|Baren-suji is the
newsletter of [Baren], The International Forum for Woodblock Printmaking.
The official internet site of [Baren] is http://barenforum.org
Baren-suji are the marks left by the baren when printing. Similarly, this newsletter assumes the role of recording the marks left by the woodblock printmakers that constitute [Baren].
Comments and contributions are welcomed. Please contact:
Baren and The Encyclopedia of Woodblock Printmaking were created by David Bull in 1997 to promote the art of and share information about woodblock printmaking.
Baren activities include an international discussion forum, a network of woodblock printmakers, workshops and get-togethers, and the very successful Exchange and Exhibition Programs.
To join [Barenforum], simply point your browser to:
|ISSUE 6: July 2001
NOTE! To return to this Table of Contents from anywhere in the Newsletter, just click on the barens scattered about.
Baren Archives find a new Home
The 4th Annual Chicago International Antiques & Fine Art
Closeup: "Quiet Elegance"
The Floating and the Fixed : Timon Screech lecture on Shunga, Erotic Japanese Ukiyo-e Prints.
A Simple daub for inking small areas
|Welcome to the Summer issue of Baren-Suji,
our newsletter. Once again the members' contributions have given us ample material for
bringing this issue together; our many thanks to all the contributors.
All of us here at Baren who have followed along have been extremely overjoyed with the success that Maria Arango's career has taken. Sadly, the weekly Art Fairs, the cross-country gallery representation and deadlines, the book proposals and the requests for teaching assignments have all taken a toll.
As she announced last issue, this means that Maria has had to give up many of her Baren duties. Besides her title of editor of the Baren-Suji newsletter, Maria has also been an instrumental part of the Baren Council, the creation and running of the Baren-Mall and our resident "kick-butt" person. On behalf of all of our membership and the readers of Baren-Suji ... we wish to thank Maria for her hard work and dedication to the group and to also wish her continous success in all her printmaking endeavors.
The Baren Council would also like to take this opportunity to welcome long time Baren member Gayle Wohlken to the council spot vacated by Maria.
"We must, indeed, all hang together,
-Printmaker Benjamin Franklin
A special thank YOU! to the contributors this issue:
As always, an extra thank you to our friendly Baren graphic designer, John Amoss, for the Baren-Suji masthead design and the many logos that keep popping up in the Barenforum web site.
Julio Rodriguez, Editor of Baren-Suji
Please direct letters to the editor and comments to: Editor
Remember that your contributions will continue to make this newsletter interesting and palatable for all. To contribute a feature article or an item of interest, please contact: Contributions
Remember! General information and links to all exchanges can always be found here: http://barenforum.org/exchange/index.html
And in case you missed them, the Exchange Gallery can delight you here: http://barenforum.org/exchange/exchanges.html
Exchange #10 is well on its way and prints are due August 1st, 2001. Coordinating the effort is Lynita Shimizu. This is an oban sized non-themed exchange.
Signup for Exchange #11 is underway. The theme for this exchange is "Flora". Please check the sign-up page for details.
There is also a special side-exchange in the works which is under the coordination of Rudolf Stalder. Information can be found at Large-Print Exchange. Deadline for signing up is July 31, 2001.
A great way to keep up with all the exchanges is to bookmark the Exchange sign-up pages in your Favorites or Bookmarks (Internet Explorer and Netscape respectively).
Maria Arango has also started an information page about exchanges going on in the printmaking world. If a group has a print exchange going on and would like them listed for an online reference, just send her an e-mail. Corrections and updates should also be e-mailed to Maria directly at Print Exchange Central.
For those wanting to work at their own pace and perhaps do smaller editions, The Baren
International Swap Shop is awaiting your prints. James Mundie presides over the Swapshop and is looking forward to adding your prints to those already received. The Swapshop Gallery can be seen at: http://barenforum.org/swapshop/intro.html
The "GOSPELS-Text Messages" Print Project. Recently initiated by Gregory Robison, this is a collaboration project, NOT an exchange. Prints illustrating the Gospels in the New Testament will be exhibited in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2002. The discussion group is alive and well and all the particulars can be found in the web page at http://www.topica.com/lists/gospelprints
[BAREN] Woodblock Print Exhibition
The BAREN Woodblock Exhibition was held for the second year in a row at the Skokie Public Library. Baren member Julio Rodriguez shared his collection of Baren exchange prints.
In total the exhibition included over 150 prints representing the work of eighty five international members.
This year's exhibition ran from May 23 thru the first week
of July. Because the space available this time was limited to only the first
floor area, the exhibit included only selected prints from exchanges
#5 through #9 and postcard prints from the very popular Chinese New Year "Snakes"
Photos from the exhibition can be viewed here: http://www.skokienet.org/bandits/jcrstuff/lib2001.html
BAREN Exchange Print Exhibition May 23 - July 6, 2001
HIRATSUKA: Modern Master. The Art Institute of Chicago, June 16 - July 29, 2001. Hiratsuka Un’ichi (1895–1997) was among the first of a group of 20th-century woodcut artists to break away from traditions. Influenced by progressive Japanese painters who had adopted watercolor and oil painting techniques during their time abroad, Hiratsuka embraced the Western technique of carving directly into the woodblock. Although he earned acclaim for his early color prints, his continued experimentation with wood-engraving techniques led him toward black-and-white compositions. The show presents 120 of the artist’s late woodblock prints from the collection of the Art Institute and that of the family of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Van Zelst. The exhibition also pays tribute to the artist’s legacy in the United States, where he eventually moved.
The exhibition will be shown in two installments, the first on view June 16 through July 29, the second August 4 through September 16. For more information go to http://www.artic.edu/aic/exhibitions/hiratsuka.html
If you are missing out on the exchanges and exhibitions, be sure to tune into the Baren forum and take a gander through the Encyclopedia. Opportunities abound and await!
"Listening to the Animals", Solo Exhibition - Sarah Hauser, June 22-July 26, 2001 at WomanMade Gallery, Chicago, Illinois.
"Observation of and interaction with animals heightens my pure appreciation of life and connection with nature. This vital force is essential, particularly in the midst of the overwhelming, hectic and very unnatural environment of New York City".
"Inspiration for my work comes through the moments that spark that connection: whether it is through seeing a woman attempt to walk four Jack Russell terriers who are each running in a different direction; feeding birds in the park and seeing the smallest bird take off with a piece of bread bigger than he is; or while watching documentary film footage of a chimpanzee as he sits alone on a ridge, staring up at leaves in what appears to be a highly contemplative moment".
"Through my current series of woodblock prints I capture a glimpse of the power, humor, grace and soulfulness of these moments".
Sarah's exhibit was all the excuse a bunch of Bareners needed to descend on Chicago for a weekend of fun!
L-R: Sharen Linder, Susan & Dean Clark, Gayle Wohlken, John Center(holding bag), Jim Wohlken, Julio Rodriguez, Sarah Hauser, Lori Salsbury
and Sue Salsbury
Plans and Levitations: Large Format Digital Prints with Altered Architecture: New Work by April Vollmer, June 28 to July 21.
There is no denying that the computer and digital art are making a mark in todays Art world. Many artists based on traditional media are finding new and exciting paths on which to explore their creativity. One such artist is our very own April Vollmer, who continues to push the limits with both her traditional woodcuts and her fresh and creative digital art.
April: "Many artist friends have come by while I'm gallery sitting, for discussions of changes in printmaking since the advent of the computer. The show includes my portfolio of woodcuts as well as large format digital prints. You can't beat the texture and color of hanga woodcut, but the digital offers great flexibility in composing and collaging, and it has been great to work at a larger scale. I want it all!!!"
Press Release. Ceres Gallery announces Plans and Levitations, new digital work by April Vollmer opening at Ceres Project Room Thursday, June 28 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The installation centers on prints structured with classic architectural floor plans. It also includes woodcuts based on digital sketches, documenting the artist’s ability to relate new technology to traditional printmaking techniques.
The Ceres Project Room is located at 323 West 39th Street, Room 306. The exhibition runs from June 28 until July 21, 2001. Gallery hours are Fridays from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. and by appointment. To schedule additional times please call 212-677-5691, or e-mail email@example.com
This exhibition uses the computer to explore the mathematical underpinnings of natural forms. Measured architectural plans offer a whimsical structure for arrays of plants and animals, suggesting personal diagrams of the cosmos. All the prints are constructed in the computer using multiple layers, similar to the way that color prints are structured.
April Vollmer is an artist who lives and works on the lower east side of Manhattan. Working in traditional Japanese woodcut for many years, she has taught woodcut workshops across the country, and her work has been exhibited internationally. She designs her woodcuts on the computer, combining the technology of the 18th century with that of the 21st. This exhibition is her first solo show of digital work.
Examples of this work and more information can be found on her website at http://www.aprilvollmer.com.Ceres is a not-for-profit cooperative gallery dedicated to promoting the work of artists in all disciplines. Plans and Levitations is funded in part by the former New York Chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art.
Art Works , by L. Lauren Robertson &
Wanda Robertson, June 2- June 30, 2001
Marylhurst, Oregon USA
Extra-Ordinary: , by Barbara Mason. A celebration of everyday objects rendered using the traditional Japanese hanga method. Exhibit ran from May 3 to June 2, 2001 at Waterstone Gallery.
424 NW 12th Avenue
Michelangelo: Drawings and Other Treasures from Casa Buonarroti, Florence
(June 23-September 2, 2001)
Winslow Homer and the Critics: Forging a National Art in the 1870s
Monet: A View from the River - (October 6, 2001-January 6, 2002)
After The Scream: The Late Work of Edvard Munch, February 9-May 5, 2002
The Baren Archives now rest in the excellent care of Dr.Stephen Goddard at the Spencer Museum of Art on the University of Kansas campus, 30 miles west of Kansas City in Lawrence, Kansas. The plan is to use the prints from the Baren Exchanges for educational purposes. Steve says they are enjoying looking at them and have seen about half of the prints so far. The portfolios will be housed in the Max Kade-Erich H. Markel Department of Graphic Arts [in what they call The Printroom ] at the Spencer Museum.
The Max Kade - Erich H. Markel Department of Graphic Arts at the Spencer Museum of Art houses nearly ten thousand works of art on paper (prints, drawings, photographs, and artists' books). The core of their old master collection of prints was given by the Max Kade Foundation, whose most recent president was the late Erich H. Markel. The facility includes a room for the study of works of art on paper that can accommodate a class of about twenty students. This is the room called the Printroom. It is used for teaching classes from all the University departments.
The Spencer Museum of Art in the education of students of art history is due to the strength of the museum's collections, its accessibility, the curator's joint appointments with the art history department, and student internships. The museum houses more than 20,000 objects and shares a building with the Kress Foundation Department of Art History and the Murphy Library of Art and Architecture. In addition to separate galleries for permanent installations of Medieval, Renaissance, Asian, 17th- and 18th-century, 19th-century and 20th-century art, there are two galleries for traveling exhibitions and two galleries for changing exhibitions of prints and photographs.
Since a first lino-block print of a grasshopper at the age of eight Steve was hooked on printmaking. He went on to an undergraduate degree in metal smithing at Grinnell College. Then as an off campus residence advisor Steve received free tuition at Minneapolis College of Art and Design for a print class; he made prints all day and all night. On to the University of Iowa where he started a MFA in Printmaking, but switched to art history and received his MA and PhD. Moving from Belgium, where he had done research for his doctoral, he got an internship at the print department of the Yale University Art Gallery and brought his love of prints and art history together for good.
Steve has been at the Spencer Museum for 16 years and enjoys the rural life on 25 acres
farm in Douglas County, Kansas. His animal menagerie certainly shows up in his prints, his dogs have tremendous personalities! (to see Steve's family and projects, point & click on the farm photo).
Steve: "The printroom is used for teaching classes from all around the university (women's studies, French, art & design, art history, etc.) so our holdings are heavily utilized. I'm sure we will use the Baren portfolios in conjunction with our art & design printmaking classes, as well as when I talk about recent phenomena in printmaking, especially the globalization of print lore facilitated by the www".
Steve's prints can be seen online at http://home.earthlink.net/~goddardfarm/prints.htm. "Taking out the trash" is probably the most involved print, and I'm fond of all the dogs as well as the ABCs, which I will probably never finish, alas".
For more information on The Spencer Museum or to contact Steve Goddard, please contact:
Spencer Museum of Art
1301 Mississippi St.
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045
Ecumenical Curator of Prints and Drawings
Professor of Art History
History of the museum with back links: http://www.ku.edu/~sma/smahome/information/history.htm
A few months back I had the pleasure to head over to Chicago's Merchandise Mart building to spend a wonderful afternoon at The 4th Annual Chicago International Antiques & Fine Art Fair . In conjunction with PRINTS|CHICAGO and the Antiquarian Book Fair the exhibit brought hundreds of internationally renown dealers to my back door.
Prints/Chicago is the Midwest's premier works-on-paper fair and was inaugurated in 1985 by local print dealers Maurice Alberti and Frederick Baker, both members of the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA). This was the fourth year the show has been held concurrent with the Chicago International Antiques & Fine Art Fair. Exhibitor participation is by invitation and only established dealers with the highest credentials are included.
Concentrating specifically on Japanese prints, I set out to view hundreds (if not thousands!) of master prints. More prints that I ever thought humanly possible to view at one take. Folder after folder full of works by Hiroshige, Yoshitoshi, Harunobu, Hasui, Saito and many other masters. All the dealers were very friendly and even after introducing myself as a "printmaker", I was allowed to go through their folders and manhandle their stack of prints. These were the real McCoy's, not one 20th century restrike to be found!
I met Michael Verne from Cleveland (see "Closeup" article below) who represents our very own barener in Japan, Daniel Kelly. Daniel's very large print "Strawberries" (1990) sold for an undisclosed amount and was a sure show stopper. It is a cement block, lithograph and woodblock print which was partially printed using a large sewer pipe.
Had the pleasure to meet Carolyn Staley from Seattle another well known dealer in fine Japanese prints. Specializing in Japanese wood block prints since 1980, the Carolyn Staley Fine Japanese Prints Gallery is located in Seattle's historic Pioneer Square. The gallery offers one of the largest collection of Japanese woodblock prints on the west coast. Carolyn and her associate, Beth Cullom shared some of their insights into the current state of Japanese prints.
Another highlight of the afternoon was to see on display two very famous prints by Shin-Hanga designer Hashiguchi Goyo. Active during the early part of the last century, Goyo was one of the first artists to design work for famous publisher Watanabe. I was so moved by the beauty of these prints, that no words could do justice to my complete and total admiration for the works. Price ? Well, these prints were held not by a print dealer but actually by an international Asian Antiques firm, their only prints on display. Purchased for $20,000 a few years back, their asking price is in the $50,000 to $80,000 range.
There is also quite a bit of a revival of the work of artists like Bertha Lum, Lillian Miller, Keith and others, all very well represented at the show. One gallery specializing on Miller's early work had dozens of her delicate prints for sale.
Overall, the show had a wonderful mix of classical and contemporary works. Such contemporaries as Saito, Sekino, Tokuriki and members of the Yoshida clan were well represented by dealers such as Jeanne Davidson from New York. Jeanne specializes on "sosaku" hanga & modern prints. She shared that the Watanabe studio's/heirs are coming out with a new seal and are starting to recrank out the old blocks again!
While I have concentrated this article on the Japanese print dealers, rest assure that the Chicago show had something for everyone. For a complete listing of all exhibitors visit this site: (http://www.merchandisemart.com/chicagoantiques/exhibitors.htm).
One of the highlights of attending the Chicago Print show was my meeting and chatting with Michael Verne, owner of the Verne Collection (Contemporary and Antique Japanese Prints) in Cleveland, Ohio.
Michael Verne grew up in a home surrounded by priceless Japanese scrolls and prints. His parents established the Verne Gallery of Japanese Art back in 1953 and held one of the largest collections of Japanese prints in the United states. Sometime in the 1980's, the focus of the Verne Collection shifted to representing American artists working in Japan and influenced by Japanese culture.
His book "Quiet Elegance: Japan Through the Eyes of Nine American Artists" is reminiscent of the many wonderful books published back in the 50's and 60's by Tuttle Publishing that served to introduce America to contemporary japanese printmakers of the time. First published in 1997 and co-authored with Betsy Franco, Michael's book provides an intimate snapshot of the work of nine American artists whose craft has been honed in Japan. Besides covering the careers of Joshua Rome, Carol Jessen, Karyn Young and others...the book opens up with a chapter on Baren member Daniel Kelly.
Daniel's on/off presence in our forum list is always a welcome source of fresh ideas and sharing of wonderful and innovative techniques. His very large sized prints (woodblock, mixed media) at the Chicago show were an eye opening source of inspiration.
Another unexpected surprise in visiting with Michael was to find and enjoy prints by another barener, New England's Matt Brown. Matt's inspiration are his family and the scenic backyard surroundings in Lyme, New Hampshire. His wonderful prints done in the traditional japanese hanga method can be viewed on his website at http://www.ooloopress.com/.
Michael: "I hope that "Quiet Elegance" will encourage everyone to pursue their own dreams and to never give up".
"When I began to represent these nine North American artists 16 years ago, everyone thought I was crazy. They thought Japanese prints only included people like Hiroshige, Hokusai, Utamaro, Hasui, Saito etc... If I had listened to all of those people who said it couldn't be done, my dreams would have never come true".
"One hundred years ago, some of the books on Japanese prints said that Hiroshige was not that important. They said that nothing done in the late 19th century was significant. The next books did not recognize the shin hanga artists. The sosaku hanga artists were initially not accepted. It takes a person with an enormous amount of courage to pursue something before everyone says it is O.K. Anyone can follow. Most of us are scared to lead".
"If you truly believe in what you are doing and the quality is good, your dreams will most likely come true."
Michael lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife Barbara and his sons Brian and Kevin. Besides talking about the artists he represents, printmaking and other related subjects, Michael and I shared a story or two about another common passion...coaching youth baseball!
In conjunction with their current exhibit of ukiyo-e prints brought into the
U.S. by Frank Lloyd Wright, Japan Society presented a lecture on shunga by
Timon Screech, Senior Lecturer in the history of Japanese Art at SOAS,
University of London, and Senior Associate at the Sainsbury Institute for
Japanese Arts and Cultures. His books include The Western Scientific Gaze
and Popular Imagery in Later Edo Japan (1996), as well as Sex and the
Floating World: Erotic Images in Japan, 1700-1820, (1999).
When Frank Lloyd Wright traveled to Japan to work on his Imperial Hotel he spent a great deal of time buying prints, and it is the vast quantity of prints that he brought back that forms the basis of the ukiyo-e collections in Chicago, Boston, and New York.
What struck me most about the Wright print show was the erotic nature of almost all the prints. Japan Society did not display explicit prints, yet all the women were engaged in quite suggestive activities. 'Making Sushi' was a courtesan leaning over with a huge daikon radish in her fist, grinding it to little piles of shredded flesh. Utamaro's tea house portraits are exquisite textural displays, with soft, opaque glistening shell backgrounds, and the clear porous washi left exposed for the face and skin of the courtesans. Tender and vulnerable, you really appreciate the character of washi seen this way.
So it was with great anticipation that I greeted the Timon Screech lecture. He was a riveting speaker, his talk was about the transgressive and erotic center of ukiyo-e printmaking. Edo (old Tokyo) was a city of men. To centralize his power, the shogun required representatives from around the country to spend time in Edo. While the elite could bring wives, the majority came alone. Those who could afford to visited the Yoshiwara pleasure district, an hour boat ride north of Edo, those who couldn't often bought prints of the beautiful women there.
Shunga prints are at heart commercial advertisements for prostitution, and created a self-aware fiction of the 'floating world', where everyone is beautiful, and willing, and the cherry trees are always in bloom. The evocation of this floating world includes many kinds of prints. Actors, for example, often doubled as sex workers. And the transgressions, not so obvious to the western eye, were all too obvious to the Japanese censors. Utamaro was manacled for 50 days for his suggestive print of the historic figure Hideyoshi. The offending prints are not overtly erotic, but show Hideyoshi visiting the pleasure quarters, his respectable wives dressed as courtesans.
Timon Screech's lecture was about the friction between the 'floating' world of fantasy and the 'fixed' world of everyday obligations. It is the transgressive foundation of ukiyo-e coupled with the exquisite formal beauty of these prints that makes them so inspirational.
A few months back my son Jorge had to do a school presentation on a topic of his choice. Teenagers being who they are... I almost fell off my chair when he announced he was going to do the presentation on woodblock printmaking. He likes to draw quite a bit and is good at it, showing promise and winning some awards at school. Since he had never before shown any interest on my favorite hobby, I was pleasantly surprised.
After spending an hour or so going thru the materials, tools, techniques, etc.... I set him off on the side with a piece of wood, some tools and a warning about the hardship of going thru life minus a finger or two! His design and work showed promise for a first-timer. It was with some degree of wonderment that I saw him leave for school the next day with a box full of old cutting tools, a few woodblocks and a handful of old & new prints. The presentation went well and I even got an invitation from the art teacher at school to do a father/son demo this upcoming school season. While there has been no follow up attempts or interest from Jorge to continue experimenting with printmaking, the story did give me an opening line for this article showcasing two of Baren's youngest artists.
Meagan Dew is the twelve year old daughter of Florida printmaker Daniel Dew. As possibly Baren's youngest member and Exchange participant, Meagan has participated in the Chinese New Year Snake exchange and also in the "Salon de Refuses" (a side exchange which allowed the overflow of participants in Baren #9 to join in the "Endangered Species" theme). Meagan's "Golden Tamarin" (shown at right) was very well received and sold several copies at this summer's Florida Printmakers exhibit of "Endangered Species".
Meagan: "I started printmaking almost two years ago and I've done five prints. I'm working on another one now. My dad got me started and my favorite subject is animals, but mainly monkeys."
Meagan enjoys printmaking and the time that proud dad spends with her. Besides woodblocks her other hobbies are dancing, reading, drawing and other twelve year old activites...like shopping and talking on the phone!
"Meagan is 12 now. She started lino block printing about 18 months ago. She does all her own designs, draws them out herself and carves herself.
I sometimes help with explanations and tips, rarely do I carve for her. I do help in the printing, she's a little too small and tiny at 60 pounds to print by hand with a baren."
Carol Lyons who contributed the group picture here shares with us on meeting the Dew's back in May.
"It was on Mothers' Day that Dan and Meagan came to meet us as my husband and
I were passing through Tampa, Florida. Meagan is a sweet and charming girl who was enthusiastically taking in all our shop talk about experiences in woodblocks. ( Dan sweet , too!) The time passed so quickly..."
Additional prints by Meagan Dew can be found at: http://www.dandew.com/gallery2.htm
Everyone who has spent time browsing thru the Baren Encyclopedia owes an immense debt of gratitude to David Bull's daughters. Both Himi and Fumi Bull have spent countless hours scanning and editing the many pages that form the backbone of Baren...our Encyclopedia and the exhaustive book collection on printmaking. Since early on the girls have provided assistance to their dad. Tasks range from the scanning of the books and photographing art work, to helping with the setup at the annual exhibits, to helping David with the business end of things. For those of us familiar with hanga techniques the fabulous hand-made hakobi brushes that the girls make in their spare time have been a way to stay in touch with the more traditional tools.
It is only logical that growing up in such environment that the girls would show interest in printmaking. Sixteen year old Fumi seems is following along on her dad's footsteps and she shares with us some thoughts on her latest print:
Fumi: "Woodblock print making has been a little activity that I had been
consistently doing every summer when I come to visit my father in Japan.
I have made four prints so far this way, but there has been a big
difference to this year's print from the others."
"This year, I designed something that has a meaning to me; I sketched my pair of brand new skates. I had to wait way over two months for them to come from the store and I was overjoyed when I finally skated in them. So, when I started thinking about printmaking again this summer, there seemed to be no better idea than to make a woodblock print of my "treasure". As far as the technique goes, there seems to be a big improvement from the previous three prints. The print itself is much bigger and there is more intricate detailed carving, such as the lines in the laces."
"The printing also has been a quite different experience than before. I
explored new kinds of printing techniques. The blades
have silver printed on them, and the boots
also have a kind of embossing called
kimedashi. The background as you can see has a bokashi gradation.
All these techniques are easy for me to learn since all the right tools
are in the house, and biggest of course is the advice I can get from my
father. I say advice and not help because I actually made the print
myself; my father did not touch a thing. And that might make not only my
skates a "Treasure" but the print itself also."
Fumi's print "Treasure" has also sold several copies and her sense for fine detail and technique promises to be the start of a promising career.
Do YOU have a budding printmaker in your household ?
As the title suggests, the book is divided into two parts: Traditional Basics and Modern Prints.
The first half does an excellent job covering the overall process. A lot of effort was put into the description of tools, usage and studio set-up. Many effective visuals were included such as baren tying (left page), chisels marks and tool handling.
The second half delves into putting these skills to use emphasising modern techniques. Once again, excellent diagrams show various layout and printing possiblities (right page). An almost exhastive list of printing surfaces include anything from string to aluminum foil to melon rinds. The last chapter lists 10 modern prints from Yoshida, Azechi, Saito, etc. and gives a brief description of each artist's approach.
I encourage anyone who is interested in asking me more questions or comments on the bench, please message me, or we can discuss it on Barenforum.
Editors Note* : This book is sometimes found on ebay and other auction sites. While normally selling in the $300 range, I have
seen winning bids on ebay well under $200.
© 2001 www.barenforum.org
Last issue we discussed early Japanese prints produced during the late 1600's and early 1700's. These prints commonly termed "Primitives" consisted of three main types: ink-monochrome, ink-monochrome with hand-painted color and ink-monochrome with block-produced color from a very limited palette. It was during this period that japanese printmaking technique was gradually evolving to later produce the masterful color works commonly grouped under the term "Ukiyo-e".
Hishikawa Moronobu (1618-1694) is often given credit for being the first artist of this period to utilize prints for aesthetic expression. The term "Ukiyo-e-shi" was also first observed in reference to one of Moronobu's publications. While most of his works are in book form, he among others introduced printmaking to the common people and originated important aspects of the style and subject later found in the Ukiyo-e genre. Among these are the rendering of strong bold outlines, careful attention to details in hairstyle and costume, lack of shading to indicate volume and space and empty backgrounds. Many of these characteristics persisted even after the introduction and advancements in color printing.
From around 1700 on publishers and artists discovered that there was an audience for creating single-sheet woodblock prints that would sell either in series or alone and without any accompanying text. Up to this period illustrations were used primarily in book form. Many book publishers now also became single print publishers.
Artists of this time such as Okumura Masanobu (1686-1764) and Torii Kiyonobu (1664-1729) began to experiment with new styles, print sizes (large format "Kakemono-e, vertical scrolls) and hand-painted color application. The artists from the Kaigetsudo school of painting (Kaigetsudo Ando, 1671-1743) designed some full-length images of beauties that were transfered to prints. The use of an hand-painted application of orange-red lead and a mineral green color in these prints led to their name "tane-e" prints. By the 1730's printmakers were using a very dark and glossy black to highlight the hair and details of their subjects. The gloss was created by adding "nikawa" glue (animal glue) to the black sumi pigment. Because of the resemblance to lacquer, these type of prints were named "urushi-e" (or lacquer-prints). By the 1740's and 1750's a new red color was introduced obtained from the safflowers (or beni) and thus named "beni-e" prints. Up to this time print coloring was limited to rose-red, green and perhaps one more additional color. Most of these early colorants used were light-sensitive and extremely fugitive.
The increased ability for carvers and printers to produce works in multiple colors can perhaps be attributed to improvements in registration methods. The major difficulty found in using multiple colors in this style of printmaking revolves around the creation of individual woodblocks for each color used and the complexity of registring such work for large editions. While no one can really pin point to the exact invention of the "kento" as a registration technique, it is believed that improvements in this area during the 1730's & 1740's allowed for the success of multi-colored prints. Painting-in color areas by hand was at best a slow process that raised costs and produced varied results. Another technique that was put in use during the 1760's was the superimposing of one transparent color over another to obtain yet a third color. This allowed a larger output of colors while limiting the number of woodblocks carved. These discoveries, together with skill refinements in cutting fine and intricate designs, led to a marked development in color printmaking.
Goverment regulation of many aspects of popular culture during this time, including commercial publications, led to an atmosphere bursting with creative and commercial possibilities. The first appearance of full-fledged color prints is recorded around the year 1765 as used in the calendars ("egoyomi") designed by Susuki Harunobu (1722-1770). Originally an unknown painter, it was his print designs and innovations that earned him lasting fame. It is Harunobu who is given credit for expanding the palette of colors and using a new square print design called "shikishi". The exchanging of his fancy calendar prints became a social fashion among members of many groups in Edo (modern day Tokyo). Partly due to a commercial-ban on the publication of calendars by the Yoshimune regime; poetry groups and other social clubs of the time spared no expense to commission elaborate and possibly limited-edition work for their private use. These works and a more extravagant type of print called "Surimono" demanded the use of the very best materials and advanced techniques available at the time. It is in these type of fancy prints of the Meiwa era that we often see included the names of the carver and the printer along side that of the designer. This recognition did not last long and it was not to be for a hundred years or so before they would again be given proper credit.
Commercially produced color prints, called "nishikie" or brocade prints (in resemblance to colorful silk brocade), evolved from these in order to supply the population with an affordable alternative. In a way, these prints served the same purpose as modern calendar-girl pinups and rockstar posters. From the very start they served to introduce the masses to the popular fabric and hairstyles of the day as well as to publicize political and theatrical celebrities. It is from these subject types that the "ukiyo-e" phenomena developed and fluorished: Kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, beautiful women (courtesans and young beauties) and erotica.
- "Color Woodblock Printmaking, The Traditional Method of Ukiyo-e, by Margaret M. Kanada,1989
- "The Making of Japanese Prints and The History of Ukiyo-e", Chie Hirano, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1939.
Next time: "Surimono"
ORGANIZATIONS FOR PRINTMAKERS:
CROSSING BOUNDARIES PRINT SYMPOSIUM to be held in Portland, Oregon, October 10 - 13th, 2001, on the Portland State University campus. Portland galleries, schools, arts organizations & the Portland Art Musuem & Gilkey Print Center will feature prints of all kinds, traditional and contemporary. Registration and calendar are available at http://www.art.pdx.edu/printsymposium/
OPPORTUNITY FOR PRINTMAKER. There is an opportunity for a printmaker to give a couple of lectures/demonstrations this fall to a group of eager advanced college students in Kirksville, Missouri. Expenses are paid, associated is an exhibit in one of the college's galleries and modest honorarium. For all the details, please contact directly, Crystal Wing at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her you are responding to an announcement by Maria Arango.
WANTED: unloved or seldom used carving tools. Contact email@example.com
The Wood Engraver's Network (WEN).EXHIBITIONS AND CALLS FOR ENTRIES:
Since 1994 WEN is an organization dedicated to the education and enjoyment of relief printmaking and, in particular, engraving upon end-grain wood.
WEN offers the delicate and engaging Block & Burin, a quarterly newsletter (soon to be semiannual) filled with wood engraving history and wisdom. Members design the cover and it is always a beautiful surprise. Members also exchange prints, called Bundles, on a quarterly basis.
Membership information can be found at WEN's new and improved web site:
The forum for wood engraving is here:
The Florida Printmakers Society and Artists Unlimited present our very first, International, “theme” juried exhibition! Every year we will present to the printmaking world an opportunity to create a print or series of prints based on a “theme”. This years theme is: Endangered Species. The competition is open to all the printmakers of the world who have created a work (see eligibility) in the past three years along the parameters of this “theme”. Whether it be animal, vegetable, real or imagined, let your imagination and ink flow.
Works considered for acceptance will be executed in the following media, or combinations thereof: Intaglio, Relief, Screen Prints, Hand-pulled Lithographs, Collographs, Monoprints. Reproductions of work created in another media will not be accepted.
July 10, 2001 - Exhibition/Competition Seventh Annual International Exhibition of Women's Art. Award Winner of Best in Show receives a Solo Exhibition concurrent with selectd group show winners. All media. Open to the International Community of women artists 21+. $25/3 slides, $5 each additional. Juror Larissa Harris, Assistant Curator, P.S. 1 Center for Contemporary Art, an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art. Show September 2001. SASE to: SOHO20 Gallery, 545 Broadway, New York NY 10012 OR http://www.soho20gallery.com
Jul 23, 2001 - HOLY ART COMPETITION Sep 20-Oct 28, 2001 . Open to all artists, all media. "Holy Art by Human Hands." Juried. Send 4 slides, statement, resume and SASE to: Bush Barn Art Center, 600 Mission SE, Salem OR 97302 OR http://www.salem.org
July 25, 2001 -National Juried Exhibition: "Dreamscape/Landscapes", Slides due: July 25, 2001 Send for SASE: Makeready Press Gallery, 216 Glenridge Ave., Montclair , NJ 07042 Contact person: Maureen O'Brien, Director:Makeready Press & Gallery 214, Ph: 973-744-1940, Fax:973-744-2202
July 27, 2001 - New York State Printmakers Exhibition, Impact Artists' Gallery - NY Deadline: July 27, 2001. Impact Artists' Gallery is having an open statewide printmaker's show for the month of August work may be submitted at $10 each or $25 for three. Artwork must be pre registered and at the gallery by 7/27. For more information contact, Impact Artists' Gallery, Suite 545 Tri-Main Building, 2495 Main St., Buffalo, N.Y., 14124; visit: http://www.buffalo.com/impact; e-mail: Impact@buffalo.com
July 31, 2001 - 20th Annual National Exhibition. Juried competition with Cash Prizes and Grumbacher Award. All media considered. Must be 18+ and living in the USA. Enter up to 2 works. Non-refundable $25 entry fee. Size Restrictions. Show Dates 10/7-11/9. Send SASE for prospectus to: Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, 124 E Leasure Av, New Castle PA 16101 OR Call 724/652-2882 Tues - Sat 9-5 for info.
July 31 2001 - "THE INTERNATIONAL GOD SHOW", Aug 31 - Sep 30, 2001. Call For Artists. Open to all two and three dimensional artists. Awards for first, second and third place winners. Awards include solo exhibits. Three categories 1) religious (spiritual), 2) personal, 3) other. (Two dimensional and three dimensional) paintings not to exceed 5'X5'. Sculptures not to exceed 5'X6' and 150 lbs. Artist is responsible for all shipping and insurance. Exposure at two California galleries Main Street Gallery, Linden, California. Aug 30 - Sept 22, Art Connections, Davis, Californi, Sep 22 - Sep 30, 2001. Winning entrants will be displayed on the Internet. This exhibit promises to be a media event!!!! Juried by three leaders in the arts community. $25/3 slides, $5 each additional. Postmark deadline July 31, 2001. To enter, send slides and fee with SASE to: The International God Show, Box 821, Linden CA 95336. For more info send an SASE to Box 921, Linden CA 95236
July 31, 2001 - 4th National Print Competition & Exhibition. $20 entry fee for 3 slides, $10 for each additional. Open to US artists. Prints must be original and completed in the last two years. Slide entries will be accepted till October 15, 2001. Complete details and entry form available from: Turner Gallery & Collection, CSU Chico, 400 W 1st St, Chico CA 95929-0820 OR 530-898-4476 OR http://www.csuchico.edu/art/galleries/turnergallery.html OR contact firstname.lastname@example.org
August 1, 2001 - 7TH ANNUAL GULF COAST NATIONAL JURIED ART COMPETITION,
10/1 - 10/31, 2001 . Open to all US artists 18+. All work must be original and ready for hanging with wire (no sawtooth hangers) and must not exceed 48"x48" framed size. Works on paper must be protected with 1/6" or thicker plexiglass-no glass please. No sculpture, photography, crafts or functional art will be accepted. Juror Meredith "Butch" jack. $1,050 in prizes. Jury fee $30/1-3 entries. For a prospectus send an SASE to: Texas Artists Museum, 3501 Cultural Center Dr, Port Arthur TX 77642 OR 409-983-4881
August 1, 2001 -The Great River Arts Institute: "The American River". Hosting a national juried competition entitled " The American River" and encouraging the submission of both representation and abstract work in three general media: oil painting, works on paper, and photography. For application form and details go to http://www.greatriverarts.org/ or call Great River Arts at 603 756-3638. Slides due: August 1, 2001
August 3, 2001 - Call-for-Artwork Juried Art Exhibition/Silent Auction for Ivy Tech State College Culinary Arts Banquet Saturday, October 20, 2001 show at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It's a great opportunity to exhibit and sell your 2D/3D artwork. No fee for exhibiting. Artists are requested to donate one original piece of artwork to the auction in order to be part of the exhibit. Artists who are not able to be part of the exhibit are also encouraged to donate artwork to the silent auction. In exchange for the donated piece of art, you wil receive one exhibit booth to display your art throughout the event, a couminard meal, and an exposure to a great market of people who appreciate and desire fine art. For more details and an entry form contact: Angela West, Ivy Tech State College, 3800 N Anthony Blvd, Fort Wayne IN 46805 OR 219-480-4144 OR email@example.com
August 31, 2001 - Feed the Body, Feed the Soul - 8th annual international Art Competition . First Place-$1500/$3000 total prizes. For an entry form send an SASE to: Bart Drake, Fitton Center/FBFS, 101 S Monument Av, Hamilton OH 45011 OR 513-863-8873 OR BDatFitton@aol.com
September 4, 2001 -National Juried Exhibition: "Day or Night", Slides due: September 4, 2001. Send for SASE: Makeready Press Gallery, 216 Glenridge Ave., Montclair , NJ 07042 Contact person: Maureen O'Brien, Director:Makeready Press & Gallery 214, Ph: 973-744-1940, Fax:973-744-2202
September 10, 2001 - OPEN ART EXHIBITION AT THE SWEDISH AMERICAN MUSEUM IN CHICAGO. NO JURY. NO FEE. GREAT PUBLICITY. Donate your artwork to benefit Sarah's Circle--a drop-in center, safe refuge and fresh start for women who are homeless, transient and of low income. This year's exhibition theme--BEING CONNECTED--seeks artwork that explores or exemplifies the connections we forge with people, places and things. We encourage wide ranging interpretations of this theme (connections to ourselves, to nature, to society, to technology, etc.) whether figurative, literal, abstract, symbolic, auto-biographical or humorous. All media (except those requiring special equipment) any size up to 60'' x 60'' will be accepted. Participating Artists receive free admission (GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR NETWORKING), a catalog of all artists, as well as a tax deductible donation form. For further info CONTACT: ANNA MOORE AT firstname.lastname@example.org
October 15, 2001 - La Petite IX, Small Format Competition 2 & 3 D . $2200.00 awards, open USA, slides $10 ea - 3/$25, Due 10/15/01. For a prospectus send an SASE to: Alder Gallery, Box 8517, Coburg OR 97408 OR 541-342-6411 OR
October 30, 2001 -Twelfth Annual International Competition for awards to be held February 7 - 24, 2001, at Limner Gallery, 870 Avenue of the Americas, New York City. $9,500 in awards. Deadline October 30. For a prospectus email Limner Gallery at email@example.com, print form from the Internet at: http://users.aol.com/slowart/emerge.htm, or send an SASE to: SlowArt Productions, 870 Sixth Ave, New York NY 10001
January 31, 2002 - International Juried Exhibitions at Period Gallery. "Contemporary III" and "Landscape 2001", Mar 6-27, slides due Feb 15; "Photographic Processes III", Apr 3-24, slides due Mar 15; "2-3-4-dimensional II", May 8-29, slides due Apr 15; "Mixed Media III", June 5-26, slides due May 15; "Realism III", July 3-24, slides due June 15; "Abstraction IV", Aug 7-28, slides due July15; "Drawing II" and "Septemberfest IV" (all media), Sept 4-25, slides due Aug 15; "Miniature IV" and "Faces II", Oct 2-23, slides due Sept 15; "WaterMedia II" and "Winterfest IV"(all media), Nov 6-27, slides due Oct 15; "Spiritual Art IV", (Judeo-Christian Theme), Dec 4-26, slides due Nov. 15; "Faces III" and "Painting II", Jan 3-24, slides due Dec 15. $30/3 slides, $5 ea. add'l. $3000 for upcoming shows. AWARDS SOLO EXHIBITION, 3 Cash Awards of Excellence, Purchase Awards, Special Recognitions, Internet Exhibition. SASE to: Period Gallery, 5174 Leavenworth, Omaha NE 68106; 402-556-3218; email firstname.lastname@example.org (include postal address in your email), download entry form at www.periodgallery.com/exhibitions/
NOTE: Date given is deadline for entries. Be sure to request the prospectus. Editor highly recommends subscribing to Art Calendar, Art Deadlines, and a host of other organizations if you find these useful and will be entering competitions.
If anyone at Baren would like to take over compiling entry data for this department, please contact the editor. It usually involves just gathering data on the upcoming printmaking competitions and other "promising works on paper" calls for entries. Sources this issue: Art Calendar, Art Deadlines, Access Art Deadline, direct e-mails and mailings to editor
The search for good tools and materials is a never-ending activity for the woodblock printmaker. Unlike days of old, when the technology had wide commercial applications and supplies were thus readily available, in the modern world woodblock printmaking has ... how shall we put this ... a rather limited appeal.
In consequence, supplies - good supplies - are difficult to come by in many parts of the world. But there is one place where woodblock printmaking is still practiced widely, and that is Japan. Hobby-level supplies are available locally in any town, in stationery shops and do-it-yourself centers, and professional tools are still made for those who need them.
But Japanese suppliers are focused on their domestic market and have no ability or experience in dealing overseas. The foreign customer too, finds it very difficult to obtain knowledge about the products that are available in Japan, and how to get them.
This is where the printmakers of the [Baren] group are stepping forward - to put these two 'worlds' together.
The [Baren] Mall is a buying service - it has no physical store, there is no inventory, and there are no employees. Orders placed on this website are transmitted to the mall manager (a [Baren] member), who also processes the payment. The manager forwards the order to the appropriate suppliers in Japan, where the goods are immediately packaged and shipped directly to the customer (by Air Post). [Baren] settles the account with the Japanese suppliers later - receiving a small commission in return for acting as 'go-between'.
The dealers are happy to have their products exposed to a global market - the consumers are happy to be able to have easy access to the supplies - and the [Baren] group gets a small boost to its treasury, to help this non-profit group fund some of the exhibitions and activities it undertakes around the world.