Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Saint Mary’s gallery displays work by woodblock printmakers in support of Japan

“Kamakura Omikuji” by Preston Lawing of Saint Mary’s University is one of the pieces in “Inspired by Japan,” now on display at Saint Mary’s Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries. When visiting a Shinto temple, you may receive a fortune (Omikuji). If it is bad (Kamakura), you can tie it on a rope outside the temple, and the priests will burn them at the end of the day, sending the smoke “back to heaven.” The written words are “earthquake” and “tsunami.” This print is saying, “We do not accept this disaster as our fate, and we continue to be strong.”

WINONA, Minn. — After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March of this year, artists and printmakers from around the world gathered to produce a suite of prints titled “Inspired by Japan” to raise money for relief efforts. Their work — including a print by Preston Lawing, chair of the Saint Mary’s University Department of Art and Design — is now on display at SMU’s Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries.

This exhibition — which will run through Sunday, Oct. 2 — brings together 60 printmakers in a show that will run concurrent with several other venues including South Africa, Japan, Poland, Michigan and Oregon.

For several centuries, Japan has been famous for the Ukiyo-e style of woodcut printmaking. These 60 artists, who work in the relief form of printing (carving away parts of the woodblock, and printing the raised portion), produced limited-edition prints to be donated and sold to raise funds for disaster relief in Japan.

The Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries, located in the Toner Student Center, are open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are free and open to the public.