Hideyuki Sobue ‘RECOLLECTION’


Hideyuki Sobue (b. 1965) lives and works in the Lake District, UK, yet grew up as an orphan in Aichi, Japan. He graduated from Osaka University of Arts, Japan (awarded a scholarship). Working with drawing and painting, two historic media that have served as a fundamental means of communication since prehistoric times, he explores the unbroken line in the relationship between art and humanity.

Sobue uses an entirely original brush hatching technique employing Japanese sumi ink and acrylic. Created through a fusion of influences – the Florentine school of the Renaissance, oriental artistic heritage and neurological studies – Sobue’s medium attempts to create a platform bridging east and west, and explore the historical and the human act of seeing.

Sobue has exhibited extensively throughout the UK and Japan. Notable exhibitions include “Conversation with Ruskin”, celebrating the bicentenary of John Ruskin’s birth, supported by Arts Council England <solo show> (the Blue Gallery, Brantwood, Coniston/ The Ruskin Museum, Library and Research Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster); “Wordsworth and Basho: Walking Poets” (Itami City Museum Kakimori Bunko, Japan); “I Wandered…”, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the final publication of William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” <solo show> (Rydal Mount & Gardens, Ambleside); “The Way I See” supported by Arts Council England <solo show> (Japan House Gallery, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, London); the Royal Scottish Academy Open (RSA Lower Gallery, Edinburgh); the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize (Kings Place, London); Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Open (RBSA Gallery); National Open Art (Minerva Theatre, Chichester). Among other public collections, his work is housed at Rydal Mount Gardens – a historic house with gardens designed by William Wordsworth.

He was awarded the Arts Council Emergency Support Fund for his new art project “Wordsworth, Hardwicke and Lake District”, and is currently working on it enthusiastically.

Artist Statement

Hideyuki Sobue is a Japanese artist currently living and working in the Lake District.

As an artist, Sobue has been always fascinated by the uniqueness of humanity. Humans share 99% of DNA base sequence with chimpanzees, yet it is obvious that humans are so unique and different from any other species on the planet. Sobue said, “We have created diverse cultures and civilizations, as a result of which we are now left with the negative legacy of serious ecological crisis. There is, however, also a rich artistic, cultural and scientific heritage deriving from humans’ unique nature. Such human uniqueness would never have existed without creativity.” Sobue believes that drawing plays a key role in the creativity unique to humanity.

During prehistory, drawing far preceded the invention of writing. Drawing is a unique fundamental tool, the source of paintings, symbols, signs and letters. For this reason, Sobue had been in search of new expressions bridging drawing, painting and writing. This has led him to create a new brush hatching technique using Japanese sumi ink and acrylic, inspired by the concept of disegno, based on drawing, from the Florentine school in the early Renaissance era, combining with ongoing studies in neuroscience, one of which revealed that the human visual brain perceives objects predominantly by oriented lines. Sobue feels that perhaps this evidence might show the unique link between drawing and writing, long hidden in the prehistoric age. The use of Japanese sumi ink, which was propagated from ancient China, and which Japanese people adopted as the unique style of ink painting called “Sumi-e”, is the key element of his practice, which aims to bridge East and West by sampling the rich cultural, artistic and ideological heritage of both.

Sobue aims to explore the unbroken line of the relationship between humanity and art from the primeval times, to look into the origin of human creativity by enquiring about its meaning in a contemporary context, and to sublimate the concept into his own visual language. In this way, Sobue is exploring alternative expression employing the core creative activity of humanity (drawing and painting) through delving into the human act of seeing, so that his work raises questions regarding the mystery and dignity of humanity, the potential of painting and drawing among numerous artistic expressions, and how to bridge East and West, with their great heritage and contemporary understanding.

The personal online exhibition ‘Recollection’ of paintings by Hideyuki Sobue is held on the gallery website from the 2nd to 30th June 2020. Visit the exhibition at http://www.hayhill.com/docs/sobue.html


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