Chaos: Ken Matsubara’s Buddhist Masterwork
September 2, 2023 - March 10, 2024
Bell Family Decorative Arts Court (Gallery 333)
Two paintings, 600 years apart: the 14th century Taima Mandala and the 20th century Chaos by Ken Matsubara. Despite the chronological distance between them, these two pieces are connected by Buddhist threads. In this installation, accompanied by the echoes of singing bowls, the visitor acts as the bridge between Matsubara’s depiction of human struggle and the Taima Mandala’s immaculate Pure Land. Take a moment to sit, be still, and focus on being with art.
Ken Matsubara was born in Toyama prefecture, Japan, in 1948. Growing up in a relative’s temple, he admired and copied traditional Buddhist artworks displayed throughout the complex. In his late twenties, he apprenticed with Sankо̄ Inoue, a renowned Japanese painter of Western abstraction. Chaos (1983) marked a moment of synthesis and departure. He merged his knowledge of Buddhist concepts with his teacher’s abstraction to create a new form of representation, his own abstraction of space and sound.