Contemporary Japanese Arts in Porcelain
Exhibition dates: October 25 – November 10, 2018
Onishi Gallery, 521 W 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
With the changing of the seasons, the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder. To bring some warmth, come bask in the pure whites and cool blues of pristine porcelain crafted from our various represented artists, which display an array of techniques from many different backgrounds. From Living National Treasure artists to trend-setting contemporary ones, Onishi Gallery strives to share ceramic works from the traditional to the modern.
Tokuda Yasokichi III (1933 – 2009), Living National Treasure artist, was one of the world’s most famous Kutani potters. Born in Ishikawa prefecture, he was designated a Living National Treasure in 1997 for his mastery of the saiyu glaze technique. Yasokichi III was the one responsible for innovating this glaze technique which was based on traditional Kutani colored glaze enamels. He developed techniques handed down from his grandfather, Tokuda Yasokichi I (1873–1956) and later, his father, Tokuda Yasokichi II (1907–1997). Through his saiyu glaze (vivid enamel glaze) technique, Yasokichi III created his own designs characterized by delicate shading and beautiful color contrasts. His honors include the acceptance into The Issui-kai Pottery and Porcelain Exhibition (1958), and multiple prizes such as the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Association Chairman’s Award (1977), the Grand Prize of The International Pottery and Porcelain Exhibition (1990), and the Medal with Purple Ribbon given by the Emperor of Japan (1993).
Maeta Akihiro (b. 1954), Living National Treasure artist, is a highly influential artist and is considered the leading white porcelain ceramicist of his generation. Maeta does not form his pieces on a potter’s wheel, but uses the wheel only for the initial throw of his works. He forms the faceted designs of his pottery by hand, through free form sculpting and molding with just his fingers and palms. Then, prior to the glazing process, he uses a single blade to trim and erase any traces or marks of his hand. Finally, the works are fired in a relatively low temperature gas kiln. The resulting white porcelain sculptures are elegant tributes to simple beauty without excess. His porcelain works are uniquely pure, serene, and perfect. In 2007, he received the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Emperor of Japan.
Nakashima Hiroshi (1941-2018), Living National Treasure artist, was born in Takeo City, Saga Prefecture in 1941 and at the age of 28, established his own kiln and became an independent potter. In 1977, he received honorable mention in The Japan Traditional Applied Fine Arts Exhibition, and in 1981, he received the Prime Minister's Award at The First Annual Western Japan Ceramic Fair. Following the awards given to him in 2006 by The Japan Potter's Association, the very next year, in 2007, he was designated a Living National Treasure, receiving the highest honor awarded to a ceramic artists in Japan. His celadon works are highly sought after and he has received great praise for his unique style of ceramic works known as "Nakashima Blue."
Peter Hamann (b. 1956) was born on May 8, 1956 in Basset, Nebraska. He attended a workshop under Warren McKenzie and Jack Troy, in Bethany College in Bethany, Kansas in the summer of 1977 and in 1978, he graduated with a B.A. in Art from Graceland College, Lamoni, Iowa, where he has received the Certificate of Outstanding Achievement in Art. He took residency in Sasayama, Japan in 1982, where his passion for Japanese culture led him to study Yabunouchi-style tea ceremony under Master Chikuyuu Fukuda (Zuichikuan) from 1988 to present. Peter then received a Certificate of Graduation from the Tekisui Museum in Ashiya, Japan in 1988, which was a full-time, two year course in Ceramics. In addition to this course, he was a research student for three years. Later in 2010, Peter obtained his license to teach ceremonial tea techniques and in 2015, Peter gained Japanese citizenship, and took the Japanese name of ‘Sougen Itani.’ His artist memberships include - National Member of Japan Kōgei Association, Member of Japan Ceramic Art Association, Member of Shinsho Crafts Association, and Member of Kyoto Craft Art Creators Union.
Konno Tomoko (b. 1967) in Akita Prefecture, Japan, studied and creates her art all around the world including the pottery town of Tokoname, Japan, Bali, and Hong Kong. She is often surrounded by many botanical forms, which serve as the inspiration for her work. Her art “just seems to materialize from nowhere.” Some of the distinct features in her work are the fresh colors, meticulous detailing, and dynamic flow created with the nerikomi technique. The artist prefers this technique and feels that this way is more natural and allows her to express her energy. One of the prominent new generations of Japanese female ceramicists today, she creates a new trend of contemporary ceramics worldwide. Konno has won many awards in recent years, such as first prize in The 30th Tokoname Chōza Awards and a bronze award at The 9th International Ceramics Competition in Mino, both in 2011. Her work was also selected in 2013 for The 58th Premio Faenza in Italy.