Spotlight on Maki Haku (1924-2000)

maki huki

July 19, 2012 - January 2013, Chinese Corner Gallery

Above: Maki, Haku (Japanese, 1924-2000), 76-11 (Wind – D), 1976, ed. 40/151, wood and cement block relief print on paper; gift of The Wise Collection, Joanne and Douglas Wise, 2011.386

The Japanese artist Maki Haku became famous for his deeply embossed prints of abstracted and playfully arranged Chinese characters. In this print, entitled 76-11 (Wind-D), the Chinese pictographic character for "Wind" forms a striking design. It also evokes the Buddhist symbolism of pure breezes of virtue that restore the spirit by sweeping away clouds of delusion.

Maki printed his works on dampened, multilayered sheets of Japanese paper using a plywood-block with carved-out areas built up in relief with cement paste and textured with various tools. The paper was then pressed onto the block by hand using a steel roller or an etching press. Using stencils and metal rollers water-based and oil-based colors were then applied onto the block, or directly onto the embossed paper. Maki finally added a red seal, and one or two hand-applied "splashes" of color in what he called "special shapes."