Born in Manchuria, and educated at Bunka Gakuin College, Iwami now lives in Kanagawa Prefecture near the sea which is the subject of most of her prints. Her commitment to prints developed after she discovered the work of the great 'sosaku hanga' artist Onchi Koshiro (1891-1955), and studied under his student Sekino Jun'ichiro (b. 1914).
Iwami avoids the use of colour and the majority of her prints are produced in shades of black, grey and white, with goldleaf accents, and embossing. All her prints incorporate the use of natural driftwood, an effect which, allied with her use of goldleaf and embossing, emphasises the texture of the print. She combines her varied elements into refined compositions that echo her joy at living by the sea between heaven and earth, and express in their fluidity her belief that music and water are one.
While the driftwood pattern in this print is a novel device suggestive of ocean currents, the style of the waves is very traditional, reminiscent of ancient designs on folding screens, textiles and lacquer. The butterfly motif is also an ancient one in both China and Japan. Its use as a symbol of summer and emblem of joy can be traced back to the writings of the famous Daoist philosopher Chuangzi (329?-286?BC), and has been a continually popular decorative motif in Chinese and Japanese art ever since. Iwami's belief that contemporary Japan is a continuation of its history is perfectly exemplified in the synthesis found in her own refined and decorative work.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 36, 53.
Jôgen to umi C
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
woodcut and embossing
78.0 x 53.0 cm image; 88.0 x 60.0 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pencil "Reika Iwami '91".
Gift of the artist 1993
Not on display
© IWAMI Reika
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
The Urban Bonsai:
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992
- National Art Gallery, Wellington, Wellington 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992
- Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992
- Manawatu Art Gallery, New Zealand 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993
- The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993
- Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Emu Plains 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994
- Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994
- Moree Plains Gallery, Moree 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994
- Tweed River Regional Art Gallery 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995
Referenced in 1 publication
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 36, 46 (colour illus.), 53. cat.no. 22