(Japan 1913– )
55.0 x 45.0cm image;68.0 x 58.0cm sheet
Watanabe studied with Yanagi Soetsu, the founder and guiding light of the Japanese Folk Art Movement which favoured straightforward, robust designs and natural colours. He also studied under Serizawa Keisuke, a noted stencil artist in the folk art tradition, and his use of strong assured black lines recalls the work of Munakata Shiko and before him a long line of nameless Buddhist artists carving powerful iconographic figures.
To make his prints Watanabe uses rough, hand-crumpled paper, over which he then paints, hand colouring in the shapes cut out of the stencil. Although his technique is Japanese, the Christian Watanabe invariably chooses subjects from the Old and New Testament for his subjects, giving them, for a Western viewer, the immediate dramatic impact of mediaeval religious art.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 97.
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Author), Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 97, 108 (colour illus.). cat.no. 68
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.