The Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University Presents Ukiyo-e to Shin Hanga: Japanese Woodcuts, April 2 through May 18

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The exhibition features the transition of imagery from 250 years of Japanese woodcut.

The Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University presents Ukiyo-e to Shin Hanga: Japanese Woodcuts from the Syracuse University Art Collection from April 2 through May 18. The exhibition is curated by Andrew Saluti, assistant professor and program coordinator of the graduate program in museum studies in the school of design at Syracuse University. The exhibition illustrates the transition of imagery through 250 years of the Japanese woodcut.

Ukiyo-e to Shin Hanga: Japanese Woodcuts from the Syracuse University Art Collection features many of the masters of the medium including the work of Utamaro, Kuniyoshi, Hokusai, Hiroshida, Tsuchiya Koitsu and Yoshida Hiroshi. The prints exemplify the soft, painterly style that is synonymous with the Japanese woodcut which began after the many years of the civil war and the rise of the Edo period.  The merchant class thrived and expanded at this time. While the finer arts still flourished among the upper classes of samurai, priests and nobility, the Ukiyo-e woodcut was dismissed as unoriginal work.  The term Ukiyo literally translates to “floating world,” referring to the realm of escapism that the underbelly of Edo (Tokyo today) fostered. The end to the Edo period (circa 1868) and the opening of trade to the west introduced the imagery to Europe, influencing a new culture of artists and be revered as a quintessential element of Japanese art history.

The Sordoni Art Gallery will host programing in conjunction with the exhibition.

  • Art in Context Lecture: An Introduction to the Art of Bonsai, Saturday, April 6 at 1 p.m. This session will teach attendees about the ancient art of bonsai, including different artistic styles and tools used by bonsai artists. This lecture, taught by Carl Achhammer Jr., will also include a short live demonstration.
  • Curator’s Lecture: Ukiyo-e to Shin Hanga and Beyond: The Art of the Japanese Woodcut Thursday, April 11, 5 p.m., Reception begins at 4:30 p.m. Curator Andrew Saluti discusses the history, process, and influence of the Japanese woodcut.
  • Art in Context Lecture: Visualizing Delicacies, Eating Edo: Social History of Early Modern Foodways in Japanese Woodblock Prints, Tuesday, April 16, 11:30 a.m. Food was one of the Edoites favorite features in woodblock prints in the early-modern Japanese. This presentation discovers the intersection of these two elements of daily lives of food and foldaways in the political capital, Edo (today’s Tokyo).
  • Workshop: Build Your Own Bonsai Workshop; $75 for SAG Members, $85 for non-members, Sunday, April 28, 1 to 5 p.m. In this workshop, participants will create their own bonsai to enjoy for years to come. Using a ficus retusa, attendees will plant, trim, and wire their tree, learning about different tools and basic styling techniques. All materials are included in the price of the workshop, and include a tree, pot, soil, and wire. Reservations are required. Contact for more information.
  • Activity: The Peace Crane Project, Tuesday, April 30, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn how to fold an origami crane with the Sordoni Gallery staff and contribute to The Peace Crane Project.  The project connects communities around the world by promoting peace and unity. Make an origami crane that will be part of a community display later in the year.  In coordination with the United Nations, the cranes will then be sent to another community around the globe.

For more information, visit

The $3 million, 7,000-square-foot Sordoni Art Gallery is a culmination of a gallery revitalization plan to enrich the arts for students, faculty and staff while contributing to cultural life in the local community. More than double the size of the former gallery, the new space opened in 2017 and is outfitted for high-end national art exhibitions and includes versatile opportunities for teaching and learning. The gallery shares space with the Karambelas Media and Communication Center at 141 S. Main St. in Wilkes Barre.

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