Floating World Gallery had it's inaugural show today, with a wonderful display of mezzotints by Yozo Hamaguchi. Yozo was an oil painter until meeting E.E. Cummings in France who mentioned that his drawings would look great as prints. The rest is history as they say, Hamaguchi returned to Japan and studied printmaking. The prints on display at Floating World are from many stages throughout Yozo Hamaguchi's career. With such wide variety of work it is easy to see the progression of skill Mr. Hamaguchi achieves within the process.
A Mezzotint is done in one of two ways, additive or subtractive. Hamaguchi utilized the former, although the later has historically been more popular. You can easily see that this is the case, because along side of the prints at Floating World are the plates, which is rare for a gallery to put on display. Only adding marks where he wants the ink to print, these plates are inscribed with millions of tiny dots and line to create vast areas of even tones and gradations. His ability to manipulate the tools in creating these prints are on display for all to see, and his mastery of this technique unquestionable.
The one thing that did overshadow the Hamaguchi exhibit though, was the opening of the Floating World Gallery itself. This huge space dedicated strictly to the art of printmaking was astonishing. As a sometimes printer myself it is a joy to know that Chicago, which has a deep history with printmaking, has another stellar venue, for not only showing and selling, but for educating people on prints and the printmaking processes. With an intimate showing space upstairs and the large open gallery down, this space it sure to attract, as well as create, print lovers of all sorts.
Floating World Gallery
1925 N. Halsted