Peter Hamann ‘Carving White Translucence’
Exhibition dates: September 6 – 22, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 6, 6-8pm
Onishi Gallery, 521 W 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
Onishi Gallery is honored to present, Carving White Translucence: Peter Hamann, a solo exhibition of leading ceramic artist Peter Hamann. Born in Nebraska in 1956, Hamann moved to Japan as a young adult to study Yabunouchi-style tea ceremony. His passion for Japanese culture led him to stay in Japan and pursue the ceramic arts, ultimately enabling him to teach Japanese ceremonial tea techniques and gain his Japanese citizenship. This exhibition showcases the stunning and innovative ceramic pieces that Hamann has refined over the decades, uniquely drawing upon his American roots and Japanese aesthetics.
On perfectly rounded spheres, delicate angular patterns are pressed into polished blue-white porcelain, visible to the eye and sensible to the touch but still unreal in their masterful execution. Hamann’s work falls into the category of kogei, functional ware that is celebrated for its beauty as much as for its utility. Because of his unusual position as an American ceramic master of this Japanese art form, Hamann has been able to expand the boundaries of kogei. He writes of his work that it, “reflects many things that Japanese people often say that no Japanese artists would ever think of or do, and yet at the same time, I am also a champion of the functional beauty of kogei, something I hope to always preserve in my pieces… The looseness of my work probably derives from my ‘American spirit,’ my willingness to improvise along with a strong desire to keep my porcelain pieces softer and more natural to make them interesting and active.”
The contrast of smooth circular forms with sharp geometric surface designs creates a tension that draws the eye around and across the form in continuous loops. Hamann intentionally creates this dynamic, noting that, “The shape itself and the carved pattern need to create motion, which is my prime objective, but the final piece must also have a degree of stability.” Hamann’s life experience itself, spanning continents and crossing cultural contexts, has also balanced motion and stability, setting the stage for his creative expression of this negotiation in clay. Integrating his native-born American sensibilities with his long-studied Japanese aesthetic awareness, Hamann creates simply perfected shapes that glimmer in blue-white glaze and porcelain possibility.
As former Director of the Milwaukee Museum of Art, Daniel T. Keegan, has said of Hamann’s work, “It is loaded with richness: a balance of form and subtlety; the careful melding of shape and surface treatment; stability yet weightlessness; clarity of color and a perfect fit of glaze to clay; a celadon blue as pure as morning light breaking thin through humid warm air in summer, pooling just right in creases and carvings resulting in translucence of form. But it is also a translucence of esthetic—sensual, rhythmic, precise, changing and poetic. Only a lifetime of study and the resulting mastery can bear these results.” Do not miss this opportunity to see such mastery made material.