SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University’s Jundt Art Museum will feature prints by contemporary Japanese artists from the Collection of Gonzaga University. The exhibit opens March 16 in the Arcade Gallery and runs through July 31. The exhibit is in conjunction with Association for Asian Studies’ Pacific Chapter Conference to be held June 15-17 at Gonzaga.
Intaglio, screen, relief, and lithographic prints will be on display, showcasing the work of well known 20th and 21st century Japanese printmakers. The Japanese are credited with great innovations in printmaking. Since the 1600s, Japan was isolated from the rest of the world under the policy of Sakoku, which translates into “secluded or closed country.” Printmakers employed the traditional Ukiyo-e woodblock technique, which was the popular contemporary art form. After the Pacific War in 1945, Japan was free to adopt some of the attitudes and skills of the West, but maintained its independence and cultural identity by controlling the pace of change. The Japanese people began to freely integrate the traditional with the modern in their culture. This process can be seen in the world of prints in particular.
Umetaro Azechi is best known for his favorite landmark subjects, designs of mountains and mountaineers in simplified forms of large, flat areas. Overcoming poverty and isolation in his younger years, Azechi eventually earned his living both from his prints and from his books on mountaineering. Katsunori Hamanishi graduated from Tokai University in 1973 and studied at the University of Pennsylvania on a grant from the Cultural Affairs Agency. One of the foremost mezzotint artists in the world today, Hamanishi has won numerous awards and honors. His work is in collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Art Institute of Chicago and the Krakow National Museum to name a few. Yuichi Hasegawa’s woodblock printing technique is commonly called reductive. Instead of using several different blocks for different colors, Hasegawa uses only one and carves and prints until nothing is left of the block.
The artist comments that he is “striving to create world with a meaningful inner spirit.” Yuji Hiratsuka received his Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Tokyo Gakugei University, his Master of Arts in Printmaking from New Mexico State University, and his Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Indiana University. Hiratsuka had a one-man exhibit at the Jundt Art Museum in 1999. Akira Kurosaki has exhibited widely in and outside of Japan and his work covers a wide spectrum of style and techniques, mostly abstractions. A typical example of an artist working in the “sosaku hanga” movement (a printmaking style that combined traditional and new innovations), Kurosaki’s prints are in public and private collections worldwide. Tôru Mabuchi’s printmaking plates are often composed of thin slices of wood adhered to the plate like mosaics. His father, also an artist and a pioneer of the airbrush technique, encouraged Tôru to become an artist. Mabuchi was a teacher at Hiroshima University. Haku Maki’s prints make use of very thick paper, embossed by the use of a cement mold. The “old-fashioned” use of Japanese characters and a traditional seal are other signature techniques.
Naoko Matsubara graduated from the Kyota University of Applied Arts in 1960. She pursued her Master of Fine Arts in the School of Fine Arts at the Carnegie Mellon University on a Fulbright Travel Grant. Matsubara has travelled extensively; a rare distinction for a Japanese woman. Shikō Munakata is an artist associated with the “sosaka hanga” period and the folk art movement. His exposure to Buddhist religious imagery had a significant impact on his artistic style. Tokō Shinoda was born in Manchuria in 1913 and moved to Tokyo in 1914. Schooled in traditional calligraphy, her abstract work in printmaking began in the 1940s. Shinoda’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and other museums, including museums and galleries in New York, Boston, and Paris. Considered Japan’s foremost etcher, Ryohei Tanaka’s prints are admired for their fine detail and subtle aquatinting. Lastly, Kouki Tsuritani combines the philosophy of traditional Japanese art with traditional European printmaking. Tsuritani uses his drawing and carving skills in making three types of prints: mezzotints, woodblocks, and photogravures. He was trained in painting and printmaking at Kanazawa College of Art.
The exhibition “Japanese Prints” is held in conjunction with Gonzaga Associate Professor Eric Cunningham, the Gonzaga history department, and the Association for Asian Studies’ Pacific Chapter Conference at Gonzaga June 15-17. For more information on the conference, visit www.gonzaga.edu/aspac
A free public walk-through with Karen Kaiser, assistant curator for education, will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, March 16. Continuing in the Jundt Art Galleries is “Jiří Anderle: The Baruch Foundation Gift” through April 3. New additions to the Collection of Gonzaga University feature the work of Czech artist Jiří Anderle.
The museum’s exhibitions are free and open to the public from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon- 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The museum is closed Sundays and school holidays. For more information, please contact Karen Kaiser, assistant curator for education, at (509) 313-6613 or via e-mail.