Taka Maruno's skillfully rendered, richly colored and expressive abstract etchings reflect a relationship with nature begun as a child, playing in the fields and woods and streets of suburban Tokyo. His memories of the sensual joy of being in nature —- the green smell of the lawn, the sound of the wind creeping up on him, the brightness of a dandelion on the asphalt after the rain, the wide sky above -- these experiences sank deep into his mind and heart, and their memory informs his art, bringing fresh expression to the centuries old art of printmaking.
In making etchings, the copperplate is first covered with an acid-resistant wax or resin ground. Then the image is incised into the wax or resin layer with an etching needle. Finally the plate is dipped into acid. The acid bites into the exposed lines where the wax or resin was removed. These acid-bitten areas hold the ink or color medium. The plate is run through the press, the plate is cleaned and re-inked and, the paper, once dried, is reprinted, building up color and form until the satisfactory image is produced. While the plate may be used again and again, each time it must be re-inked and therefore, each etching is an original, one-of-a-kind image.
Printmaking is intriguing for Maruno in its combination of highly refined technical skill and beautiful accident. "If I work harder," he tells us, "I can be a friend of accidents." He poetically refers to that artist self that is always ahead of the conscious self when he says, "It is the accident maker I love."
Born in Tokyo, Maruno graduated from the Kuwasawa Design School in 1989. While in school, he worked with Q Designers, Kuramata Design, Studio 80, and the Tokyo office of Studio Di Architettura, Aldo Rossi. After graduation, Maruno worked as a designer and architect with Akira Watanabe Architect and Associates. The many creative people he worked with in Tokyo, artists and others, have strongly influenced his understanding of his responsibility to his art. They have inspired him to make the best use of material, to set material off to exhibit its unique, innate qualities.
In 1994 Maruno set out for New York City with the wish to expand his experience, to be in a place where he could view things from many different angles, and choose among many options. In New York he has studied at The National Academy Museum and School with such renowned artists as Vincent Baldassano, Kathleen Caraccio, and George Nama and with Beth Lipman in Urban Glass, Brooklyn, NY. Maruno was a member of the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in NYC in 2006. In 2009, he taught at the National Academy Museum and School, NYC.
In the etchings exhibited here, Maruno employs oil paint as his medium, adding rich bold colors to his asymmetrical designs, creating dramatic images abstracted from nature. Art theorists have suggested that we are most attracted to landscape when as city-dwellers, ensconced in our urban centers, we feel most intensely the loss of nature. For Maruno, the life of the city, the chance encounter, serves as a kind of sensual depth charge, bringing memory of nature to the surface, his art born in the moment.
Each of Maruno's unique prints, built from qualities inherent in the chosen medium, reflects these remarkable visions and the feelings they produce.
First Prize in the Printmaking Category at National Academy Museum & School, N.Y.C., 2004
Awarded The National Academy School Benefit Scholarship and the Louis LeBeaume Scholarship, 2002.
Received the Ralph Wailer Exhibition Award at the Cork Gallery, Lincoln Center, 2001.
Awarded the Arthur and Melville Phillips Scholarship at the National Academy, multiple years
“5x5: An Invitational” at Westmont Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA, 2011
“2011 Faculty Exhibition” at National Academy Museum & School, N.Y.C.
“Gathering Hopes” Charity Exhibition for Earthquake & Tsunami Relief at Japan, American Association, N.Y.C; 2011
“Help Japan” The Charity Exhibition for Earthquake and Tsunami Victims in Japan at National Academy Museum & School, 2011
“etcetera” A Mixed Media Exhibition at National Academy Museum & School, N.Y.C., 2010
“Artist from Around the World” at Alex Adam Gallery, N.Y.C., 2010
“Twelfth Annual Juried Student Exhibition” at National Academy Museum & School, N.Y.C.
“Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Members Show” at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts 20/20 Gallery, N.Y.C., 2009
Bridgewater Fine Arts, N.Y.C., 2007
K. Caraccio Printing Studio, N.Y.C., 2006
“The Harnett Biennial of American Prints” at University of Richmond Museums, VA, 2006