(Japanese, b. 1949)
Support: Wove paper
Sheet: 46.3 x 32.5 cm (18 1/4 x 12 13/16 in.); Platemark: 35.9 x 25.5 cm (14 1/8 x 10 1/16 in.)
Gift of Carole W. and Charles B. Rosenblatt 2000.170
Hamanishi is a master of mezzotint, a technique with which it is possible to obtain a velvety
texture and a range of tones, from the richest black to the white of the paper. Here Hamanishi used mezzotint to achieve striking contrasts between the inky background and the myterious, seemingly three-dimensional objects that float in space. The detailed, meticulously rendered close-up view of metal bars or branches, entwined with patterns of rope, create a surreal and otherworldly effect.
To make a mezzotint, the copper plate is first systematically worked over with a spiked tool (called a "rocker") until it is thoroughly roughened. If inked at this stage, the plate would print solid black. Areas of the plate are then smoothed out to create tones and highlights. Since mezzotint is such a laborious technique, few contemporary artists use it. Hamanishi, willing to share his skills, was a visiting artist at the Cleveland Institute of Art during 1987 and 1988.
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