Toshinoichi or year-end fairs are held in many traditional Japanese towns. In this print from 1988, Ray Morimura presents a wonderful bird's-eye view of the narrow alleys full of people, and the slanting roofs on either side. Look closely and you'll even spot cats looking down at the people from the roof! A beautiful combination of the abstract to depict the traditional.
In collaboration with Hanga Ten, this is part of a series of prints celebrating the works of contemporary Japanese printmakers.
|Fabric & material||Woodcut|
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“Even though some of the cuts are minute, I can start carving at any time. Printing, though, demands total concentration as a single hair or dust can ruin a print. For this stage, I usually clean my studio thoroughly and wait to begin the printing process until after midnight when it is quiet and the dust has settled. With prints, one can never be certain of the outcome until the final print is completed. There is always the unexpected, which makes it all the more intriguing.”
Originally focused on geometric-style abstractions, Ray Morimura was later inspired by Shigeru Hatsuyama and Sumio Kawakami, and began to study woodblock techniques. His prints show mainly landscapes, which allow more structural freedom in composition. Because his purpose is not to copy the landscape, he does not make sketches. There are times when he takes photographs of buildings, but only a few special ones are incorporated into his prints.
"Sometimes it takes years to complete a print. The outcome of the final print is often quite different from the original landscape. The reason being, the memory of what I actually saw and the images of shapes and patterns that I remember are all intertwined. As with Zen and ink paintings, I hope something spiritual, in a contemporary sense, can be expressed in these landscape works.”