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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
Paul Binnie: Flowers of a Hundred Years
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Paul Binnie
In 2012 Paul Binnie began a new bijin series, Hyakunen no Hana (Flowers of a Hundred Years), which highlights the changing roles, political issues, social situations and lifestyles of women in Japan in the 20th century, decade by decade. Each print illustrates a beauty featuring the hair and clothing fashions of that era, beginning in 1900, but also explores the real lives of the women of those times, how their traditional roles were in constant flux as Japan itself evolved dramatically throughout the twentieth century. The series has twelve designs, one for each decade of the past century and a final one for 2010, and at the conclusion of the series, collectors who continued to subscribe for all of the prints receive a bonus chuban design.

In this series, Binnie has returned to the large format and very lavish printing previously seen in his well-known Shiki (Four Seasons) prints of 2003-2005, utilising various types of mica, silver and bronze metallic pigments, embossing, multiple overprintings and shadings and 23 carat gold leaf. All of these new designs are printed over 40 times to acheive a richness and depth of color rarely seen in contemporary printmaking, and Binnie works with both very traditional methods of woodblock printing as well as some of the new innovations of the modern print world, such as baren sujizuri, or swirling lines of printing, and goma zuri (sesame printing) when the paper is only lightly pressed on the ink to give a mottled or broken color application. These printing effects are derived from Shin Hanga (New Prints) and Sosaku Hanga (Creative Prints) respectively, the two early twentieth century print movements which revived woodblock printing in Japan.

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