Exhibition Dates: April 18 – May 26, 2018
Location: Onishi Gallery, 521 W. 26th Street, New York City
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm
Onishi Gallery is proud to present Passions in Clay, a stunning exhibition featuring three renowned Japanese ceramic artists: Konno Tomoko, Ohi Toshio Chozaemon XI, and Ito Sekisui V. Depicting an astonishing range of form and function, the exhibited pieces embody abstract and earthly identities through the use of vivid color, polished form, and raw passion. Meticulous hand-built sculptures and refined, round vessels demonstrate the reaches of human achievement in the ceramic arts.
Konno Tomoko (b. 1967), born in Akita Prefecture, Japan, has studied and creates ceramic artworks in several cities across the world, including the ancient Japanese pottery town of Tokoname, Bali, Hong Kong and Bangkok. She creates wild sculptural forms out of colored porcelain, shaping them to resemble exotic plants and sea creatures that conjure wonder, beauty, and fright. The distinct features of her work are vibrant colors and meticulous detailing created by using the nerikomi technique. Konno is partial to this technique because it makes her feel as if she is painting with clay itself. Konno aims to express the power of living things through her art, and is one of a prominent new generation of female ceramicists working in Japan today. Konno has won prestigious awards including the 30th Tokoname Chōza Award and a bronze award at The 9th International Ceramics Competition in Mino in 2011.
Ohi Toshio Chozaemon XI (b. 1958) inherited an artistic tradition that dates back to 1666, when the first Ohi-ware potter began crafting ceramic works near Kanazawa for use in tea ceremonies. Toshio is the 11th generation of this historic lineage and he shows the characteristically lustrous effects of Ohi-ware in his bowls and complementary items for Japanese tea ceremonies, with a vast range of works both utilitarian and artistic. Angular in shape, soft in color, and balancing on the narrowest of feet, his vessels imbue their spaces with grace, surprise, and beauty. In recent years, Toshio’s work has embraced traditional characteristics of Ohi-ware while subtly asserting his individual character and creative stamp. His sharp forms and nuanced colors are the result of both the long Ohi-ware tradition and his own inspirational journeys all over the world.
Itō Sekisui V (b. 1941) is a 14th generation ceramic potter, recognized for his work in mumyōi in 2003 through his designation as one of Japan’s “Living National Treasures.” Mumyōi is a reddish brown, ferric oxide clay extracted from gold mines native to Sado Island in Niigata prefecture where the artist was born. After completing ceramic studies at Kyoto Technical University, Itō returned to Sado Island to experiment with mumyōi and create his signature aesthetic: red on black. Itō is also known for neriage ware characterized by delicate patterns and created by layering and patching clay of different reddish brown tones. To bring out the vibrancy of the red, Itō does not apply glazes, but rather, uses different flame streams inside a wood-fired kiln, a firing technique known as yōhen. The areas directly hit by the flames create a black hue. Itō has been the recipient of many prestigious awards and continues to experiment with many techniques. In 2005, he received the Medal with Purple Ribbon and in 2011, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, from the Emperor of Japan.
This exhibition presents new expressions of ancient Japanese ceramic arts by visionaries who span generations and styles and should not be missed.