Enjoy the chill (and maybe even snow) of winter through the artistry of some of Japan’s finest printmakers

By Randi Bjornstad

If you’re having a hard time getting in the mood for winter — especially the prospect of an occasionally snowy day — stop by the White Lotus Gallery in downtown Eugene and see if it doesn’t help.

The gallery, which concentrates on Asian art plus works by Northwest artists, just opened a new show that highlights both, drawing pieces for the exhibit from its own collection.

A small woodblock print by artist Koitsu Tsuchiya gracefully portrays the Kiyomiuzu temple in wintr
A small woodblock print by artist Koitsu Tsuchiya gracefully portrays the Kiyomizu temple in winter

To enhance a Christmas-y mood, the show includes a small woodblock print — roughly 4×6 inches — by master printmaker Koitsu Tsuchiya, who lived from 1870 to 1949 and created a serene picture called “Kiyomizu-dera” about 1930.

The print shows the temple’s classic Japanese architecture — delicate red framing with many windows and gracefully sloping rooflines — during a gentle snowfall that already has coated the green shrubbery and given its horizontal surfaces a pillowy feel.

A much larger piece, “After Snowfall No. 2” made by Tanaka

"After Snowfall No. 2" by Tanaka Ryohei evokes the weighty beauty of the winter
“After Snowfall No. 2” by Tanaka Ryohei evokes the weighty beauty of the winter

Ryohei in 1987, has a more solidly wintry feeling reminiscent of the solstice, gray and heavy and silent as December’s longest night of the year prepares to give way, a few minutes at a time, to increasing daylight.

“Winter in the Country, a Japanese woodblock from the 1920s, carries a simpler message, showing people in a snowy village carrying on their daily activities against a backdrop of gray sky and trees.

nakashimakagaiThe Asian aspect of the show departs from the winter theme with the inclusion of a long, hanging scroll that dates to about 1924, Nakashima Kagai’s “Teahouse in the Mountains.”

The calligraphy that adorns the upper left-hand corner of the scroll translated into English reads, “I have not visited Mr. Myo for five years, taking water from the waterfall to make tea and listening to the sound of the mountain, forgetting all things. It is quiet, the sound of the pine tree waking me up.”

"Autumn Kimono" is a small, bookplate-sized print by contemporary master printmaker Katsunori Hamanishi
“Autumn Kimono” is a small, bookplate-sized print by contemporary master printmaker Katsunori Hamanishi

In a similarly fairer-weather departure, it also features a brightly colored “bookplate print” of a vividly colored kimono.

The artist, Katsunori Hamanishi, is a contemporary master of the mezzotint process, which involves creating tiny pits — either dots or lines — in the plate used to create the print. The pitted areas hold ink that gives the finished print a much richer appearance of texture.

 

Highlights from the White Lotus Collection

When: Through Jan. 7

Where: White Lotus Gallery, 767 Willamette St., Eugene

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Information: 541-345-3276 or online at wlotus.com

Randi Bjornstad

Has more than 30 years' journalism experience after a previous stint as a land-use planner. Got first rejection slip at age 11, but the editor wrote an encouraging note. Lives in Eugene, Ore., with husband-and-photographer Paul Carter, adorable dog Tallulah and quirky cats Pearl, Audrey, Garbo, Harry and Ozma.

randi has 126 posts and counting.See all posts by randi

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