YOSHIMATSU Junichiro - 吉松 順一郎 (b. 1953)
silkscreen / woodblock

The default technique mentioned when one talks about Japanese prints is woodblock and indeed myriad fascinating examples of woodblock abound in the Japanese art canon, from the 8th century Buddhist sutras to the beauties of shinhanga, alluring examples of the exotic land that foreigners discovered after Japan opened to the world. Gradually Japanese artists experimented with other printmaking techniques. Screen printing or serigraphy came into its own in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s when the sleek, slick look showcased the crisp imagery and bold colors of that era.

Yoshimatsu Junichiro employs this technique to reference a much earlier period in Japanese history. He has taken the titles of plays from the Noh theater and, sometimes uses the calligraphic text of the play as the background to offset the detail of the sumptuous brocades, meant to evoke the Noh performers’ costumes. Noh theater originated in the 14th century and is structured around song and dance. Movement is slow, language is poetic, the spoken words are chanted in a monotone, and costumes are rich and heavy. Plots are usually drawn from legend, history, literature and contemporary events. The plays’ themes often relate to dreams, the supernatural world, ghosts and spirits.

The artist uses beautiful shades of blue, not often seen in Japanese prints, that contrast beautifully with the silver and gold leaf that accent each work. Mostly abstract, occasionally an edition will feature a Noh mask or bit of brocade, evoking the traditional splendor of the past.