The older I get, the more I am attracted by Japanese art. I ,or most of Japanese who was born after WWII have been exposed by Western Art all through the school days. No doubt it leads me to work on oil painting and etching. Modern Japanese arts are, I would say, fruits of our effort in researches and understandings of Western Art. I feel, however, something that I have been looking for is certainly there: That may be the sence of "ma". "Ma" is the sensibility of space between the objects, between the times, or between the words.
For example, Japanese prefer to restraint in speaking a whole and expect the counter-speaker will read between the lines. People here (and me too!) thinks that things are often better left unsaid. This attitude can also be seen in Japanese Sumi (ink) paintings. Above is a landscape "Pine Trees" by Tohaku Hasegawa in 16th century. As most of old Japanese paintings , it shows me the different way of space recognition in the East. Sumi-Painters tried to depict the subtle and profound air around the pine trees by not painting. In other words, they left so much space unpainted and completed it by leaving it to the viewers imagination. I believe those paintings highly succeeded in expressing whatever exists between the trees: not only the cold air, but smells of trees, moistness, or breath of beings. I wish I could paint such "Ma" in my work someday.