East Gallery

Nostalgic Femininity: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the St. Catherine University Archives & Special Collections

Curated by Christina M. Spiker, Ph.D.
Sponsored by Blick Art Materials

April 13 - May 26, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 13, 6-8 p.m.

Drawing from items in the University’s Archives & Special Collections, this exhibition explores the relationship between nostalgia and gender in Japanese woodblock prints of the late nineteenth century. The show features various prints by Meiji-period artist Yōshū Chikanobu alongside select examples by Miyagawa Shuntei, Utagawa Kunisada I, Mizuno Toshikata, and Toyohara Kunichika.

Public Lecture: Monday, May 13, 6 p.m.
Nostalgia as Remedy: Modernity and Sentimentality in Japanese Woodblock Prints of the Meiji Era
Christina M. Spiker, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History and curator of the current exhibition, Nostalgic Femininity, will discuss the broader historical and social contexts that inform the relationship between nostalgia and feminine imagery in the work of Japanese printmaker Yōshū Chikanobu and his peers. Learn about print styles from late nineteenth-century Japan using examples from St. Catherine University's Archives & Special Collections.


This exhibition runs concurrently with From Flowers to Warriors: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the St. Catherine University Archives & Special Collections, also curated by Christina M. Spiker, Ph.D. and on view in the St. Catherine University Library. This exhibition builds on Nostalgic Femininity to explore a broader range of topics in nineteenth-century printmaking, from delicate studies of flowers to intense scenes of battle. The show features various prints by Meiji-period artists Utagawa Yoshitora and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi alongside select examples from other artists including Showa-period shin-hanga artists Aoyama Masaharu, Asada Benji, and Ōno Bakufu.

Japanese Prints @ St. Kate's: Selections from the Archives & Special Collections at St. Catherine University — Through the Assistant Mentorship Program at St. Catherine University, MaryJane Eischen ‘20 worked with curator Christina M. Spiker to create Japanese Prints @ St. Kate’s, a website to supplement both the gallery and library exhibitions. This digital component was built using Scalar 2, a technological publishing platform developed by the University of Southern California. The website catalogs the entirety of the Japanese woodblock print collection in the St. Catherine University Archives & Special Collections and provides additional information about all prints and artists on display in each show. MaryJane also utilized a program called Timeline JS, which was developed by Northwestern University Knight Lab. This software was used to create two JavaScript timelines documenting both the artists in the collection and the ways these prints intersect with the history of Meiji Japan. The website also includes exhibition essays by Christina M. Spiker and Nicole Wallin ‘19.

All exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.


Curator Bio

Christina M. Spiker is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at St. Catherine University. She received her Ph.D. in Visual Studies from the University of California, Irvine with a specialization in modern Japanese art and visual culture. Her dissertation explored turn-of-the-twentieth century representations of the indigenous Ainu in Japan, and her research continues to investigate how their specific histories intersect with theories of globalization, modernity, and travel from the late nineteenth century until today. Since coming to St. Catherine University, Christina’s work has more consciously engaged with representations of gender in Japan. She published “‘Civilized’ Men and ‘Superstitious’ Women: Visualizing the Hokkaido Ainu in Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks, 1880” in Gender, Continuity, and the Shaping of Modernity in the Arts of East Asia, 16th-20th Centuries, edited by Lara Blanchard and Kristen Chiem (Brill, 2017). She has also presented on a range of topics at conferences and symposia in the United States and Japan such as College Art Association, Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, American Historical Association, Asian Studies Conference Japan, Midwest Conference for Asian Affairs, and the Art Historians of the Twin Cities Symposium.


Public Lecture: Nostalgia as Remedy

Christina M. Spiker, curator of the current exhibitions, Nostalgic Femininity and From Flowers to Warriors, discusses the broader historical and social contexts that inform the relationship between nostalgia and feminine imagery in the work of Japanese printmaker Yōshū Chikanobu and his peers.


Image Gallery

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