Resonance and Grace: New Works by Hideaki Miyamura
Clay is both a humble and humbling material. Its origins are of the earth and recorded in time. It starts as one of the world’s most ubiquitous and reusable materials, but after an encounter with the transformative force of fire, clay becomes one of the most permanent, erosion-resistant materials on Earth. And through it we are able to learn about our cultural past.
In the hands of one contemporary master this raw material submits to a profound creative awakening and re-imagining. Working with clay is a dance where the potter both leads and is led, in perfect understanding of his partner. It can be sensual and responsive, flexible and giving, defiant and ornery, or fragile and brittle — depending on its moisture content and the disposition and experience of its practitioner. Clay has many life lessons to teach its partner about relationship over time.
Hideaki Miyamura acknowledges this slow dance with time and material. He has come to understand his medium over decades, and has refined his relationship with it. The eye, the hand, and the heart move in unison within his studio—to the extent that no words need be spoken.
This collection of new work quietly reflects Miyamura’s marriage of technique with aesthetic, and color with form. One need not overwhelm the other. Each listens attentively and responds in a complementary tone. They create a harmonic resonance clearly seen and appreciated by those who are drawn near by the seduction of the work’s magnetic visual appeal.
How does Hideaki Miyamura do this?
His enigmatic pieces speak with the soft, yet powerful, presence of a reflective sage. The classic lines and curves of his work resound with our own instinctual and primeval understanding of proportion and grace. As members of this universal pattern of growth found in nature, humans have internalized the geometry of our world and universe. As Brother Thomas Bezanson said, “There are things within us that find resonance with things outside us.”
Hideaki Miyamura’s work strikes that recognizable chord. In HM466, the elegance of the form springs from a small touchstone footprint, then blossoms to a full inhalation of uplifting curves, and is finally resolved in a neckline of delicate modesty. Its burgundy color and crystalline patterning are reminiscent of the night sky’s depth, and the positioning of star clusters on a clear celestial night.
Likewise, HM460 conveys a sense of delicate grace that rises with the form, culminating with a lid of exquisite detailing, offering a definitive machined counterpoint to the expansive, swelling flow of the jar’s body. Islands of crystals seem to float on the glistening jade green surface like lily pads on a New Hampshire pond in summer; the artist’s home base.
In a few recent works, Miyamura has included another possible reference to our natural environment. With HM496, visions of snow-capped mountains under a full moon seem to emerge from a microscopic view of blue-green crystals below.
Using the same color palette, but with a formal break from the subtler transitions of form found in his larger body of ceramics, Miyamura created HM488. Here a thin white crackle glazed vase seems to emerge from a voluminous mother form below. The separation of color and values are distinct; and the ascending, diminishing scale of proportion is as clear, as it is in the corresponding arcs of its curves. The rendered whole is a masterful balance of responsive material to aesthetic sensibility.
Hideaki Miyamura’s cylindrical, covered jars also give resonance to the expressive power of clay. The modular stacking in HM513 and HM514 creates an architectural stature reminiscent of modernist concerns. However, the breaks within the vertical momentum do not limit their energetic movement. The undisturbed movement of HM474 gives rise to pure elegance and strength, beginning with a small base and subtly lifting to an expanded shoulder line. The smooth, almost imperceptible, transition of color and surface texture, from blue satin below to golden brown gloss above, parallels that soft-spoken transformation of form.
It is clear that Hideaki Miyamura is one of today’s ceramic masters. Utilizing the raw, humble elements of the earth, he has created works of beauty and allure, which are classical in heritage, yet modern in aesthetic sensibility. The pieces are emblematic of their maker, thoughtful, inquisitive, perceptive and sure—and they speak to the need for grace and quiet beauty in a challenging world. As such, they grant us the gift of hope and peace and we are grateful for their presence in our lives.
Franz Carl Nicolay
Edwards Art Gallery, Director