(Japan 1936– )
76.7 x 57.0cm image; 84.0 x 63.5cm sheet
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.
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Author), Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 96, 105 (colour illus.). cat.no. 65
The Urban Bonsai, Queensland Art Gallery, 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992.
The Urban Bonsai, National Art Gallery, Wellington, 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992.
The Urban Bonsai, Christchurch Art Gallery, 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992.
The Urban Bonsai, Manawatu Art Gallery, 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993.
The Urban Bonsai, The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993.
The Urban Bonsai, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993.
The Urban Bonsai, Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, The Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, Campbelltown Arts Centre, 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, Moree Plains Gallery, 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, Tweed River Regional Art Gallery, 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995.