Nova Scotia based visual artist Rachel Reeve, a graduate of NSCAD University has been honing her skills in gyotaku, (fish printing). As an interdisciplinary visual artist, her practice also includes drawing, printmaking, installation and design using repurposed materials. The experience of living and working in Japan in the early 2000’s continues to influence her work. She sees a reverence for nature that exists in Japanese art and culture which appeals to her interest in human connections with the natural world. With an interest in stewardship her aim is to continue exploring unique methods that convey the richness of nature. Primarily working in art education for fifteen years, in 2018 she stepped back into her studio full-time.
I am an interdisciplinary visual artist exploring various methods that express stewardship, sustainability and the importance of connecting with nature in today’s world. My current work with gyotaku is a series that looks at human relationships with fish from cultural, symbolic and ecological perspectives. Gyotaku is the traditional method of printing fish, originating from Japan in the 1800’s. I aim to approach the gyotaku in a respectful manner. Using non-toxic ink the fish is printed on traditional Japanese rice paper. In some instances the fish is cleaned after printing and prepared to be eaten. I have modified a selection of gyotaku to canvas with the intent of creating variation and immediacy through composition. Each gyotaku is a reminder that we share the planet with all living species and that as humans we have a responsibility in recognizing the value of the natural world. The lobster gyotaku are a response to learning about the effects of the pandemic on the lobster industry in Nova Scotia.