Woodblock. Born 1927 Tokyo. Bunka Gakuin College. Studied under three of Japans outstanding print artists: Onchi Koshiro, Sekino Junichiro and Shinagawa Takumi.
Permanent Collections: British Museum ,Yale University Art Gallery, Museum of Modern Art New York , Cincinnati Art Museum, University of Oregon, Rockefeller Foundation, Library of Congress, Washington University of California, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan.
In the long history of woodblock printing in Japan, Iwami Reika is the first woman to achieve the same status and recognition as male artists. It took her quite a long time to find her metier: She first worked as a teacher, then in the office of a language institute. Then she decided to study art, first on a part-time basis. Having spent eleven years specialising in dollmaking, she realised that this did not satisfy her creative spirit, and in 1954 she turned to printmaking. Iwami Reikas recurring theme is water and its flow, often represented by the grain and texture of wood which she uses to masterly perfection. She is a rarity among woman woodblock artists in her avoidance of colour. Her world is that of the natural Japan: sumi ink, handmade paper and real wood are blended to produce her austere yet powerful compositions. Her preference for black and white, often combined with embossing and some overlaying with gold and silver foil, result in a finished work that take her far from the cerebral, romantic and unpredictable works of the early sosaku hanga (creative print) movement to works of art elegant in form and design, with a simplicity that makes her abstractions easily understood and satisfying to the eye of the beholder. Iwami Reika is also a well regarded haiku poet, and the obliqueness and ambiguity of that verse form finds a visual expression in her prints which show great vigour and spiritual strength.