In 2004/5 I started to work on a series of paintings – transcriptions from woodblock prints by artists such as Utamaro, usually of bijinga or “beautiful women”. I took a snap of one such painting when I saw it again in Adelaide at a friend’s house. It is interesting to see it again and revisit the ideas behind the textured surface, variation in sheen of pigment and recurved canvas shape. These aspects are used to contradict the essence of the woodblock, with flat registered plates, even organic pigment hues and paper texture. This is a distinctly original work as a study or transcription, unable to be mistaken for a print by virtue of its form, surface and materials.
Interestingly, I recently read a wonderful thesis on the influence of Japanese prints on seminal figures in the impressionists and post impressionists. It puts these prints in prime postition as catalysts in the step change from the academic schools of art holding sway in the victorian era and later 19th century in Europe.