November 18, 2016

Kanreki Print Show

        Here’s another printmaking find that was sent to me by a friend.  It’s the catalogue of an exhibit of contemporary Japanese prints that is already over, and which I wouldn’t have been able to get to in any case, but it looks like it must have been spectacular.  It’s another of those bittersweet internet moments: if it weren’t for the internet I wouldn’t have known about this or been able to see any of the pieces at all, but at the same time the pictures are so small that they just leave me frustrated that I can’t see the art in person, or at least bigger and more detailed.  I’m so glad I’ve had this glimpse, but so wish I could have more!
        The exhibit was put together by the College Women’s Association of Japan, and this is the 60th annual printmaking show they’ve assembled.  (You can read more about the history and purpose of the organization and the show on the exhibit web page.)  The show includes a wide variety of printmaking techniques, and a wide variety of images.  I’ve picked out a handful of those that
struck my eye - those that I really wanted to be able to see up close.  There isn’t enough detail for me to speculate very intelligently about technique, or to admire any particular strokes of genius, but there is enough to say, “This looks pretty cool!”
        At any rate, it’s always nice to see such a vibrant collection of contemporary printmaking.  At most of the shows I do I seem to be pretty much the only printmaker.  At Mother Brook Arts & Community Center last weekend there were actually three of us: an etcher, a silkscreener, and myself.  I’m still the only one doing relief block prints, but it’s nevertheless nice to see printmaking of all kinds alive and well in the art world.

[Pictures: Gentle Prayer, woodcut by Ayaka Kobayashi;
Fruit of September, woodcut by Mitsuru Hiraki;
The Night Piece, woodcut by Gen Yamanaka;
Colleague, woodcut by Iwao Akiyama;
Village Breeze, wood engraving by Yoichi Kenmoku;
Toward the Sea, woodcut by Yuko Iwakiri (All images from Highfield Hall and Gardens).]

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