Today we are excited to launch a new collection and introduce the latest artist to join The Shop Floor Project.
Miku Tsuchiya is a celebrated painter from Nagoya, located on the Pacific coast of Japan. We are happy to announce that we are now her exclusive gallery, outside of Japan, representing and showcasing her extraordinary work to a wider audience.
So let’s meet Miku and her new work; from the large-scale works to the smaller, more intimate pieces.
The Gardeners is a new collection of work commissioned by The Shop Floor Project and explores the artist’s deep connection to her surroundings and nature.
The Ponds, Miku Tsuchiya 2023
Working slowly with layer upon layer of translucent watercolour washes, Tsuchiya creates delicate paintings which have an almost veil-like quality. There is a stillness to the works, even a monastic quality, with ancient stone-like figures wandering through gardens, picking flowers, bathing in pools or sowing seeds.
Grass, detail: Miku Tsuchiya 2023
Within Miku Tsuchiya’s work there is an ongoing exploration between a need for community and a search for solitude.
Sniff, detail: Miku Tsuchiya 2023
For example; the simple, intimate pleasure of walking barefoot on long grass or smelling a flower (see the quiet delight on the face above in Sniff as the figure smells the flowers with eyes closed) is contrasted with the joy of a park full of people in Play Ground (below), where the sounds of laughter and play is audible.
Play Ground, Miku Tsuchiya 2023
This contrast may be a result of where Miku lives and works. On the outskirts of Nagoya City, she has found peace and inspiration in the nature reserves that surround her. This can be seen further in this short film made for this collection:
Strange, dreamlike compositions hide and reveal surprising details; a little heard of wild horses, giant stone heads, canvas tents, sundials and chairs, lots of tiny chairs and seats often appear in Miku's compositions.
Round and Round, detail: Miku Tsuchiya 2023
Saunter, detail: Miku Tsuchiya 2023
The Park, detail: Miku Tsuchiya 2023
Miku’s work brings to mind the silent, meditative works of Gwen John (1876 - 1939), with a tissue paper, silk-like delicacy that feels like light filtering through voile.
Woman in Pink, Gwen John, 1919
Another great influence of Tsuchiya’s is the French post-impressionist (1863 - 1935) Paul Signac with his use of colours, composition and atmosphere.
The Dining Room, Paul Signac: 1887 (Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands)
The creation of atmosphere, of a feeling, is something that Miku excels at. In Slow Evening (below) we can sense the time of day and even the time of year. The figures are gardening and harvesting in the slowest way possible, resting on the ground, all limbs stretched out in ease and relaxation. The painting seems to be asking why rush when the evenings are warm and long?
In the epic work, Harmony with the Soil (below), the painting depicts an organism, a living system that functions as an individual life form.
The pale stone-like figures, with their elongated features and distorted sense of scale, are repeated throughout Miku’s work. Ancient and Modernist in equal measure, the figures populate the gardens with a quiet purpose, as shown in Sowing Seeds (below).
Figures in quiet conversation in Far Side of Here (below)
As if painted straight onto terracotta walls, this powdery feel Miku creates with watercolours is a direct response to the European frescoes and wall paintings which continue to influence her work. In the painting The Well (below), two figures in long white robes look down into a well, in what appears to be a monastic garden. Although uniquely Tsuchiya’s hand, this work could be from a Florentine fresco, exploring the daily life and routines in a 13th century walled garden.
The Well, Miku Tsuchiya 2023
These are peaceful works that have a fascinating strangeness about them. Look for long enough and the motifs, flowers and rocks become sentient beings, each object anthropomorphised so everything in Miku Tsuchiya’s delicate world becomes entangled and interconnected, impossible to separate. Like a poem, these paintings are felt rather than deciphered.
Colony, Miku Tsuchiya 2023
Miku Tsuchiya is prolific in Japan with exhibitions, publications and books (shown above) published about her work. This is the first time her work has been shown outside of the country.Continue reading