Wind, Wood and Spirit:
A Selection of Woodblock Prints by Toshi Yoshida, Joichi Hoshi and Tadashi Nakayama
Chicago—Floating World Gallery will present its newest exhibition, Wind, Wood and Spirit: A Selection of Woodblock Prints by Toshi Yoshida, Joichi Hoshi and Tadashi Nakayama on Friday January 15, 2010 at 6 pm at 1925 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL. The exhibition features over 30 woodblock prints by these three important contemporary Japanese artists. The selection showcases subjects for which these artists are best known: wild animals, trees and horses. Included in the show is the largest woodblock print ever produced, Yoshida’s “Flying Up” 1981, measuring a towering 60 x 83 inches.
Japanese contemporary prints are renowned for their artistic vision, bold design, and reverence for the natural world. The woodblock prints of Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995), Joichi Hoshi (1913-1979) and Tadashi Nakayama (b.1927) are icons of the genre. With innovative production techniques, daring compositions and a spirit that is unmistakably Japanese, these artists’ works forge a visual language that provides a compelling journey into a realm where realism and fantasy converge.
Possessing a restless muse, Yoshida traveled the globe in search of exotic subjects. His travels led him to Africa, Australia, India, Latin America and the United States. Yoshida’s woodblock prints are saturated with the ink of his travel experience. His life-size depictions of animals transport the viewer into territory previously uncharted by any artist of the genre.
Known for his starlit skies and intricate arboreal designs, Hoshi creates a landscape that is entirely his own. He described his working method as an investigation into nature. The natural phenomena he observed were transformed into a moment of awakening, granting the viewer access to landscapes that are both fantastic and yet recognizable - his tree designs stand as totems to this magical reality.
Nakayama, like Yoshida and Hoshi, was captivated by nature, and fused that interest with his fascination in the work of Western artists such as Paolo Uccello and Pierre Bonnard. He inherited from Uccello an interest in horses as well as a bold palate and a sense of pageantry. Bonnard further impressed upon Nakayama the use of bold graphic compositions flavored with Persian and Byzantine undertones. Nakayama’s designs charge boldly with an assertive nature that makes no compromises. They demand the viewer to cast away preconceived notions of what is possible in woodblock prints. Nakayama’s work pulses with vigor and spirit. His horses gallop off the paper and are irrevocably impressed upon our imagination.