Paul Furneaux b. 1962, Ellon, Scotland.
Studied Edinburgh College of Art,
Also Tama Art University, Tokyo completing a Masters in
Japanese Woodblock Printing 1996-2000.
Furneaux taught for 6 years at Edinburgh College of Art: 1990-1996.
For the last ten years Furneaux has been exploring traditional Japanese woodblock
printing techniques using them in contemporary ways. This inherently beautiful
and simple process has allowed his work to develop in a contemplative and
semi-abstract way. Exploring the ever-changing weather and light conditions of
landscapes, also inspired by contemporary Japanese gardens and architecture,
Furneaux uses interesting spatial combinations and stripes, which act as
structural elements. The final manifestation of work being abstraction and
distillation of this contemplation of the landscape, blending the physical
reality with the implied.
The exhibition continues until Friday 9th March 2013
‘The foundation of my work has repeatedly been about looking and experiencing the landscape, seascape or garden with its varying vistas and ever changing light conditions. The final manifestation of this work becomes an abstraction and distillation of this contemplation of the landscape subtly blending the physical reality with the implied.
For the past decade I have been exploring the medium of Mokuhanga (Japanese woodblock printing).
Mokuhanga is specifically printmaking using traditional Japanese techniques of woodblock printing using watercolour, gouache or pure pigments applied by brush to the cut wood and subsequent printing done by hand with the aid of a “baren”(hand disk usually wrapped in a bamboo leaf) or a ball-baring baren on “Washi”, Japanese hand made paper. Building up the layers from multiple blocks I use a guide called a Kento ban in order to register the paper in the correct position.
This is a medium I completed a Masters in, studying at Tama Art University in Tokyo while on a prestigious Monbusho (Japanese government Scholarship 1996-2000) where I also learned rudimentary Japanese Language.
As an artist exploring aspects of Mokuhanga, there are different areas, which have interested me. At times the work has developed intuitively, trying to work with, and against, the limitations of the materials: wood, cutting tools and pigment. Whilst this method in itself has limitations, I have come to enjoy these limiting boundaries within which I can utilise the constancy of Mokahunga to explore and push the possibilities. It is within these areas of experimentation that I strive to develop this expressive visual language.
The imagery has become less prominent as the exploration has become more involved with the simpler aspects of: Choice of paper; kinds of pigments; amount of pressure exerted to print and so on, highlighting some of the aspects of the control that hand printing and hand application of colour gives.
I build up a reservoir of incidents and happenings and re-look at them in the context of my current needs.
In this exhibition there are also some prints, which combine the Mokuhanga with etching. These works stem from a residency I had at the Dublin Graphic studios a couple of years ago where they specialise in etching mostly. There are also some prints that go back a few years and it can be interesting to look at the subtle changes in the language of forms and shapes used.
Although I predominantly use print as my chosen medium, more often the prints are one- off unique works or in a very limited edition, as few as 5-6 copies only. The nature of the way they are hand printed tends to give each copy its unique characteristics too.
In this relatively small exhibition I will try to present a selection illustrating some of these areas I have explored. This latterly includes some works where I have been looking from within a Japanese traditional room with allusions to screens and latticed windows and glimpses of gardens outside.
Publication: Paul Furneaux, Mokuhanga, Selected Works 1987 – 2011.
There will also be a fully illustrated colour book of 64 pages published recently which coincided with an exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers Gallery, with an introduction by a leading exponent of Mokuhanga; Rebecca Salter and the main text written with great integrity and poetic sensibility by Arthur Watson RSA who is very well known in Aberdeen .It gives me a further chance to thank him for his illuminating text putting into words what at times seems illusive and intangible.
Last year I was an invited artist at the RSA annual exhibition, where I am a member. This gave me a chance to exhibit a more extensive group of my sculptural Mokuhanga. I also had a sculptural print exhibited at the Royal Academy in London for the annual summer exhibition, which I have been fortunate to be selected for during the past three years. I was also invited to exhibit a sculptural print at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum as part of Prints 21 a celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Japanese Print Association. I was able to attend and speak at the opening event. By good fortune I had been also selected as one of six International artists who use Mokuhanga outside of Japan for a short residency at the same time. We spent five weeks together further deepening our knowledge of this medium through workshops and interaction with each other at the Mokuhanga Innovative Laboratory, in Tokyo and at Lake Kawaguchi (on the edge of Mount Fuji)
In Autumn I exhibited a large Mokuhanga piece at the Royal Glasgow Institute where it was awarded the House for an Art Lover Award which includes an exhibition at their Glasgow venue later this year.
In addition last year I followed up my residency in Dublin with a two person exhibition along with Dublin based artist Niamh Flanagan that was well received.
Along with my exhibiting activities I was invited to Aberdeen to teach Mokuhanga at White space during the over 50’s festival. I also lead regular workshops at Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop throughout the year.
Finally I helped arrange an exhibition of my father’s prints for Claremont Gallery. I think I must be my Fathers number one fan and I hope you managed to see this personal and poetic view of Aberdeen.
I am delighted Tracey has invited me to show a small selection of my Mokuhanga works. It is a nice way to kick off this year for me and I hope you will be able to come and see this exhibition in the intimate and welcoming environment of this gallery.’
Paul Furneaux RSA
‘Blue Room Kanazawa’ Mokuhanga 60 x 29 cms £650
‘Moss Garden’ Mokuhanga 60 x 29 cms £650
‘April Showers’ Mokuhanga 60 x 29 cms £650
Claremont Gallery Interior. Panorama. February 2013.
Publication: Paul Furneaux, Mokuhanga, Selected Works 1987 – 2011. £10
‘Genkan’ Paul Furneaux Mokuhanga SOLD
Alisdair McKenzie Wood. Hilary Duncan Ceramics. Kerstin Gren Ceramics.
‘Pathways: Kyoto Niwa’ Mokuhanga 43 x 22 cms £425
‘Fourteen Clouds’ Mokuhanga & Etching 21 x 15 cms £325
‘Sea Flowers’ Mokuhanga & Etching 21 x 15 cms £325
Sue Ure Ceramics. Kerstin Gren Ceramics. Wood Carved Bowls.
Congratulations to Paul Furneaux Prize winner at Visual Arts Scotland; The Richard Coley Award for Sculpture AND The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours; The John Gray Award, at this years Annual Exhibition, The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. – Exhibition continues throughout March.