(Japan 07 Jul 1913 – 08 Jan 1996)
55.0 x 45.0 cm image;68.0 x 58.0 cm 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, Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 97, 108 (colour illus.). cat.no. 68
The Urban Bonsai: