I was born in Tokyo and learned at a kindergarten and an elementary school of JIYU GAKUEN (Liberty School) which was established in 1921 by Motoko Hani and her husband aiming at giving a new education replaced from rote learning, and the creative and innovative school buildings of which were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and his successors. The school has a piano lesson for 3-years-old children and values arts in curriculums including music, painting and so on. As I have no famous artists among my relatives, it seems to me that I had been greatly influenced by this fascinated school life. As a matter of facts, I was much interested in music in the days of the teens, and was inclined to devote myself to painting after taking leave of absence by illness.
I studied oil painting, print, Japanese traditional painting and also art preservation science at the Joshibi University of Art and Design and at the graduate school. And finally I have been specialized in oil painting. My master's production was stored in a personal collection.
After completing the master course, I had worked at the Institute of Medical Science, the Tokyo University, and researched the various samples of cells and looked at the delicate micro world which is impossible for us to see with naked eyes. I think that those experiences continued giving great influences in my works. I think that those experiences continued having a great influence on my works. I am daily devoting myself to painting at my atelier and regularly lecturing about art. In my activities aiming to raise interest in art to many people, are included both a lesson of painting on a TV program and a workshop on art for children gathering at an art festival. Also, I have promoted some concerts to play the music that a composer composed with my picture as a motif.
Thanking a composer, I composed paintings for the music. And moreover I am participating in such kind of collaboration with artists acting in other fields.
Sachiko NAGATA Plays “Hamon” with Noriko KURAFUJI artworks
Noriko KURAFUJI Exhibition Presents Gallery Concert
Noriko KurafujiKarin Sutter, lic.phil.I., MAS, gallery owner
To an eye schooled in western art, the paintings of the Japanese artist Noriko Kurafuji seem to reveal themselves quickly. Flowers, or to be more precise chrysanthemums, presented not as still lifes but as landscapes are their main motif. Yet when we look at the works more closely and grasp their complexity, we realise that first impressions are deceptive.
The artist use powerful brushstrokes to arrange her "flowers" over her generally large-format canvases. Without discovering a horizon, we lose ourselves in the dynamics or melody of her paintings, the all-overness of which simultaneously envelops us. These works are not delimited by the edges of the canvas: we can imaginarily extend them into the room, so that we become a part of them. The initial impression of figurative flower painting is soon dispelled and relativised. Are they really flowers or are they clouds instead? Is what we see flowing water, dazzling light or even fireworks? Are they really tangible motifs or rather the representation of emotions or the rhythm of a melody?
The artist takes us on a journey through her pictorial worlds. Our eye does not rest for long, but is repeatedly asked to follow the movement of painting, like a melody, a light, an emotion or even just a gentle breeze. This kind of viewing is emphasised by the title of the 2011/12 series “NAGARE”, which means “to flow” or “flowing” in Japanese.
We cannot long maintain the idea that that we are looking at an adaptation of Impressionist flower pictures, for Noriko Kurafuji’s paintings force us to immerse ourselves in them and to experience all their rich facets.
An Artist Fascinated with light of the genesis
Hideharu Ogawa / art Critic, Consultant of monthly “Gallery”, Poet
－ Noriko Kurafuji’s world －
It will be necessary for anyone to pray in silence several minutes before facing her work if a person wants to enter into the World of Noriko Kurafuji. If not, her work may be recognized only as a landscape which was beautifully imaged as usual. However, each work actually contains some scenery drawn under the subconscious which is never known by her. That is scenery of a genesis. It is useless to ask where it was. Because that is the hometown, or Shangri-La, which existed long before we were born in this world. It is also the place where the memory of a human life originated. If we want to accurately appreciate this artist's work, we have to get back a pure-white spirit by leaving one by one of what we have put on in our past life. Otherwise, we will be unable to look at such an original world.
An artist always articulates his world usually by continuing drawing. However, the world of Noriko Kurafuji seems to be much different from that. It will be better to say that she is playing in the image of the old memory, which is sleeping in her inside, and then draws scenery appearing gradually in her play. Her world is filled with the beautiful landscape and has neither the clear beginning nor end. The world, which composed of the banquet of vivid colors, would be music rather than a picture; moreover, "the sound of the sea of the universe" rather than music. The light in her world is filled with happiness, constantly produces the beautiful shade and returns again to the light far from the original one. Although this light might come from very distant area, it is filled with wonderful familiarity. That is a little too cool to be called the expression of hot imagination. However, the light is never fictitious but actually grasped by this artist and will provide us with the feeling that we are embraced by the great force. Her work is filled with the sign of a life which is produced along with the tune of the universe coming far from distance. When we leave her works, we will realize that we have enjoyed here the perfect and comfortable combustion and perfectly forgotten everything. She seems to be waiting innocently for a tale which holds such a comfortable sound in it, even though nobody knows when the tale starts.
Her thought, or imagination, is her own but is not monopolized by her. While it is the subject held in the arms of the great force, it also continues changing more and more. And it comes back to the heart of a person looking at her work. Such a circulation resembles the flow of the human life which is hardly explained. This circulating thought belongs to this artist but does not only to her. It resembles the wave of a life flowing inside of our body like the flow of the air on the earth, though we can’t usually realize it. Leaving daily experiences like joy and sadness, her thought is free among the thoughts in the genesis, and sometime a trip of her thought will reach the sacred light with a beautiful sound. It should be the splendid happiness for Noriko Kurafuji that a tale of her odyssey, which started here, is led by such a sacred eye. However, the wave of a life does not always give her only the best moment. The tale, with light and darkness, might be forced to keep silent for a while in the dead quiet, which lost light, and her tale will certainly find out again the light of stars, which will be shining whole in the sky, as well as the deep chaos. And then, probably, she, as one of the chosen, should challenge further trials in order to sublimate those findings into excellent works.
Noriko KURAFUJI’s “Flow －Frieze of Spring－I”Art Critic Hiroshi SHINOHARA / Atelier Earth Production
On the screen of the perfect square, a brilliant pink is wriggling. It looks like the photograph which was taken by missing the focus, or petals which are being violently scattered by storm in the spring.
The painting gives us the impression that petals are streaming. And , by this artist's representation of such an impression, the intense inside of an artist or every creature has successfully been condensed and then fixed into an abstraction molding.
The flowers in a bunch, facing arbitrarily to their own favorite directions, are as whimsical and clean as a girl. An apostle of the art is playing with freedom and a pureness, and longing for just the beauty. It is because the artist may surely believe the development and evolution of the beauty.
It seems to me that Kurafuji’s small allover wall has nearly frozen up in it the moment that fragrant petals have been reformed into fluids moving at speed and are rustling under the shower of the light.
This is a petite miracle woven from the light and the wind. When you gaze at the painting, supposedly, you will feel that a gentle touch and a living tremor rise up like air heated by the sunbeams through the trees. On the other hand, the painting will provide us with an image that petals are tempted toward the darkness by the bush of leaves or, if they refuse, are dragged into the depths. The image, that might be going to warp beyond the space-time, resembles closely the world seen with half an eye and exists in the boundary of dream and reality.
There is a Japanese language “Hanaikada” which means a flowers’ raft. It is an elegant word that represents a bunch of flowing cherry petals as a raft. And, at the same time, the flow of full fluid water will provide us with a special sense able to perceive not only a refreshing feeling but also the early summer season. Well, I want to know how such factors will be actually found by audience in the picture which was imaged and painted by this artist.