Thomas Erben is very pleased to present the first exhibition of the Japanese
painter Naofumi Maruyama (b. 1964) in the US. Since his inclusion in Modest
Radicalism in 1999 at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOT), Tokyo,
Maruyama has been considered one of the significant young painters in Japan.
On view will be a series of paintings with children as subject matter. Maruyama
paints his figures directly onto the unprimed canvas in the tradition of Japanese
ink painting and surrounds them with luminous monochrome expanses. He
develops his subject matter in a reductive fashion, sometimes overpainting
existing imagery. The material presence of the built up backgrounds plays
paradoxically against the figurative “foregrounds” which appear almost cut out.
Recently, he has added flat, graphic outlines describing figures or objects as a
third element to his vocabulary.
Maruyama has worked over extended periods in Germany. Influences of
Romanticism, his own interests in fairy tales and legends and his dreamy,
mysterious figurative style are offset by formal elements of pop art and comics.
In this body of work, he captures an alternative sensibility, closer to dream states,
using the imagery of children as a metaphor for innocence and unity with the self.
Since the early ‘90s Maruyama’s work has been included in major exhibitions such
October Art Festival Mito Art Tower, Ibaraki, Japan 1990
A Perspective on Contemporary Art The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Creativity in Asian Art Now Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima 1994
Continental Shift Forum Ludwig, Aachen, Germany 2000
World Vision Museum of Contemporary Art (MOT), Tokyo 2001
His paintings are included in the following collections (selection): Kawaguchi
Contemporary Art Museum, Saitama; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo;
Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka; The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo,
Tochigi; The Japan Foundation, Tokyo; and Iwaki Museum of Contemporary Art,