Tarble to showcase Japanese artist’s work

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

The Tarble Arts Center will show a collection of Japanese woodblock prints by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi for its first exhibit of the semester.

The exhibition starts Saturday in the Brainard Gallery but members of the Tarble can beging viewing it on Friday.

Woodblock printing is when text or images are carved into a slab of wood. Ink is then put on the woodblock, a piece of paper is placed on top and a print is made.

The technique of woodblock printing originated in China, but expanded throughout Asia over time.

Rehema Barber, director and chief curator of Tarble, said staff members like to present work from a major artist each year and were honored to have the opportunity to display Yoshitoshi’s work.

“The timing was right,” Barber said, upon finding out Yoshitoshi’s exhibition was available for this semester.

The exhibition will showcase works from some of Yoshitoshi’s most well-known series, including “New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts,” “One Hundred Aspects of the Moon” and “Twenty-Eight Famous Murders with Verse.”

Yoshitoshi’s artwork can be classified as Ukiyo-e, a genre of woodblock prints popular in Japan from the 17th century to the 19th century.

Barber said Yoshitoshi was one of the last great printmakers in the modern era.

In a press release from the Taubman Museum of Art, the permanent home for Yoshitoshi’s work, it said “the exhibition highlights traditional East Asian folklore” and scenes “are based on Chinese and Japanese folktales and history.”

A classical dance dramatization called Kabuki is also seen in Yoshitoshi’s work, according to the press release.

Barber said she found Yoshitoshi’s work interesting because it incorporated ghosts and warrior culture.

“Normally you see geisha prints,” Barber said.

Although those are interesting, they tend to be patriarchal, she added.

Barber said the Tarble staff hopes students come view the art and reflect.

“It is a really good show that has been seen in major cities,” Barber said. “There will be a lot to learn.”

Barber said the Tarble partnered with the department of Asian Studies to present a film and book series throughout the duration of the exhibition.

“It is really important that the Tarble reflects the cultural diversity of our campus,” Barber said.

The  presentation of Asian art will continue at the Tarble following the presentation of Yoshitoshi’s work with an exhibition by Korean artist Jiha Moon from Nov. 18 through Feb. 4.

Barber said the art center’s schedule for fall is “robust” and there is a little bit of something for everybody.

One change coming is that the faculty show will now be biannually rather than annually.

“There are lots of ways to connect Tarble to music, literature and so many things,” Barber said.


Kennedy Nolen can be reached 581-2812 or [email protected].