Contemporary Japanese art: Buddhist, Dutch, and Japanese landscapes

Contemporary Japanese art: Buddhist, Dutch, and Japanese landscapes

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The contemporary Japanese artist Sawako Utsumi adores the Dutch art scene of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Thus the art of Hendrick Avercamp (1585-1634), Esaias van de Velde (1587-1630), and Aert van der Neer (1603-1677) rekindle aspects of her modern art. Therefore, a delightful fusion of ideas, color schemes, the Dutch historical-artistic legacy, and Japanese space and time fuse together.

Dutch Golden Age art is a true blessing to the international art scene. This concerns the richness of ideas that entered the art world. In the art piece above, Utsumi pays homage to Aert van der Neer by adding altered realities – while the original remains embedded within her heart.

Japanese art themes – and other European angles from Christian churches to L.S. Lowry – are also prominent within Utsumi’s art. Hence, the art piece above focuses on the desolate Buddhist temple that stands amid the wilderness of nature. This bleakness is highlighted by the winter setting and the mountain landscape.

Utsumi, in the above art piece, pays homage to Hendrick Avercamp. As usual, different dimensions come to the fore. Hence, only nine people – along with the color scheme – are dramatically different. Therefore, the number nine relates to the mathematical angle and infinity: with Avercamp’s art implying the “past,” “present,” and “future.”

In the art piece above, Utsumi fuses a stunning landscape with a wandering Buddhist monk in the bleak midwinter of Japan. Indeed, the religious angle, be it Buddhism, Christianity, or Shintoism, is a theme that pops up often in her art. Utsumi’s own faith is embedded in the natural rites of Shintoism that aren’t dogmatic. Also, the lore of Buddhist temples in the countryside – where contemplation, the bigger picture, and the flow of life come naturally together – provides her with great comfort. Therefore, the fusion of the Buddhist Tree of Life – and the potency of Shintoism and nature – naturally merge in the heart of Utsumi.

In the above art piece, Utsumi pays homage to the amazing artwork of Esaias van de Velde. Unlike the original, Utsumi focuses on a Christian theme. Hence, the delightful backdrop to the more central Christian church in blue and white is extremely intriguing. Therefore, the tenets of Christianity also play a role within her soul: even if in the shadows concerning her religious upbringing where Shintoism and Buddhism predominate. – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.


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