What’s happening in Asian art

New exhibition at Joan B Mirviss LTD

June 28, 2021

Sugiura Yasuyoshi (b. 1949)  Magnolia Hypoleuca  2016  Glazed stoneware  8 5/8  x 18 1/8  x 18 1/2 in.

Summer Sculptures, at Joan B Mirviss LTD, showcases the many ways that earth, through fire, can appear to transform into completely different materials.  The featured artists take advantage of this elemental change to shape clay into strikingly inventive sculptures. Some go further in exploiting these unexpected transformations by adding textures or patterns to evoke wood, metal, rubber, glass, stone, or textile.

Through the use of a rare type of gray clay and multiple firings, Itō Tadashi (b.1952) creates sculptures that have the appearance of antique metal. The large geometric works of Imai Hyōe (b. 1951), with their hemispheres of concentric black bands, suggest the elasticity of rubber. Rectangular decorations in matte glazes on the tiered block form by Sawada Hayato (b. 1978) emphasize its wood-like appearance, as if it were hewn rather than molded.

Celadon glaze has long been prized for its translucent quality reminiscent of glass, a trait that Kino Satoshi (b. 1987), Minegishi Seikō (b. 1952), and Yagi Akira (b. 1955) highlight in their various light-catching sculptures.

Fujino Sachiko’s (b. 1950) background in textiles informs her approach to folding and pleating clay with the intricacy of fabric, which in her latest sculptures she employs to great effect.  And in a rare departure from her biomorphic forms, a recent work by Katsumata Chieko (b. 1950) looks like an encrusted stone pillar excavated from ancient ruins, an effect enhanced by its ridged monolithic form and textured gray surface.

Nowhere is the utter transformation of clay more evident, however, than in the flower forms of Sugiura Yasuyoshi (b. 1949). Sugiura’s stunning, oversized summer blooms appear complete with delicate petals, curling leaves, and individual stamen. His naturalistic sculptures point to the real mysteries that can arise from the earth, as each of our artists explore the endlessly surprising transformations possible in clay.

The exhibition can be viewed in the gallery and online here (https://www.mirviss.com/exhibitions/summer-sculptures)