Friday, November 6, 2009

Hiroshige, flowing in swirls

Another amazing piece by printmaker Hiroshige...the lines created by the concentric circles, the flow of the water and white caps...a formal exercise in creating line work that is interesting by contrasting sizes and shapes...the spaces between the white caps vary, creating interest and the scale of the white caps in the swirl...larger and in higher concentration than the rest of the picture plane...the unique shape and line work make it a point of interest.

The rectangular picture plane is broken into zones, top zone is sky with finger like shapes, the white clouds mimic the shape of the white wave tops...carrying the viewer into zone two, the rock break, jutting up into the sky at their highest point and gradually scaling down into the ocean...the final zone, whirlpool references elements of color and line in the other two zones, creating a tight and cohesive, complete piece of beauty.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hiroshige verses Van Gogh

There is an amazing collection of Japanese copies at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam...This is a good example of one of Van Gogh's copies of a Hiroshige print...Color is a little off, but I found the prints the perfect combination of the Japanese simplicity with the thick and meaty painting style of Van Gogh.

The centralized, tree image breaks the front picture plane and is not only prominent in scale, it is also dominant in value and scope. It breaks the picture plane up into unique, separate windows...showing us a visual narrative in the spaces between branches, flowers and tree trunk. A beautiful composition, flowing and organic.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hiroshige, the cold days

Capturing the essence of a winter...another beautiful and subtle print of Hiroshige...a process of articulating in pure value with only hints of color and these works, the signature stamp becomes part of the image, it must be balanced in order to have a complete image...the red at the top, in the obi of the woman carrying the bag and in the left corner, carrying the eye around.

The central blue figure, is secondary to the overall landscape...the human beings are only ornamentation to the grand qualities of the natural space...this fact is consistent in several Japanese prints...mythology and the cultural narrative are also visually articulated by specific artists.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hiroshige, another day's close

The blue lines at the top and the bottom visually pinch the work and force the viewer in the middle of the picture plane...the orange glow of the horizon line happens at the one-third mark toward the bottom...strong vertical lines run the eye up the picture plane in the form of flower stems.

Green is the glue, running through the entire picture plane, tieing it all together visually...coming up from out of the surface and growing up outside the picture plane, the flowers, stems and leaves set the picture in place...enjoying the subtle atmosphere, being present in this exact moment between day and night.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hiroshige No. 1

A beautiful print by Japanese printmaker Hiroshige...the white tops of the waves, swaying back and forth, becoming more intense and wild as they meet the foreground...contrasting the subtle and calm background...The marks of the dark blue rolling up the waves and articulating the shape of the wave...

The visual style of the print is built off of the seen, but abstracted in memory, naturalistic in approach but injected with emotion, to grab the viewer at the deepest level...the duality of the talon like wave and the tree limbs bookend the picture plane...pushing to the eye into the asymmetrical background, we want to see Mt. Fuji, but are view is impeded, unable to fully realize is majesty.