July 07, 2014
September 14, 2014
Honolulu Museum of Art
In the aftermath of the Pacific War (1941–1945), artists involved in the creative print (sōsaku hanga) movement were faced with a fundamental question: what sort of images could they depict? Traditional themes of ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking, such as famous landscapes around the capital and portraits of beautiful women, were dismissed as anachronistic. Images with clear political or militaristic meaning were discouraged or outright banned by the government. Photography and commercial illustration were so pervasive that artists saw little point in realistically depicting the natural world.
This rotation of prints draws long overdue attention to Takayanagi Yutaka (b. 1941) and other artists who devised fresh, intriguing approaches to figurative printmaking in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In addition to the works by Takayanagi displayed in this exhibition, the alcove of the adjacent gallery of Japanese art will feature prints by Noda Tetsuya (b. 1940) and Sakurai Makoto (b. 1943), who explore equally innovative approaches to still-lifes.