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Event Museum

Soot & Water: Gyotaku Records of Catalina

Soot & Water: Gyotaku Records of Catalina

The Catalina Island Museum presents Soot and Water: Gyotaku Records of Catalina, an exhibition featuring the centuries-old Japanese craft of Gyotaku by Dwight Hwang, one of the last artists practicing this traditional form of printmaking. The exhibition will showcase Hwang’s gyotaku prints representing 23 species from the waters surrounding Catalina Island. Soot and Water: Gyotaku Records of Catalina will be on view from March 28, 2020 - November 1, 2020.

“Catalina Island Museum is delighted to collaborate with Dwight Hwang to present Soot and Water,” said Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director of the Catalina Island Museum. “As an institution dedicated to preserving the island’s legacy through art and history, this exhibition offers visitors the unique opportunity to experience ocean life beneath the surface and introduces this incredible art form to future generations.”

A technique dating back to the early 19th century, traditional Gyotaku consists of swabbing the surface of a fish with calligraphy ink, called sumi, created from pine soot and water, and pressing a sheet of traditional Japanese paper made from mulberry bark, called washi, onto the inked surface to produce a print. Originally used as a way for Japanese fishermen to record their extraordinary catches, Hwang reestablishes a sense of life and motion to these underwater creatures through this lost craft. He has mastered not only the traditional side profile portrayal of fish, but has also developed a “twisted” variant to showcase the animal from it’s belly or back. 

23 species of fish found in the waters around Catalina Island are represented in the exhibition including the Striped Bass, Albacore Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna and the very rare Paper Nautilus. Attributed to his love of fish, Hwang’s prints are able to mimic and portray the specimen during a split second from when it was still living, bringing life into each of his art pieces as a “snapshot” of the specimen during its most magnificent moment.

When Saturday, March 28, 2020-Sunday, November 1, 2020.
Time Check website for times
Price $17 - Adults, $15 - Students w/ID
Catalina Island Museum
217 Metropole Avenue
Catalina, CA 90704
(310) 510-2414
Official Website
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