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Yang Kuei Fei

Yang Kuei Fei

Oda Mayumi

An item at Art Institute of Chicago

Yang Kuei Fei was the famous concubine of a Chinese emperor during the Tang dynasty (618-907). The emperor was so madly in love with her that he began ignoring his official duties. But he was forced to execute the beauty after she was blamed for a rebellion engineered by her family. The black and red in this print express the tension and violence associated with Yang Kuei Fei's fate. Oda Mayumi is known for creating robust and curvaceous female figures-goddesses or legendary beauties whose strength she endeavors to capture in her depictions of them.

A Sign of Things to Come: Prints by Japanese Women Artists after 1950

An exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago

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Before 1950, women rarely played a part in the production of Japanese prints, which were largely commercial products. After World War II, however, some were drawn to the sosaku hanga (creative print) movement, which promoted printmaking as a form of artistic expression. In 1956 a small group of women printmakers created Jory Hanga Kyokai, an association that exhibited together for about ten years. Its members included Iwami Reika and Yoshida Chizuko, both of whom are well-known today and whose works appear in this exhibition. But despite some individual successes, female printmakers still make up a relatively small fraction of the artists active in Japan. Remarkably, the Yoshida family alone boasts three of the women represented in this display. Yoshida Fujio began to explore sensual abstracted floral themes in prints in 1950, at the age of 62. Her daughter-in-law, Yoshida Chizuko, trained as an abstract painter, but she expanded her practice in 1953 after her marriage. Yoshida Ayomi, the youngest of the three, creates the most conceptual works and views her prints primarily as records of her main focus: carving woodblocks. This exhibition features many works that the family gave to the Art Institute between 2011 and 2019.