Oriental Masterprint – 6, from the series Oriental Masterprints

Roger Shimomura American

Not on view

In this series, Oriental Masterprints, Shimomura combines twentieth-century American Pop Art with imagery from traditional eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Japanese woodblock prints; he explores his Japanese American identity within contemporary American society through this print series. Shimomura was forced to come face-to-face with his Japanese American cultural identity living in Lawrence, Kansas, one day when he was mistaken as a foreigner and questioned by a local as to why he spoke English so well. Around the same time Shimomura saw a children’s coloring book based on “images from the floating world,” or ukiyo-e, and the artist was struck by their foreignness to him. These became the catalyst to the proposed series, Oriental Masterprints, which he produced between 1972 and 1976. Shimomura was already working in a Pop style that shared an aesthetic for flatness and emphasis on surfaces, with the Japanese woodblock prints.

Oriental Masterprint – 6, from the series Oriental Masterprints, Roger Shimomura (American, born Seattle 1939), Color screen print on wove paper, Japan

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