SAITO Noriko (b. 1973) - drypoint etching
Saito Noriko reminds me of a whirling dervish: every time she delivers prints to the gallery, she flings the door open, bursting in with boundless energy, an energy which also pours out of her cheerful etchings. Ask her a question, and words tumble out: she can’t wait to answer, and to ask a question or two of her own. She is indubitably a happy, cheerful, enthusiastic presence.
In June of 2019, the Harvard Art Museums invited her to Cambridge, MA to do a demonstration and I was her self-appointed handler. Although she has traveled to Southeast Asia and Serbia, this was her first trip to the United States and she found everything exciting, different, and BIG: trucks, highways, people, portions of food…I was impressed to find out, when she spent a chatty weekend in the Hamptons with me, that she could swim like an otter.
In her work, objects jump onto the sheet of paper as they come to her mind. At present, she is working on an autobiographical series called "Life" and plans to make twenty different images. All sorts of events get referenced: a large blue 7 for the month of July (in July 2011 Japan won the Women’s World Cup soccer title); suns and moons make frequent appearances in her work, in addition to trees, birds and fish and her children’s toys. There is no television in her house so she spends lots of time outdoors with her children: nature is important to her. I knew that, so the minute she landed in NY I sent her straight off to Central Park for a brisk walk to help get over jet lag.
Saito Noriko’s technique is drypoint etching. Drawing lines on a copper plate to create the images, she presses down furiously, hatching and crosshatching lines to convey a totally black object. She’s not physically a large woman but enjoys making large work, just as she enjoys totally living in the moment and making the most of each day.