About MetamorphicPainting
Five questions from Mr. Frank Born
Frank Born: You have said that you contemplate a long time before making each new mark in your paintings, yet these marks look spontaneous. What do you gain by this slowed decision time and do you deliberately design your marks to appear spontaneous and if so, why?

Masaru Kurose: I think about what painting is when I paint. Painting is an interesting medium of expression. I have a primitive wonder about why we humans paint to express. By pursuing this thought, I end up thinking about ourselves in the background. When I paint with this kind of broad question in my mind, my personal feeling and opinion on our society do not really surface. What is the ideal and happy existence for painting --- that is what in my mind when I paint. I always think about the intimate relationship between the painting and myself. I do not think that I, the painter, have all the control. It is almost like I am facing another person. Sometimes my painting agrees with me and other times it does not. I try to think what is the best and happiest state for the painting as if I were thinking of the person I love most. This is what I mean by there being deep thoughts in front of my work. When my painting is the happiest, it is when my work is done. It is quite a simple format. I believe that it is not right to push my ego into the work if I consider the happiness of the painting itself. I value the smoothness and spontaneity of the painting as something which comes from the work itself.

FB: What is the relationship between intuition and contemplation in the construction of your work?

MK: When I contemplate, I often struggle in searching something I want. It is a time of endurance and perseverance. While I do so, very rarely but sometimes, I see everything all at once coming together and making sense to me. When I have the perspective where I can see everything at once, I feel that I have intuition. In my case, it seems I only arrive at this place after long hours of contemplation.

FB: There are no lines or angles in your compositions, only curves. Why?

MK: I value smoothness in my work. My work begins with brushstrokes and it is only natural for me to have a curved line with my brush. It feels smooth and physically natural for me.
Another reason that I tend to use curved lines is because I wish to lead the viewers eye along the curve. If I want to lead their thoughts beyond the realm of my canvas, I do so by drawing a line going off my canvas. Straight lines are too forcing and decisive for what I want to achieve. I cherish a more natural and organic flow in my work.

FB: You have written that your new paintings, with the paint marks riding on a clear ground, are specific metaphors for how our minds work. How did you first decide to paint on clear grounds?

MK: I started working on clear canvases in order to create gfloating imagesh and gthree dimensional space in two dimensions by illusionh. When I first thought of a clear ground, I felt I was taking a big risky because I was not sure if it could be considered painting. Since the ultimate theme of my painting is to think about what painting is, the painting looses the point if it looks like an object. Though, I countered my fear by thinking that showing the structure of the support may have an effect on how the viewer thinks about paintings. I made some prototypes and made sure it works. Only after that assurance I started working on this series of paintings.

FB: I have known your paintings for twenty-five years. You have always been an abstract painter in a very pure way, making no or barely any allusions to nature. What do you think is the relationship between your paintings and the natural world? By taking out any reference to the natural world, you give the viewer a set of relationships to observe that are free of associations. Do you share this interpretation?

MK: Paintings are artificial things. Therefore, I find it dangerous to feel settled by recreating the natural world on in a painting. Abstract thinking may be our own special ability. I would like to base my work on that possibility. It is important for me to be totally independent from the thinking pattern of the natural world. I do not wish to borrow from or base my work on the natural world. At the same time, my objective is very simple. It is to think about what exactly paintings are. I do not paint to serve something else like some religious painters did in medieval time. I need my paintings to exist as a separate entity from me in order to contemplate them.

To top