I was born in Hokkaido, Japan and grew up in small villages situated between beautiful ocean and mountains. Especially in my childhood, the night sky, stars, trees, wind, and ocean inspired my imagination.
Maki Horanai was born in Japan and presently lives in South East Queensland, Australia . She grew up in small seaside villages in Hokkaido, northern Japan, where she often sat or played along the beach.
Maki’s early influences were the ocean, the shore, the birds and islands she saw both in reality and in her imagination. She began painting in high school and continued through college and graduate school where she was strongly influenced by the colours and themes of western religious/iconic art.
Maki has exhibited widely in Japan and Australia , always affecting people who “see” her art deeply. Maki’s paintings show a world that exists both nowhere and everywhere, in the real world and in our dreams. They display a combination of oriental and western sensibilities and defy single term categories.
the temperament of sky
moments of connection with the universe
My work has been strongly influenced by the nature of my childhood. I grew up in snowy villages along the sea coast in northern Japan. The severe power of the ocean, together with the pure, clean, quiet atmosphere are deeply embedded in my memory. When I was sleeping, the sound of waves was always in my ears. Away from city lights and tall buildings, the stars and moon were always present overhead at night.
I adore the gold background of old paintings of both the east and west, and, as I started to paint, elements of this style surfaced in my work. The works of Giotto (14th century), Fra Angelico (15th century) and Kano Eitoku (16th century) have particularly impressed me.
I’m not consciously aware of the meaning of my paintings as I work. If I know it, then probably I can’t paint. Towards the end of each painting, stories make themselves known to me.
at the end, in the beginning
depending on the wind
after the rain
the path between night and day
the sound of ascending
Maki Horanai ‘poems in a tree’
Expressions of the spiritual mind and imagination.
It is very difficult to get Maki Horanai to talk about her paintings. And what might we think if she did? Can the words of the artist herself about her own work be trusted any more than the words of an outside observer? Isadora Duncan, considered by many to be the creator of modern dance, said when asked about the meaning of one of her dances: ‘I can’t explain the dance to you; if I could tell you, there would be no point in dancing it’. In the same way, Maki’s paintings speak for themselves. And that’s the amazing thing about her works – they do speak to us. All we need to do is quieten our minds and hearts from their daily race and just stand in front of one and allow ourselves to be transported into her world.
in the midst of desolation
living in the trees
town of moon watchers
memory of a tree
the end of hibernation
melody in the night
lost in thought
prayer of transition
And what of her world?
In one attempt to understand her world we can give autobiographical information. She was born in Japan and raised in small towns by the sea. She began to paint and draw from a young age, studied art and painting in college and is devoted to her work. Her artist-teachers at college were of great influence and support and encountering the work of Giotto, Piero Della Francesca, and Fra Angelico have been of particular importance to her.
In another sense, there is a totally different world to speak of, or rather, not to speak of, but to encounter.
Of that world, Maki says little. She paints for herself, saying ‘my art is not about showing others my feelings, but about discovering unknown feelings for myself’. And perhaps for us, the viewers, it’s the same. What we can discover in Maki’s paintings is not her feelings, but our own. And to tell her this – of our own discovered, uncovered feelings found in her work – is of great joy for her to hear.
In this, her 17th solo exhibition in Australia, there are many places to travel and many worlds to see by placing ourselves in Maki’s hands. She is an extraordinary artist and we consider ourselves privileged to encounter each of her works.
creation of the forest song
into the distant forest
dream of the forest
meeting of the forests
once were children
song of a rainy day
wishing for wings
birth in the moonlight
free to fly
just the beginning
The Art of MAKI HORANAI
. . . e n j o y . . . ~