Naoko Matsubara

Oakville, Ontario, Canada



Naoko Matsubara graduated from the Kyoto Academy of Fine Arts (now Kyoto Fine Arts University), and was a Fulbright scholar at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, where she received her MFA. Subsequently she studied at the Royal College of Art in London and traveled extensively in Europe and Asia before returning to Japan.

In 1965 she returned to the United States as personal assistant to Prof. Fritz Eichenberg and taught at the Pratt Graphic Center in New York and the University of Rhode Island. She moved to Canada in 1972, following her marriage, and established her studio in Oakville. She remains extremely active as an artist of single-sheet woodcuts, paintings ,murals, paper sculptures and has published some 22 portfolios and books. In 1965 she became a member of SAGA; In 1981 she became a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts; and in 2009 received an honorary doctorate from Chatham University, Pittsburgh.

Naoko Matsubara’s work is in many public collections, including the British Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Cincinnati Art Museum; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The White House; The Art Institute of Chicago; the National Museums of Modern Art, Tokyo and Kyoto; Royal Ontario Museum; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Yale University, Princeton University and Harvard University.

She has had solo or group exhibitions on four continents, and her work has been the subject of monographs, articles, reviews, newspaper reports and films: notably the 300-page catalogue Tree Spirit (Royal Ontario Museum, 2003). In 2007 she had an invited solo exhibition at the Canadian Embassy, Tokyo; and three large works were commissioned by the Royal Ontario Museum. In 2009 a retrospective exhibition, Celebration in Pittsburgh, took place at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Other shows include the 2016 “Crossroads”, at the Staatliche Museum zu Berlin, the 2019 “Lifelines, the Woodcuts of Naoko Matsubara”, at The Ashmolean Museum, The Univ. of Oxford, and in 2021 “In Praise of Hands”, at The Ashmolean Museum, The Univ. of Oxford, England.

A Rider, 15″ x 20″, 2000
Timber Song, 32″ x 43″, 2020
Tibetan Sky, woodcut collage, 24″ x 33″, 1986
Kiyomizu, 32″ x 25″, 1980