Kanreki – an exhibition of Mokuhanga prints by members of Graphic Studio Dublin and invited artists.
Mokuhanga is a traditional printmaking technique that was made internationally known by Ukiyo-e artists – Utamaro, Hokusai and Hiroshige, for example – during the Edo period in Japan (1603 – 1863). Moku means wood in Japanese, and hanga means print. This water-based technique is similar to that of Chinese and Korean woodblock printing but master printers in Japan developed special characteristics such as the kento registration system that make Mokuhanga uniquely Japanese.
Mokuhanga is an environmentally friendly technique. It uses only natural materials: wood, watercolour, washi (Japanese handmade paper) and a baren (a handheld tool made from bamboo to print without the need of a printing press). The pigments are applied with a brush and, though being printed by hand, the image is pressed deeply into the washi paper.
The artists in this exhibition have studied traditional Mokuhanga printmaking – adapting it to their own practice using contemporary innovations. Moya Bligh (1954 – 2009), who lived in Japan, introduced Mokuhanga to Graphic Studio Dublin in 1980s. Many of the other artists in this exhibition went on to study in Japan. There is now a growing international network of artists using this technique.