Human studies (C)
The artist Hishikawa Moronobu (c.1618-1694) is popularly credited as the founder of the 'ukiyo-e' style. Important as a painter and an illustrator, it was his genius as a figure painter that created the single standing female figure portrayal ('bijin-ga') that served as a symbol of Japanese womanhood in the Edo period (1615-1867). The most famous image of this talented pioneer was a 1690s portrait of a walking girl looking over her shoulder.
Tomihari has taken this most famous Moronobu image and used it as the central motif of his composition. The image is repeated in varying degrees of clarity, conjuring up ghosts of courtesans past, while images of the modern pin-up equivalent, and the night lights of the pleasure quarters, pulse through the composition.
Tomihari re-interprets a traditional subject in terms of the sensitivity of modem society. He adheres to the traditional technique of the woodblock from respect for its directness and its long history in Japan. He was one of the early leaders in the more recent revival of woodblock, using only a varied surface of black and white to create his complex, allusive and rhythmic images. In this print various forms share the same contours; by the contours they are related to each other, and the contours could be rhythmically repeated to infinity.
He was born in Ibaraki Prefecture, educated at Ibaraki University and now lives in Saitama Prefecture.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 96.
Hito, hito kô (c)
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
76.7 x 57.0 cm image; 84.0 x 63.5 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pencil "H.Tomihari '91".
Gift of the artist 1993
Not on display
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, Murwillumbah 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995
Referenced in 1 publication
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 96, 105 (colour illus.). cat.no. 65