Gallery reception to showcase work of the Matsumotos
The Tower Gallery will highlight the work of artist Ikki Matsumoto at a reception this week.
“Matsumoto Retrospective” will take place on Jan. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the gallery on Sanibel. A celebration of Ikki and Polly Matsumoto’s lives of art-making, it will feature prints of Ikki Matsumoto’s work for sale, along with Polly Matsumoto’s fiber art. Both were original Tower Gallery members.
Board Member JoAnne Bedient explained that the Matsumotos were artists for the original gallery when it began in Fort Myers in 1982. They opened their own establishment in 1986 when they moved the building now housing the Tower Gallery from the beach off West Gulf Drive to its current site.
In 1992, the Matsumotos and the Tower Gallery reunited at the island location.
Bedient pointed to their ties to the gallery as one reason for the event.
“And there are still so many people who want to collect his work,” she added of Ikki Matsumoto. “As along as we can continue to carry his work, we would like to share it with the community.”
Organized in collaboration with the couple’s daughter, Amy Matsumoto Urich, the reception will feature approximately 20 to 30 framed pieces of his work for purchase, along with unframed works, prints and notecards. They will be on display inside the gallery and out on the deck for the event.
“Many of them can be ordered from his collection,” Bedient said. “They are reproduced still.”
A graphic artist who passed away in 2013, Ikki Matsumoto studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati under renowned, humorous wildlife artist Charles Harper. After moving to Sanibel in 1975, he established a new career as a painter and printmaker using native birds as the subjects in his artwork.
“He used a lot of the island birds and flora,” she said. “And a lot of them with a whimsical sense of humor to them.”
Matsumoto was one of 50 artists chosen by former First Lady Nancy Reagan to paint an Easter egg, which is now in the Smithsonian Museum’s permanent collection. He illustrated the first “Joy of Cooking” book, and he also produced the posters for the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club’s annual fair.
Bedient noted that Polly Matsumoto passed away last year.
“The Matsumotos have done so much for the arts on the islands,” she said.
The public is encouraged to come out.
Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be available.
Live music will be provided by Dan Smyth.
“Come see a large grouping of Ikki’s work,” Bedient said.
For more information, call 239-472-4557 or visit www.towergallery.net.
The Tower Gallery is at 751 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel.