Gyotaku Fish Monoprints

Jean Kigel
2015 – 2016
Gourmet Garage, SoHo
489 Broome St. (Between Wooster and West Broadway), NYC
On view 24/7 at the street level windows

Woodward Gallery is delighted to feature Maine Artist Jean Kigel at the Gourmet Garage. Gyotaku (ghee-a taa-ku) the art of printing fish, originated in Japan centuries ago as a way of documenting the size of a catch. The walls of Japanese tackle and fish shops were once decked with black and white fish prints.

In modern times, gyotaku has evolved into an art. To print a fish, Jean Kigel carefully cleans a freshly – caught fish, prepares its scales and gills with salt, batten and clay, and applies block- print ink to the fish. Then she presses strong, thin Japanese paper around the form of the fish to make the print. Some of Kigel’s favorite papers kinwashi made form manila hemp, gasen made from the inner bark of cedar.

Depending on the thickness and the tones of the inking, every scale, fin and gill may print. A single fish can be ghost – printed or re-inked in varying tones and colors, producing overlapping schools of fish. Often unexpected effects are achieved. Sometimes Kigel enhances these with sumi (ink) on a bamboo brush. Occasionally, she uses a chigiri-e technique of overlaying translucent Japanese papers on the print. One can be as abstract or as realistic as one likes. All prints are unique!

Jean Kigel studied brush painting in Japan, China and the United States. An award-winning member of the Sumi-e Society of America and the Union of Maine Visual Artist, she is represented by a variety of galleries in Maine, Vermont and Manhattan. Her gyotaku prints are featured in Down East Magazine.

Since 1992, she has conducted Asian brush workshops at colleges, universities, museums and art centers in Maine. Jean Kigel’s work has been registered with the Maine Arts Commission since 1997.

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