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Asia Week New York Contemporary: Selections from Scholten Japanese Art

Paul Binnie (b. 1967)
ca. 1993-94
Watercolor on paper
10 5/8 by 15 1/8 in. (27 by 38.5 cm)

A reclining male nude lies horizontally against a deep teal background, bearing a blue koi tattoo down the sides of his chest, while hiding his face with his left arm. The dappled light dances on the subject's body in much the same way that light would hit the surface of water, enlivening the tattoo of stylized waves and carp swimming upstream.

Paul Binnie, a Scotsman living in London, has over the past 25 years become one the most important artists working in the Japanese tradition of woodblock printmaking. He has taken up the mantel of the shin-hanga ('new print') artists of the early to mid-20th century, producing works that can only be described as innately Japanese. This painting is one of an array of early Binnie paintings, sketches and prints of nude and tattoo (and nudes with tattoos) subjects being shown alongside his beloved woodblock print series A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo (Edo Zumi hyaku shoku), which playfully references timeless imagery from classic ukiyo-e and inventively placed them on modern nude subjects. 

Below are more selections from Scholten Japanese Art's Asia Week New York Contemporary exhibition, on view at 145 West 58th Street, suite 6D, from May 2 to 10:

Paul Binnie (b. 1967)
A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo: Yoshitoshi’s Ghosts
Woodblock print
17 by 11 3/4 in., 42.5 by 29 cm

Paul Binnie (b. 1967)
A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo: Utamaro’s Erotica
Woodblock print
16 3/4 by 11 3/8 in., 43 by 30 cm

Paul Binnie (b. 1967)
A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo: Sharaku’s Caricatures
Woodblock print
16 7/8 by 12 1/4 in., 43 by 31 cm