SVAC presents an exhibition of woodcuts | Community News


MANCHESTER – Southern Vermont Arts Center presents Japanese Woodblock Prints: Then and Now – two free exhibitions on Mokuhanga.

Hiroshige and the Changing Japanese Landscape, opening November 20 in Elizabeth by C. Wilson of SVAC, is a presentation of Japanese prints by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) illustrating how the political climate in 19th century Japan influenced its art and how art has influenced this climate. A vernissage will take place on November 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and the exhibition will be visible until February 27, 2022.

This exhibition presents the complete series of Hoeido Tokaido by Hiroshige who elevated him to the rank of the most esteemed woodcut masters in the country thanks to his treatment of the landscape as the main subject. Over the course of 55 images, the series takes the viewer on a journey along the Great Tokaido, a major coastal road that connected Edo (now Tokyo) to Kyoto, more than 300 miles away.

The exhibition will also highlight Hiroshige’s development as an artist, in addition to including works by some of his contemporaries and influences. The entire exhibition comes from the collection of Steven Schlussel, an SVAC member artist who has collected for more than half a century.

Additionally, SVAC invited New Hampshire artist Matt Brown to create an exhibit of authentic tools and materials to bring the basic process of Japanese printing to life from blocks of wood in multiple colors. A selection of Brown’s prints will be on display in the Wilson Hall.

In SVAC’s Yester House, a free exhibition, The World Between Block and Paper, will run from December 11 to March 27, 2022. This exhibition is organized in partnership with The Mokuhanga Sisters, a print collective, which gathered at the Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory, in the shadow of Mount Fuji, Japan, and linked by their practice of mokuhanga. Because it takes a long time to produce, the practice of mokuhanga develops the intimacy between the artist and the print, revealing the poetry and the soul of the artist at each step of the process. The artist will gauge by “feeling” the depth of the engraving, the humidity of the paper, the rice glue / pigment ratio, the pressure exerted on the baren (tool for rubbing). The artist is always attentive to the senses, especially to touch. Mokuhanga prints are produced in harmony with nature and leave no negative impact on the environment.

In this exhibition, the Mokuhanga sisters invited around twenty teachers and friends to demonstrate the versatility of this ecological medium. While it is possible to create an impression after a one-day workshop, mastering this art form takes many hours of practice. This way, anyone who practices Mokuhanga needs at least one teacher.

About Walter J. Leslie

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