- Also known as
Matsubara Naoko (松原直子)
primary name: Matsubara Naoko
- individual; printmaker; Japanese; Female
- Life dates
- Print artist. Matsubara left Japan for the USA in 1961 and has lived in the West ever since, though frequently revisiting her native country. Unlike most 'émigré' Japanese artists, she has resolutely refused to become internationalised, and her technique and style remain close to those she developed as a young woman under the inspiration of Munakata Shiko whom she met after graduating. As a member of the Banga-in founded by him, she came into contact with many of his pupils or associates, and in 1963 won his prestigious Kegon Prize at the annual group exhibition.
Matsubara was born in Tokushima Prefecture, Shikoku, daughter of a Shinto priest who eventually became chief priest of the Kenkun Jinja, Kyoto, a shrine which became a subject of her prints. The family moved to Kyoto in 1941, and she graduated in 1960 from the Design Department of Kyoto University of Applied Arts (Kyoto Geijutsu Daigaku). Already keen to work in the West, she studied for two years at the School of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, and for a year at the Royal College of Art, London. From 1962 onwards she held one-woman shows almost annually in North America and sometimes in Europe and Japan. Her first major series was 'Half Tame' in 1964, illustrating poems by Roger Shattuck, the first of many series and portfolios on literary themes both Western and East Asian. She taught at the Pratt Graphic Art Center, New York, from 1965 to 1966. Her position in the history of Japanese woodblock prints was recognised in the exhibition 'Mokuhan: Woodcuts by Munakata and Matsubara' (Art Gallery of Great Victoria) in 1976. Her works vary from small portfolio items to very large woodblocks, almost all in black and white or one or more subdued colours, but all show a characteristic energy of design and cutting. Since 1974 she has lived in Ontario, Canada. Her portfolios, apart from 'Walden', include 'Matsubara Naoko's Kyoto', 1970.
- Smith, Lawrence, 'Modern Japanese Prints 1912-1989: Woodblocks and Stencils', BMP, London, 1994, p. 30 and no. 74.
Stanley-Baker, Joan, 'Mokuhan: The Woodcuts of Munakata and Matsubara', exh. cat., Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, British Columbia, 1976.
Matsubara, Naoko, 'Kyoto Woodcuts', Kodansha International, Tokyo and New York, 1978.
Merritt, Helen, and Yamada, Nanako, 'Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints 1900-1975', University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1992, p. 86.