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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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9/23/2004 Linfield gallery to exhibit Watanabe Japanese prints

McMINNVILLE – An exhibit featuring the work of internationally known printmaker Sadao Watanabe will be on display at the James F. Miller Fine Arts Center at Linfield College.

"Sadao Watanabe - A Collection of Prints from the Linfield Community" will be shown Oct. 6-29 in the Fine Art Gallery. An opening reception and slide/lecture will be held Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. in the gallery. Former Watanabe student Anne Pyle will present "Watanabe Sadao and the Tradition of Japanese Folk Art" featuring slides and a technical demonstration.

A second lecture, "Sadao Watanabe’s Significance in Japanese Christian History," will be given by John Sagers, Linfield assistant professor of history, on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 4:30 p.m. in the Miller Fine Arts Center.

One of Japan’s major print artists, Watanabe left an impression on the Linfield community when he visited from Japan during the 1970s and 1980s. He taught at the college on several occasions and was awarded an honorary doctor of fine arts from Linfield in 1981. Because he sold, traded and gave many prints to friends and colleagues at Linfield, he left behind a legacy of artistic craft, grateful students and loyal friends when he died in 1996. Prints have been loaned from various owners for the exhibit and a variety of prints will be offered for sale.

Watanabe, who studied with Keisuke Serizawa and was closely associated with the Mingei (folk art) movement, developed complex techniques that resulted in brilliant, richly textured images. He used stencils for the resist method to hand-dye the wrinkled washi (paper) and made his own natural colors. Much of Watanabe’s work was inspired by the Bible. He depicted The Crucifixion, along with more obscure events, such as The Dream of the Magi. Two of his favorite subjects were Noah’s Ark and The Last Supper.

Watanabe’s work has been exhibited extensively in solo shows and is collected internationally. His bold, highly patterned works have been seen in the Vatican Museums, the White House and the British Museum.

Pyle, a former Watanabe student, is a graduate of Skidmore College and has a master’s degree in art education from Columbia University. She studied oil painting at the Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts and with Hobsen Pittman of the Philadelphia Academy. In Japan she studied printmaking with Watanabe and Toshi Yoshida, another of Japan’s leading print artists. She was Watanabe’s only private student and owns the largest collection of his works which were recently exhibited in a major show in New York City. She has written and spoken extensively on Watanabe and the Japanese folk art movement and continues her own printmaking using Watanabe’s methods. Pyle is a member of the International Student Ministry Board at University Presbyterian Church and teaches in the church’s ESL program for refugees and immigrants.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. The Linfield Fine Art Gallery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To reach the gallery from 99W in south McMinnville, turn east on Keck Drive at the McMinnville Market Center and turn right into the first parking lot. The art gallery is located on the west end of the parking lot. For more information, call 503-883-2804.