The Art Gallery at the University of Saint Joseph
West Hartford, CT
Surveying contemporary Japanese printmakers working in a wide range of techniques, including color woodblocks, etchings, mezzotints, lithographs, and screenprints, Hanga Now highlights the artists’ diversity, creativity, and sensitivity to materials. These contemporary artists are successors to Japan’s early 20th century sōsaku hanga (creative print) movement. Inspired by the Western approach to original prints in which the artist executes every stage – from design of the image and preparation and inking of the matrix to final printing on paper in a limited edition – this movement diverged from the traditional process of creating ukiyo-e prints and 20th-century shin-hanga (new print) works, which involved collaboration among separate designers, block carvers, printers, and publishers.
Prints in this exhibition range from abstract to representational, but share the reverence for materials and exquisite craftsmanship that characterizes Japanese art from all periods. Many of the artists – even those who adopt an abstract style – treat such traditional Japanese themes as nature and the four seasons. Although the primary focus of Hanga Now is on prints executed in the last 25 years (1990 – 2015), it also includes works by the generation of artists who studied with or were influenced by the first masters of sōsaku hanga. Major artists in the exhibition include Tamekane Yoshikatsu, Iwami Reika, Shinoda Toko, Imamura Yoshio, Nakazawa Shin’ichi, and Hamanishi Katsunori.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website