Tajima In Relief: A Retrospective of the Artist's Relief Prints

Sept. 24 – Dec. 11, 2021

TAJIMA IN RELIEF is the first major museum retrospective of relief prints by Tajima Hiroyuki (1911-1997), a Japanese artist internationally renowned for his use of layered and luminous color and his complex and creative printmaking techniques. Featuring more than 60 prints made over the course of his career, it examines Tajima’s recurring themes and his approach to abstraction. Tajima exemplifies the inventive incorporation of international trends that characterizes post-WWII Japanese printmaking.

Tajima Hiroyuki trained as an artist at Nihon University, graduating in 1932, and the Western Painting division of Tokyo’s School of Fine Arts.  In 1946 he joined Bijutsu Bunka Kiyokai, a group of artists engaged in revitalizing Japanese abstract and surrealist painting after WWII. Tajima not only embraced surrealism as an avant-garde mode of abstraction, but also incorporated technical studies in fabric dyeing and color photographic processes into his sosaku hanga (“creative prints” in which the printmaker is sole creator, serving as designer, block cutter, and printer).

The U.S. occupation of Japan after WWII provided a receptive audience for sosaku hanga and contributed to its international success. From the 1960s to the 1980s, Tajima won widespread acclaim for

his abstract woodblock prints, whose experimental techniques created a thoroughly modern idiom while remaining in dialogue with traditional Japanese arts.

TAJIMA IN RELIEF is organized by the Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph and is supported in part by an anonymous foundation; Benjamin Ortiz and Victor Torchia, Jr.; Miyoshi America, Inc.; the Us & Japan Society of Connecticut (UJSC); the Karen L. Chase ’97 Fund; and Gregory A. Boyko.

Public Programming Includes:

Exhibition Reception

Friday, September 24, 5-7:30 p.m.

The reception will feature shakuhachi (bamboo flute) performances. A Lion Dance (6:15 p.m.) will precede the dedication of cherry trees, a gift to USJ from the Us & Japan Society of Connecticut; Miyoshi America, Inc.; and Maruichi Japanese Food & Deli and its patrons. The trees were planted on campus with the assistance of USJ students.