museum of Art, Osaka.

The complicated perception of heroism

Art Feb 26, 2019

The complicated perception of heroism

As the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art's final Heisei Era (1989-2019) exhibition, this ambitious and somewhat provocative show looks back on the socio-political roles art played in the midst of the past 90 or so years.

Gentaro Komaki: A pioneer of surrealism

Art Feb 5, 2019

Gentaro Komaki: A pioneer of surrealism

Gentaro Komaki (1906-89), the son of a Kyoto Prefecture silk crepe wholesaler, lived a decadent youth of literature and philosophy, until seeing the work of Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy inspired to pursue surrealist art.