Gyotaku Prints by Boshu Nagase

Gyotaku Prints by Boshu Nagase

Boshu Nagase is the principal living master of the printmaking technique known as “gyotaku.” The term comes from the Japanese nouns for fish “gyo” and print or rubbing, “taku.” This uniquely Japanese form of printmaking is achieved in one of two ways: direct or indirect.

Direct gyotaku involves painting a fish with sumi ink and then pressing it onto paper resulting in a simple “stamped” print. With the indirect method the artist places very thin, wet paper or fabric on top of the fish. Colored inks are then applied in multiple layers creating a rendering far more detailed, luminous, textured and delicate than the direct method. This form of gyotaku printing is featured in the exhibition. These works have been selected from over 70 prints by  Nagase from UMMA’s collection.

Nagase has produced folios of gyotaku of the fish indigenous to the Great Barrier Reef, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Antarctic as well as the marine and freshwater fish of Japan.

Blacktip Grouper, detail

Chimera, detail

Yellowback Fusilier