'The Comedy of Life'
Has another three months gone by so quickly?! We are now able to set our 'calendar' by the arrival of these print folios from the [Baren] printmakers' group! Four times a year they are now coming; each one jammed full of interesting woodblock prints.
The present folio - the seventh one to appear - is a 'themed' exchange. Quite a number of interesting ideas for themes were tossed around during the build-up period to this exchange, but one in particular seemed to be catching the attention of many members ... the word 'funny' came back again and again. The question soon became "Can a theme related to 'humour' be used without the folio ending up as a collection of 'cartoons'?" We thought that perhaps it could ...
So that became our theme: 'The Comedy of Life' - images that put a wry twist on some aspect of life, either human or animal - images intended to put a smile on the face of the viewer.
Those of you viewing this folder who have seen previous [Baren] group exchange print collections will probably notice when you look through the list of names that you recognize some of the participants. A number of people in the group have caught the 'exchange bug', and return again and again to join each one. But however interesting it might be to follow the development in the printmaking skills of the same thirty people each time, we think it is more important that other group members also have the chance to participate, so we have been following a rule that sign-up chances for each new exchange go first to those who were not in the previous one. Only when all group members have thus had a chance to join, are any remaining spaces opened to the 'fanatics', who then madly try and get their applications in right at the stroke of 'midnight' when the submissions are accepted!
The result of this policy, which was instituted about a year ago, has been that the exchange folios have developed a good balance between consistency and freshness - it's not the 'same old, same old' each time, but neither is it always totally unfamiliar. We can follow the development of our 'favourite' artists, at the same time as we are exposed to fresh new work ...
Whether you get belly laughs, chuckles, or simply quiet smiles from the prints you are about to see will be a matter of personal taste of course. But that you will get pleasure from the work in this folio is something about which I am sure.
But enough talk - the prints are waiting for your inspection; it's time for me to reach for my megaphone and remind you once more of our [Baren] motto; it's time to:
I hope you enjoy viewing our collection as much as we have enjoyed making it!
Tokyo, November 2000
Founder, [Baren] Forum
Special thanks to members Jeanne Norman Chase and Dan Dew for coordinating this exchange. Some pictures of the 'collating party' are here.