DEKALB, IL.- The Northern Illinois University Art Museum presents Ayomi Yoshida Installation, from January 15 - March 7, 2008. The Japanese artist will be in residency for a month beginning in late December to install a large scale site-specific installation exploring the physical aspects of the woodblock printmaking process. During the final weeks of installation, beginning January 15, the gallery will be open to the public so that visitors may view the process in progress and engage directly with Yoshida and her spouse and primary installation assistant, Bidou Yamaguchi. The public is invited to the Gala Reception on Thursday, January 24, from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. The Tsukasa Taiko Drummers will give a traditional Japanese drumming demonstration during the reception at 5:15 p.m. and again at 6:00 p.m. The Tsukasa Taiko drum ensemble will perform later that evening at 8 p.m. at Boutell Music Hall.
Contemporary Japanese artist Ayomi Yoshida is the fourth generation of the Japanese Yoshida family artist dynasty. Her temporary installation will both contrast and augment the concurrent Ukiyo-e Prints from the Richard F. Grott Family Collection and Revisiting Modern Japanese Prints: Selected Works from the Richard F. Grott Family Collection exhibitions at the NIU Art Museum. Her installations utilize the exact same tools and carving techniques of traditional wood block printmaking and carry the artistic evolution of Japanese printmaking to today. In the catalog essay in production, Chicago art critic Margaret Hawkins states, It is her detour away from the usual end product in printmaking - the print - into the salvage and display of what is left over and usually discarded that distinguishes Yoshidas work from the tradition of her ancestors.
Her artworks explore the physical aspects of the woodblock printmaking process. The process involves carving into the wood, rolling ink onto the resulting raised areas, and then pressing paper against the block thus transferring the image from the raised surface to the paper. The basic unit of Yoshidas earliest woodblock prints from 1980 was the repetition of hand-carved ovals of the same size. Each chip was created by hand with a curved chisel into the plywood. From 1996 on to the present, Yoshida creates room-sized installations with the resulting wood chips, gluing thousands of the dots of wood on the wall in a grid pattern, and often exhibiting the colored wood panels with bare recesses from the carving. Hawkins explains, The process is methodical, laborious, and the work becomes not only an environment in which a viewer may contemplate the uniqueness of individual pieces which make up an organized whole but also an accumulated record of countless individual repetitive movements. Her artworks are minimal in design and monumental in scale.
The color she uses in her installations makes several significant references. She wrote in a previous artist statement, Red is the color that is traditionally found in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. But I also feel it is the color that conveys something about the art and lives of the Yoshida family. I began doing installations in 1996, the year after my father died. For that work, I used red chips as a reference to my father [Hodaka Yoshida]s Red Wall series and in that way paid homage to him. The red dot on a white ground also mimics the Japanese flag.