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Mainichi Daily News, Sunday, December 1, 1974

9th Int'l Biennial Exhibits Of Prints

Internationally recognized expositions are the exception in Asia but the 9th showing of the International Biennial Exhibition of Prints is easily identified as such a rule breaker.
Prints are not everyone's cuppa but being in the land of woodblock, one would do well to at least make an attempt to see and learn a bit about this massive area of fine arts which attracts so much attention worldwide. 
There is no particular method that dominates the entire field although geographically there are many areas that cater to a particular printing style-lithography being quite popular in Europe and increasingly so in photo-serigraphy most common to Japan. I do add that neither is exclusively the way within either area.
This year's jury tackled a group of prints already pre-culled by three teams of selection assigned to the three regional divisions. I personally feel this double jurying severely hampers the full impact of the show by preventing the final jury committee from having the widest possible collection available for their perusal. 
People may consider this a minor point but since the function of such international shows is to give the young and virtually unknown artists a chance for wider recognition, a closed contest affords them less chance to be included.
Without the initial selection committee becoming aware of their works, there is no opportunity for them to be considered by the final jury. An injustice that seems to be becoming the modus operandi for many previously "open" shows in all fields of the arts.
A sad but true passing. I hope the organizing core behind this show will seriously consider returning to the previous manner in selecting works/artists for the 10th showing.
Now that I've had my say on the structure of the show itself, I must add that basically there is much to see and learn from in this exhibition although there is a definite leaning on the part of the jury toward the conceptual aspect of art.
My own tendencies lean in that direction but that sector is also very crowded with substandard and unoriginal works. As is my usual style not to name names I feel do not warrant mentioning, I will comment only on the works which caught both my eye and mind. Realize that there is no room for everyone to be included so ommissions mean nothing in particular.
Heading through the exhibition numerically, one of the first to catch my attention were the deeply embossed c a r a p a c e stylizations of CHEUNG YEE from Hong Kong. A highly talented and serious artist of many medias, these prints were extraordinary in their coloring as well as their relief.
EI EBIHARA continues to produce her oversize but delicate realism works in offset or combinations of offset and litho. A New Zealand-Rodney Fumpston shows three very fine etchings of pastel hues, while SOMNATH HORE of West Bengal was represented by three off-white intaglio prints in the conceptual stratum.
SHIN KAMIYA has been rising impressively as far as his ability to turn the common into the surreal and capture the strangeness of moods so deftly. His series of Black Outcrop began with a print which was awarded a purchase prize at the Bradford show this year in England and three of that grouping are included in this colleciton.
KIM KU LIM of Seoul tricks your senses with his works which appear to be conceptual presentations rather than true prints- stains on cloth printed there in imitation of truth.
HIDEKI KIMURA was awarded a prize for his serigraphy and rightly so. Finely worked and reworked to perfetction.
LEE U-FAN is also included in the presentation with three works of color on handmade paper. His style has recently been especially cognizant of the paper on which the print is made and its relationship to the pattern and size of the image imprinted thereon.
Another Hong Kong resident-LEUNG KUI-TING, is represented by three woodblocks which are magnificent in their intensity and coloration. They must be seen to be fully appreciated because their subtle blendings of shades is nearly impossible to catch in terminology.
Tasmanian BEA MADDOCK also shows three works- photo-etchings and intaglio printing. Serious and somber works well in line with her previous work but a step further along her progression pathway.
KUNIICHI SHIMA has been a favorite for sometime and happily so can I note he was awarded a prize for his conceptual "Sheets and Mattress" work.
TETSUYA NODA continues in his diary series but with a combination of methods and an improving sense of the abstract.
YOSHIYASU SUZUKA with a single entry was included as was YOSHIDA KATSURO, also with a single work-both doing prints via photo-serigraphy.
The last name of the first region grouping is only last alphabetically-ZARINA, an Indian woman now working in Japan making very original embossings!
Those one might well especially note in the Region 2 grouping include VALENTIN IONESCU of Romania and ALENA KUCEROVA of Czechoslovakia, both of whom work in intaglio printing.
The serigraphy of YVONNE KRACHT of Holland captures the geometric simplicity of spatial relations while the geometricity of LEONHARD LAPIN from the USSR (also executed in serigraphy) gives off a distinctly opposite feeling. A mass of bulging and overlapping forms that may lack a third dimension but makeup for that lack by creating movement within the limited space of each print.
PAR CUNNAR THELANDER of Sweden captures erotic fantasy with his etchings which seem to go well with the nearby work of British printmaker-WILLIAM TILLYER.
Another Briton, JOE TILSON offers a fresh look at collective printing techniques while GERD WINNER in the USA into marvelous serigraphs of tantalizing color and captivating detail.
The third division of the American includes fewer that I feel worthy of special note but those fewer are very special. The silkscreens of RICHARD ESTES bear that out as do the combination stencil, intaglio works of OMAR RAYO from NYC. The variety is heavier in this section but more frivolity which I find unwarranted.
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