Eva Pietzcker (Session Chair)
Private Address: Strelitzerstr. 18, 10115 Berlin
Studio Address: Druckstelle, Werkstatt für kuenstlerische Drucktechniken
Manteuffelstr. 103, 10997 Berlin
See images for this session at: www.aprilvollmer.com/impact
Panel Session: "History and Influences of the Japanese Print"
Rebecca Salter, Independent Artist, London, United Kingdom
"Japanese Woodblock Printing and the Art of Travel in Edo Period Japan"
Eva Pietzcker, Independent Artist, Berlin, Germany (Session Chair)
April Volmer, Independent Artist, New York, New York, USA
Daniel Heyman, Independent Artist, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Dariusz Kaca, Academy of Fine Art, Lodz, Poland
Merijean Morrissey, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Michael Reed, Independent Artist, New Zealand
Nel Pak, Independent Artists, Utrecht, Netherlands
"The Potential of Japanese Woodblock for Contemporary Printmaking”
This panel and the following portfolio presentation introduce the traditional technique of Japanese woodblock printmaking – an important chapter in the history of printmaking – and the remarkable possibilities it offers contemporary artists. This panel and the following portfolio presentation introduce the traditional technique of Japanese woodblock printmaking – an important chapter in the history of printmaking – and the remarkable possibilities it offers contemporary artists. The paper by Rebecca Salter will offer an historical background for Japanese woodblock while the participating artists will discuss the use of these techniques in their work.
The Japanese technique of woodblock printmaking was at its prime during the Edo period (1603 - 1868), when Japan was closed to the outer world and its cultural life was particularly rich: the colorful middle-class articulated itself via the prints of the “ukiyo-e”, the “images of the floating world”. At that time, prints were a collaborative work – ordered by a publisher, designed by an artist, then cut and printed by highly skilled craftsmen. After the opening-up of Japan, Japanese prints were exported to the Western hemisphere, where they greatly influenced Western art.
Far less appreciated is the fact that this technique has much to offer present-day printmakers. With its excellent cutting technique, the use of water-based inks and of a special tool – the barren – for hand printing, it allows for a wide range of cutting and printing effects. Only natural, non-toxic materials are used, and very little space is required.
The Nagasawa Art Park is a unique Japanese artist-in-residence program. Every year, seven international artists are taught here by master carvers and printers. After a short introduction to the project and the technique, eight of the artists who have participated in the past will talk about their experiences with this technique, its special qualities and the impact on their current art work, illustrated by images of the works.
For this session panelists will discuss their experiences in the Nagasawa Art Park Program. In conjunction with this session, and afternoon portfolio session will allow conference delegates to see prints created by the panelists while they were in Japan and following their return home.
EVA PIETZCKER is an independent artist living in Berlin. She studied fine arts at the Academy of Art in Nuremberg. In 2001 she established the printmaking studio “druckstelle” with her partner Miriam Zegrer for the purpose of research into and teaching courses on printmaking techniques, with the aim of not using toxic materials as much as possible. Since then she has been teaching printmaking in her studio and at several art academies in Germany. In 2003, she traveled to China to research traditional Chinese woodblocks, and, in the same year, participated in the Nagasawa Art Park Program in Japan, where she studied Japanese woodblock printmaking. In 2004, she trained in Japanese papermaking as artist-in-residence of Tsuna-town, Japan. For more, see her web sites at: www.pietzcker.de and www.druckstelle.info.
JENS BOHR is an artist from Mesinge, Denmark (additional biographical information to be posted soon)
DANIEL HEYMAN grew up outside New York City. He earned degrees from Dartmouth College (AB, 1985) and the University of Pennsylvania (MFA 1991). A college professor since 1997, he currently teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design, and Tyler School of Art. His works have been exhibited at The Portland Museum of Art; Butler Museum of American Art; 55 Mercer and Mary Ryan Galleries, and Marymount Manhattan College in New York; Mangel Gallery, Dolan Maxwell Gallery, Fleisher Art Memorial and the Philadelphia Art Alliance in Philadelphia. He has also had solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, and Canberra and Sydney, Australia. In 2002 Mr. Heyman studied Japanese woodblock printmaking at the Nagasawa Art Park in Awajishima, Japan. In 2004 Heyman organized an exchange between the Philadelphia region and the Nagasawa program through the Philadelphia Print collaborative. He was awarded a Pennsylvania Special Opportunity Grant (2005), a RISD Professional Development Grant (2005), a Millay Colony -- Forest Fellowship (1994), and a Reynolds International Fellowship from Dartmouth College (1986-7). His works are in many public and private collections, including the Arkansas Art Center, the Portland Museum of Art, the Hood Museum of Art, and the Dartmouth College Library. Heyman’s work has been noted widely, with articles appearing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Times, Philadelphia Weekly, Capital Q, Roberta Fallon’s Artblog, City Paper, The Hartford Current, The Berkshire Eagle, and Art Matters. He has written articles for Water Color Magazine, American Ceramics, and Ceramics Monthly. Mr. Heyman was chosen as a Philadelphia Portfolio Artist for 2005, is on the Board of the Philadelphia Print Collaborative, and has served on the boards of the Queer Caucus for Art at the College Art Association and the Alumni Board of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design.
DARIUSZ KACA was born in Kutno in 1960. He is presently working as a lecturer (Dr. Hab) in the Studio of Woodcut Techniques at the Department of Graphics and Painting at Strzeminski’s Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz. He studied at the High School of Fine Arts in Lodz in 1983-1989 and received his diploma in the Studio of Editorial Graphics headed by Professor S. Labecki and in the Studio of Woodcut Techniques headed by Professor A.M.Bartczak. He pursues artistic and design graphics, artistic book and painting. In artistic graphics he is well known for his mono and multi-plate color prints. Kaca’s works are concerned with responsibility of form or the visual shape of the wide range of contents; although perhaps it is a paradox, that this creation is open in its contents and various interpretations, and closed in form, as it is logical and calculated in details. The themes for his works come from wide areas of religion, mythology, astronomy, cosmography and cosmology. He had 15 individual shows and has taken part in more than 100 collective exhibitions in Poland and abroad. He has been awarded a few international distinctions and prizes in graphics and artistic books competitions and has his works in various private and publics collections including in Poland, Japan, Germany, Egypt, Belgium, Romania, Indonesia, Hungary and USA.
MERIJEAN MORRISSEY completed her studies in painting and printmaking at the University of Illinois, also spending a year at Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, Paris, and post-graduate work as a Max Beckmann Fellow at the Brooklyn Museum in NYC and at the U. of Ill, Champaign/Urbana, USA. In 1971, she immigrated to Canada to teach painting and printmaking at the University of Ottawa. She is currently a full professor at Brock University where she teaches the Honours Studio as well as advanced painting and drawing. Morrissey’s own practice focuses on the use of poetic devices; parody and metaphor in particular are used to enhance meaning. She is interested in memory and the history of Western art as a representation and as a signifier of its imperialist past and present. She is a master printmaker, but painting and installation work play a major role in her work. Her practice is sensitive to feminist representation as well as the consistent use of pattern as a motif and compositional strategy. Currently she is at work on a large project entitled, “The Navigator.” Morrissey is represented in over 50 public and corporate collections. She has also been the recipient of numerous grants and commissions. Morrissey was one of six international artists attending the 2003 Nagasawa Art Park Residency in Japan.
NEL PAK works with drawing, graphic art and what she refers to as “the Archive.” Of those three, drawing has been her primary focus, since in 1996 she began working in brush and ink on paper. She uses brushes of several thicknesses to draw lines in pure black ink, or mixing water and ink to a palette of grays. Formats of her drawings are monumental or as small as A6. The subject of Pak’s drawings are people, drawn as portraits or total length. Mostly some figures are linked to daily life objects. A recent drawing (2.00 x 9.60 meters) is “Necessary Objects”, which Pak started December 2003 during a stay in New York; it shows people confused by a muddle of objects. As a counterbalance to heavy crowded works there are drawings of figures who are watching a single object carefully, immersed in thoughts. Since her travel to Japan, where she participated in the 2002 Nagasawa Art Park artist in residence Japanese woodblock printing, carving and printing woodblocks has become part of Pak’s artwork. As she dedicated herself earlier to lithography and etching, woodblock printing appeared to suit best her way of drawing. Combining several blocks to one print can create images of a more monumental size. “The Archive” is a way of recycling earlier drawings, prints and written matter. Built into installations, Pak plays a game with past life, in order to conserve and metamorphose the old, the sad, the earnest, to a new and joyful form and content. Pak’s work has been exhibited in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, New York, Paris, Kobe (Japan) and elsewhere. In 2004 she participated in the Central Museum of Utrecht group show “Microkosmos”, devoted to monumental drawings. Pak lives in Utrecht and works in her studio in Zeist.
MICHAEL REED is a practicing artist and teacher, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. He teaches Printmaking and Design at the School of Art & Design, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT). Reed has exhibited widely, within New Zealand and internationally. His work is included in numerous public and private collections. The Nagasawa experience was a great opportunity to extend Reed's interest in Japanese woodblock printing in the company of other like minds. As Reed has stated himself "highly skilled and supportive hands guided our Ukiyoe baby steps as we experienced the freedom to be students again. The learning curve, laughter, frustrations and stress of meeting the finished print deadlines with a creditable outcome was combined with the opportunity to live and work in small town and rural Japan, away from the tourist traps, giving an immersion, a rich snapshot of life in Japan that was not the usual foreign experience." The way in which the traditional water-based inks integrate with the body of the paper has led Reed to experiment with layers of water-based and oil-based inks, combining the woodblock with screen printing. The subtle contrast of shiny ink detail on matt ink, the tonal graduation of background color, the integration of image and text as well as the format of the scroll and the concertina book have all contributed to the development of his imagery and aesthetic.
REBECCA SALTER is an independent artist, a research fellow and in addition visiting lecturer at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts, London and the University of Brighton. Salter is also an Associate Research Fellow of TrAIN (Transnational Art, Identity and Nation) Research Centre, University of the Arts, London. She worked and studied in Japan for six years, learning Japanese woodblock from the eminent printmaker and artist, Kurosaki Akira. She exhibits regularly in the UK, USA, Japan and Germany and has work in many collections including the British Museum, Library of Congress and the Yale Center for British Art. She contributes regularly to Printmaking Today magazine and holds workshops and demonstrations of Japanese woodblock. In 2001 she published Japanese Woodblock Printing - a practical guide to the technique in the A&C Black Ltd. Printmaking Handbook Series. A second book introducing Japanese woodblock ephemera is due for publication in 2006. See her web site at: www.rebeccasalter.com.
APRIL VOLLMER is an artist who lives and works on the lower east side of Manhattan. She earned her MFA in printmaking from Hunter College, New York City. Focusing primarily on Japanese woodcut, she also works in the computer, often combining traditional and contemporary techniques. She uses images from nature like flowers, insects or fish to create repeating patterns that often take the form of mandelas. She uses the computer to work out these complex, interweaving patterns, and then transfers the patterns to blocks to cut and print using the traditional Japanese water-base technique moku hanga. After learning Japanese woodblock from and American artist, she worked and taught in the US for several years before traveling to Japan to participate in the Nagasawa Art Park program. Working with printmakers at Nagasawa, and traveling in Japan afterwards deepened her understanding of the medium and its place in Japanese culture. In her teaching she respects the tradition of hanga, while making the technique accessible to contemporary artists. She has taught workshops at Japan Society, the Lower East Side Printshop, Pyramid Atlantic, Dieu Donne Papermill and many other locations, including Druckstelle Workshop in Berlin. Her work has been published in journals including Science, Printmaking Today and Contemporary Impressions. Her prints been exhibited at AIR Gallery, the Islip Art Museum, Henry Street Settlement, and internationally. She maintains an informative and entertaining website at: www.aprilvollmer.com