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Sold at Auction: Noboru Sawai

(1931-2016)

Biography

Noboru Sawai is a distinguished printmaker living in Vancouver. His work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally. He has also had an active teaching career, for example, in 1971-1993 at the University of Calgary. In 1981 he founded Atelier Sawai, a Vancouver printmaking centre specializing in the study and making of woodblock and intaglio prints.

Since 1971 Sawai’s imagery has been presented as montage referencing different eras and countries. So, for instance, in one of his prints a Picassoesque figure, an Ukiyo-e print and a contemporary landscape appear side by side. By juxtaposing traditional conceptions of holy and unholy, he confers relatively equal status upon them and thus invites a fresh purview.

Sawai’s graphic designs typically feature monochromatic areas balanced by smaller coloured ones. He has found, through experimentation, that this high contrast approach, when applied to etching and woodblock techniques used in tandem, conveys the degree of cohesion and high energy for which he is looking. To enhance the effect, Sawai since 1996 has made his own paper.
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