NEW YORK – The art exhibition Spiral Interaction 1995-2018 by Masaaki Noda opened on October 10 at the Consulate General of Greece in New York to a large crowd of art enthusiasts. The exhibition which features an impressive array of paintings and sculptures by Noda will be open to the public through October 24, Monday-Friday: 9:30 AM-2:30 PM.
Noda is an internationally renowned Japanese American artist whose connection to Greece can be traced back in part to Lafcadio Hearn, the Greek-Irish writer who settled in Japan in the late 19th century, and inspired Noda’s work The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn on display at The American College of Greece in Athens.
Known also by the Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo, Hearn is best known for his books about Japan, especially his collections of Japanese legends and ghost stories, including Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. Other monumental sculptural works by Noda on display in Greece include Apollo’s Mirror in Delphi and The Spirit of Hermes in Marathon.
The connections between Greece and Japan were highlighted by Louis Katsos, EMBCA founder and president, in his remarks at the event, noting especially a recent EMBCA event on Lafcadio Hearn/Koizumi Yakumo which Noda also attended.
Katsos spoke about meeting Noda for the first time years ago and how they mostly communicated nonverbally, what the Japanese call haragei, or “speaking from the stomach” something many ancient cultures use, Katsos told The National Herald, adding that being from Laconia, he grew up with this form of nonverbal communication with his father. The laconic phrase is, of course, named for the region of Greece including the city of Sparta, whose ancient inhabitants were known for verbal austerity and for their blunt remarks.
Katsos also mentioned the Japanese ship, Tokei Maru, which saved hundreds of lives from the Smyrna Catastrophe in 1922 and is now the subject of a great deal of research internationally as scholars try to discover the details of this extraordinary humanitarian effort and ensure that it is never forgotten in the annals of history.
Among those present at the event, Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, his wife Popita Pavli, Consul of Greece Lana Zochiou, Ambassador Loukas Karatsolis- the former Greek Ambassador to Japan and his wife Katerina, Georgios Michailidis- Head of Economic & Commercial Affairs at the Consulate, Mrs. Michiyo Noda- the artist’s wife and Executive Director of the Japanese American Association of New York, Dr. Miranda Kofinas, Aristides Logothetis, Marina Belessis Casoria, and Nektarios Antoniou.
Noda was born in Fukuyama, Hiroshima, Japan and studied at Osaka University of Arts. In 1977, he moved to New York City, continued his art studies, and began his ambitious career as a printmaker, draughtsman, painter, collagist and sculptor. His keen mastery has been demonstrated, for example, by creating very complex serigraphs with up to 100 colors that can vary from bold and pure to soft and diffused with all of his art being a celebration of fluidity in movement with subtle archetypical symbolism in a unique mix of visual delicacy, formal aesthetic and mystical response.
Noda said, “My work is an inspired exploration of artistic conflict between form and abstraction and personal conflict between the imagined and the real. Mine is an art concerned with motion, freedom, and the artist’s own perceptual growth from an inner responsiveness to an outer awareness.”
Well-known art historian Dr. Reiko Tomii said of Noda’s work, “In the seeming chaos of Noda’s recent painting, whether created in watercolor or in an acrylic, variegated polygons and polyhedrons reside over the dripped, poured, and smeared background. Their dynamic movements, as though exploding from multiple trigger points, are frenzied yet never confused, as the artiste exercises an exquisite control in determining the endgame. What Noda aspires to achieve is “elegance” that can result only through negotiating two conflicting vectors, control and freedom, without undermining the tension between them.”
His art work is in the permanent collection of The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum; Albright Knox Museum, Portland Art Museum, Minnesota Art Museum, National Museum of Cracow, European Cultural Center of Delphi, Shenzhen Museum of Art, Taipei Museum of Art, Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, Fukuyama Museum of Art, Embassy of Greece in Japan; The Museum of International Contemporary Art, National Art Gallery in Athens, State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, and the Embassy of Japan in Athens, among others.