First, a cool, foggy morning in the Inland Sea in southern Japan. The swirling fibers of the paper add to the mistiness, and the subtle variations in color are a far cry from the stark black and white of a traditional European woodcut. I love the faint hint of other shapes in the distance, and the watery ripples of the reflections. Yoshida Hiroshi (Japan, 1876-1950) has made an image so soft it’s hard to believe it comes from the force of a press on hard, carved wood.
The exhibit in which these pieces appeared was showing how students of Arthur Wesley Dow (USA, 1857-1922) explored the history and practice of traditional Japanese color woodblock printing, and how it influenced their work. In this case, however, the American
I really love both these pieces, and love that they’re so different despite all their similarities.
[Pictures: Hansen, kiri (Sailboats, Fog), polychrome woodblock print by Yoshida Hiroshi, 1926 (Image from RISD Museum);
Torcello, polychrome woodblock print by Margaret Jordan Patterson, 1919.]