Hamanishi Katsunori (Japanese, born 1949) has focused on mezzotint prints throughout his long and distinguished career. Perhaps the most technically demanding of all prints, mezzotints are known for their dark and atmospheric appearance. Artists create this effect by starting with a roughened plate surface that prints as a solid black background. They then use a series of burnishers and scrapers to shape the image, with the deepest gouges appearing as white areas on the finished print.
Hamanishi’s earliest mezzotints, from the 1970s, depict models that he built in his studio. His images often feature forms that tie, twist, fold, or bind, such as steel rods bound with cloth, twigs tied with ropes, origami, and kimono. In his Division series, begun in the late 1980s and continued through 2002, these familiar forms are infused with color and complemented by abstract shapes.
This exhibition celebrates the 2013 gift of a large number of Hamanishi works from the Ninion and Sheldon Landy Collection, which made the Art Institute's collection of his prints the largest in the world. The exhibition also features artworks given by the Landys and Hamanishi himself as far back as 1985, when former curator Osamu Ueda first accepted a print by him into the collection and began the artist’s long relationship with the Art Institute.