Impressed: Modern Japanese Prints
Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN
Through January 26, 2014
In traditional Japanese woodblock printing, a team of four artists worked to create a single piece. In this collaboration, the publisher directed the designer, the engraver, and the printer to apply their respective artisan skills for the creation of a final artwork. During the early 20th century, however, a new printmaking method arose in Japan, transforming the group project into an independent endeavor. The Sosaku hanga, “creative prints,” school of printmakers became the first solo artists in Japanese woodblock printing, designing and executing every aspect of their artworks by their own hand.
Currently on exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art is a collection of these masterpieces, including some the best known Sosaku hanga printmakers from the last century. Running through January 26, Impressed: Modern Japanese Prints explores the effects of blossoming individualism on woodblock prints. Distinguished by intricate detailing and the look of a highly texturized surface, the exhibition’s display of print works by Tajima Hiroyuki, Iwami Reika, Saito Kiyoshi, and Maki Haku shows that artists of this movement considered the woodblock print an art form, not a commercial venture.