Clay in Motion: Women Artists in Japanese Ceramics is on view at Dai Ichi Arts, New York
July 20 – August 18, 2023
Dai Ichi Arts is delighted to present the summer exhibition “Clay in Motion: Women Artists in Japanese Ceramics”. This group spotlights the works of several distinguished contemporary women artists. From emerging artists to artists who are part of a vanguard generation of highly influential post-war artists in Japan, the works presented in this exhibition are imbued with intelligence, creativity, and sensitivity for form. The title “Clay in Motion” points to the innovative
contemporary Japanese ceramic industry that moves ever-forwards, taking the clay medium to new heights.
In Japan, women had historically previously only been able to work in supporting capacities within the ceramic industry, up until the 20th century. The idea of an individual artist as a professional category was further complicated by the widespread popularization of the anonymous craftsman: the notion of individualistic authorship behind a ceramic work was not widespread practice until relatively recently. It was only after the Second World War that the ceramic industry saw a robust growth in female potters who were artists in their own right. The 1960s onwards in particular experienced an increase in the number of women potters who practiced in their own studios and who had founded their own kilns in Japan. From then, the influence of women in the field of Japanese contemporary ceramics grew exponentially.
The idea that the definition of an artwork encompasses any perceptible body of fired clay permeated the Japanese pottery industry in the mid-twentieth century. The pioneering artist Yagi Kazuo had observed that pottery had evolved from something utilitarian- to be handled, touched, and used in quotidian life- to a perceptible object to be seen. This isolation of the optical quality of ceramic objects was canonized in the 1950s with the genre “Obuje-Yaki オブジェ焼” (the Kiln-Fired Object), in reference to the “Objet d’art”. Women potters in Japan are at the forefront of this sculptural ceramic category in Japan in the 21st century.
Thus, we see sculptural artists such as Tashima Etsuko and Ayumi Shigemastu pushing the boundaries of sculptural clay, exploring concepts such as tactility and materiality while honoring traditional Japanese ceramic traditions. Matsuda Yuriko and Oishi Sayaka explore ceramic surfaces and how decoration may convey memory, emotion, and more. On the other hand, artists such as Watanabe Aiko, Ogawa Machiko and Kitamura Junko explore the functional vessel and its potential for craft expression.
We warmly invite you this summer to explore the range of ceramic art that women artists produce in the field of Japanese contemporary ceramics.
Please note that all Japanese names are provided above in Japanese sequence with family name first, and given name second.
Artists shown (given name first, family name second): Ayumi Shigematsu, Junko Kitamura, Sayaka Oishi, Etsuko Tashima, YU Tanaka, Aiko Watanabe, Machiko Ogawa, Kazuyo Hiruma, Kasumi Ueba, Sayaka Shingu, Eiko Kishi, Yuriko Matsuda
Dai Ichi Arts Ltd.
18 East 64th Street, Suite 1F
New York, NY 10065
- Oishi Sayaka 大石早矢香, Sensitive Apple – Black & white, Stoneware, Exhibited at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 2023, H9.0″ x W7.8″ x D7.4
- Oishi Sayaka 大石早矢香, Sensitive Apple – New era, 2023, With Signed Wood Box, Stoneware, H9.0″ x W7.8″ x D7.4″
- Shigematsu Ayumi 重松あゆみ, Yellow Jomon, 2018, Stoneware, H12.7″ x W11.0″ x D10.4″
- Shigematsu Ayumi 重松あゆみ, Jomon Spiral, 2015, Stoneware, H14.5″ x W12.5″ x D13.9″
- Kitamura Junko 北村純子, Vessel, 2022, With Signed Wood Box, Stoneware, H13″ x Dia 11.5″
- Tashima Etsuko 田嶋悦子, Cornucopia 09-Y12, 2009, Stoneware Glass, H8.6″ x W16.5″ x D14.1″
- Shingu Sayaka 新宮さやか, No.18 Erosion, 2022, With Signed Wood Box, Mixed Clay with Glaze and Slip, H4.3″x W6.5″x D5.9″
- Tanaka Yu 田中悠, Tsutsumimono, With Signed Wood Box, Stoneware, H6.5″ x W7.5″ x D6″
- Kishi Eiko 岸 映子, Flower Vessel, With Signed Wood Box, Stoneware with coloured chamotte and glaze