OKADA Marie - 岡田 まりゑ (b. 1956)
The first time I saw Okada Marie’s etchings, I immediately thought of Paul Klee and Marc Chagall. In her creative universe, an intensely vibrant one, by the way, random objects and shapes seem to float by without any particular connection to each other. Her titles aren’t of any help either in identifying her inspiration.
She came to etching via the oil painting course at Musashino University. Even now, years after finishing art school, one can feel her connection to oil. She uses rich, thick ink to produce sumptuous layers of colors, so thick that one almost feels one could scoop items off the page. I always expect her prints to feel heavy, but the collaged paper adds an unexpected delicacy to the finished piece. Marie-san has invented her own process to layer ink on to the plate, deftly wielding a Squeegee-type roller as you can see in the short clip below.
I have been handling her work for many years, but I can’t say I know her well yet. It is not that she is shy, and I certainly am not, but when we meet, it is usually at a group gathering at the Tokyo gallery and there is no opportunity for a one-on-one conversation.
I have found that her work resonates with collectors who find overtly representational art less appealing and respond instead to her vivid palette and subtlety. Her peers in the print world are impressed by her talents as a printer and colorist, and she has won many prizes both in Japan and overseas. Marie-san has exhibited her work all over the world and has a particularly loyal fan base in Eastern Europe.
I look forward to getting to know her better and finding my way further into the mysterious and delightful landscapes that she creates in her work.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia
British Museum, United Kingdom
Vilnius Art Museum, Lithuania
The National Art Museum of Cluj, Romania
The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, Israel
Sakima Museum of Art, Okinawa, Japan
Newark Public Library, New Jersey
Library of Congress, Washington DC