Utilizing handmade paper and various printmaking techniques, Japanese artist Sato Yamamoto creates compositions that capture universal emotions and memories. Combining processes such as woodblock, monotype, etching, and silkscreen, Sato’s works invoke the tradition of Ukiyo-e, a genre that flourished in Japan between the 17th and 19th centuries and literally translates to “pictures of the floating world.” Sato, however, captures scenes from everyday life, her prints engendering a sense of common experience that forges links across disparate times and places to create feelings of connectedness.
In her series of works titled At the Bar, Sato uses the irregular shape and organic surface of handmade papers as the foundation for small, highly detailed etchings printed at the center of the composition. In each work, colorful splashes of pulpy paper surround a tiny scene of patrons sitting at a lonely bar. The diminutive picture depicts a universal experience that transcends race, class, boundaries, and borders. Indeed, these works capture quotidian life in the contemporary city using ancient techniques and highlighting juxtapositions of ubiquity and individuality, realism and abstraction, and historic and modern.