The monumental woodcut Janus by Daniel Heyman will debut at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2020. The work is presented as a three-part, traditionally hinged Japanese scroll. The woodcut was recently completed in 2019 in Philadelphia with Master Printer Cindi Ettinger. Accompanying Janus will be two handmade screens from Daniel's Japanese Screen Project Series.
Janus was inspired by Daniel Heyman's frequent trips to Japan and his visits to a 13th century sculpture called Kuya-Shonin or St. Kuya located in Kyoto. As Daniel explains, I love this sculpture - the figure is so humble, so burdened with the drum and the heavy robes, and just those little slippers, and then out of his mouth, as if he is dreaming, appear these little figures of Amida Buddha. If the little figures that flow from St. Kuya's mouth represent Amida Buddha - and the saint is able to conjure them through his voice, then I see in this sculpture a vision of the endless creativity of human thought.
Janus (the root of which forms the month of January) is also a Roman deity and is represented throughout art history as a two-headed figure - an old man looking back in time and a young man looking forward. One can interpret Janus as the containment of double nature, two unresolved ideas existing in one person. Janus also represents the collapsing of time into an endless string of birth, renewal and death for all creatures, where even the very human act of creating culture is seen as both creative and destructive.