Category: Japanese Ceramics

Art Out and About: Exhibits Across the US, Western Edition

If you are traveling in the next few months, there are interesting exhibitions on each coast and in states in between for you to attend. Here are offerings in the Western part of the US. We’ll add exhibitions in the East next week. First, at the Denver Art Museum in Colorado, there are three exhibitions of note:

Yasuhisa Kohyama ceramic

Ceramic 42, Yasuhisa Kohyama

From the Fire Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Robert and Lisa Kessler Collection (through October 1, 2017);

Tapas Bark Cloth art by Katherine Westphal

Top Dog, a contemporary work on bark, or tapas cloth by Katherine Westphal

Printed and Painted The Art of Bark Cloth (through August 27, 2017); and Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s–90s (through May 28, 2017). From the Fire includes work by Yasuhisa Kohyama, among other ceramicists. Tianlong Jiao, the Joseph de Heer Curator of Asian Art at the Museum traveled to Japan to visit these artists in advance of the exhibition. You can read about his trip here:

Mary Giles Basket

Men’s Ritual, Mary Giles

Lia Cook exhibit installation

Cerebral Touch: Lia Cook 1980-Now. Photo by Nancy Bavor

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, at 108 Contemporary, you’ll find Living With Art: the Newman Collection (through March 19th). In the exhibition, art objects from Rita and Don Newman’s eclectic collection, including works by Ed Rossbach and Mary Giles, are displayed alongside pieces of furniture owned by the couple. Further West, the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in California has turned itself over exclusively to weaving for the Spring, with four separate exhibitions. They include: American Tapestry Biennial (through April 16, 2017); Line DuFour: Fate Destiny and Self Determination (through April 16, 2017); Elemental Tapestry: Earth, Air Fire and Water — Tapestry Weavers West (through March 5, 2017); Embedded Patter: Three Approaches, Deborah Corsini, Alex Friedman, Michael Rohde (through April 17, 2017); and Cerebral Touch: Lia Cook 1980-Now (through April 16, 2017). Cerebral Touch traces Cook’s artistic journey from her abstract and dimensional pieces of the 1980s; weaving inspired by Old Masters drapery from her work during the 1990s; exploration of portraiture; and finally, work completed just weeks before this exhibition opened that explore the sensuality of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth.

Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach

Opens September 16th in Greenwich, Connecticut

Mary Yagi Outdoor Sculptor Art from Japan

Mariyo Yagi preparing her outdoor sculpture “A cycle- Infinity” for the upcoming exhibit in the US. Photo by Yuna Yagi

From September 16th to November 4, 2016, the Bendheim Gallery of the Greenwich Arts Council in Greenwich, Connecticut will present Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach, curated by browngrotta arts. The exhibition includes select works of ceramics, textiles, baskets and sculptures by artists from Japan, Korea and the United States that each reflect an Asian sensibility.

Textiles and Ceramic Art from Korea and Japan

Weaving by Chiyoko Tanaka, Ceramic by Yasuhisa Kohyama. Photo by Tom Grotta

Varied materials and techniques

The 23 artists in this exhibit have a close relationship to a traditional craft aesthetic, manifested in a contemporary manner. They have chosen conventionally Asian materials and/or techniques (dyes, papers, gold leaf, persimmon tannin, kategami) used in both time-honored and unconventional ways. Examples include studies by Hiroyuki Shindo of the vanishing art of natural indigo dyeing and by Jun Tomita on ikat dyeing.  Jennifer Linssen’s innovative sculptures of katagami and Keiji Nio’s Interlacing-R, which references complex Japanese sumihimo braiding reimagine conventional techniques. Masakazu and Naomi Kobayashi, Naoko Serino and Kyoko Kumai also create new relationships among disparate material and techniques.

Kiyomi Iwata Gold Mesh Sculpture

Auric Grid Fold, Kiyomi Iwata, aluminum mesh, french embroidery knots, gold leaf, silk organza, 19″ x 18″ x 10″, 2013. Photo by Tom Grotta

In other works, like Kiyomi Iwata’s Auric Gold Fold, Glen Kaufman’s Shimogamo Scrolls: Studio View II and Jin-Sook So, Pojagi Constructions I and II, gold and silver leaf play a role, their luster and longevity suggesting immortality, power, divinity. The artists share a concern for surface and material interaction, evident in Chiyoko Tanaka’s Grinded Fabric-Three Squares Blue Threads and Blue #689, of linen distressed with earth and stones, Hideho Tanaka’s Vanishing and Emerging series of stainless steel and singed paper and Mariyo Yagi’s twisted rope sculpture, A cycle-Infinity. The artists in Contemporary Art Influenced by Korea and Japan: An Unexpected Approach create work that is formal and contained while visibly involving the hand of the artist. This exhibition is a collaboration between the Greenwich Arts Council and browngrotta Arts.

The complete list of artists participating in this exhibition is:

Nancy Moore Bess (United States); Pat Campbell (United States); Kiyomi Iwata (Japan); Glen Kaufman (United States); Masakazu Kobayashi (Japan); Naomi Kobayashi (Japan); Yasuhisa Kohyama (Japan); Kyoko Kumai (Japan); Jennifer Falck Linssen (United States); Keiji Nio (Japan); Toshio Sekiji (Japan); Hisako Sekijima (Japan); Naoko Serino (Japan); Hiroyuki Shindo (Japan); Jin-Sook So (Korea/Sweden); Norkiko Takamiya (Japan); Chiyoko Tanaka (Japan); Hideho Tanaka (Japan); Takaaki Tanaka (Japan); Jun Tomita (Japan); Mariyo Yagi (Japan); Chang Yeonsoon (Korea); Jiro Yonezawa (Japan); Shin Young-ok (Korea).

The Bendheim Gallery is located at 299 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, Connecticut; 203.862.6750;

In Honor of Asia Week: Nine Japanese Artists

Asia Week New York 2013, March 15th to March 23rd is a nine-day celebration of Asian art throughout metropolitan New York, with exhibitions, auctions and special events presented by 43 leading international Asian art specialists, five major auction houses, and 17 museums and cultural institutions; Not going to be in New York this month? Not to worry, over the next few days, we’ll bring some striking examples of Asian art, more than two dozen works, in fact, to a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone near you. Here’s the first of four installments, featuring nine artists from Japan.

3D INTERSECTION II by Norie Hatekayama, photo by Tom Grotta

3D INTERSECTION II by Norie Hatekayama, photo by Tom Grotta

Norie Hatekayama (Japan)

Figure-Odd by Kazue Honma, photo by Tom Grotta

Figure-Odd by Kazue Honma, photo by Tom Grotta

Kazue Honma (Japan)

Groundwater by Mutsumi Iwasaki, photo by Tom Grotta

Groundwater by Mutsumi Iwasaki, photo by Tom Grotta

Mutsumi Iwasaki (Japan)

Aric Grid Hanging with Tank Twelve by Kiyomi Iwata, photo by Tom Grotta

Aric Grid Hanging with Tank Twelve by Kiyomi Iwata, photo by Tom Grotta

Kiyomi Iwata (Japan.United States)

Grove by Tamiko Kawata, photo by Tom Grotta

Grove by Tamiko Kawata, photo by Tom Grotta

Tamiko Kawata (Japan/United States)

Space Ship 2000 by Masakazu Kbayashi, photo by Tom Grotta

Space Ship 2000 by Masakazu Kbayashi, photo by Tom Grotta

Masakazu Kobayashi (Japan)

Untitled by Naomi Kobayashi, photo by Tom Grotta

Untitled by Naomi Kobayashi, photo by Tom Grotta

Naomi Kobayashi (Japan)

SAI by Yasuhisa Kohyama, photo by Tom Grotta

SAI by Yasuhisa Kohyama, photo by Tom Grotta

Yasuhisa Kohyama (Japan)

A Begining by Kyoko Kumai, photo by Tom Grotta

A Begining by Kyoko Kumai, photo by Tom Grotta

Kyoko Kumai (Japan)

Good Reads: Textiles, Tapestry and Ceramics

We’ve received three comprehensive and attractive books in the last few months, Textiles: The Whole Story, Uses, Meaning, SignificanceTapestry: A Woven Narrativeand Yasuhisa Kohyama: The Art of Ceramics, and we have enjoyed them all. (We know they are attractive and comprehensive, because they include artists whose work we represent and, in some cases, photographs by Tom.) 

Beverly Gordon, author of Textiles: The Whole Story, Uses, Meaning, Significance from Thames & Hudson, has an ambitious aim. “My intention” she writes, “is to shine new light on the light on the taken-for-granted but fascinating subject of the roles and meanings that textiles hold in cultures throughout the world. I hope to make it undeniably evident that to be human is to be involved with cloth.” To do that, she takes readers on a dizzying trip across centuries and continents and beyond, from the linen strips that cover a mummy in Egypt circa 150-175 CE. to the fluropolymers protecting an astronaut as he walks in space in this century, with stops at Betsy Ross in colonial America, Mohandas Gandhi in colonial India, women glass spinners in Murano, Italy in 1905 and the Renaissance, where women worked on textiles in groups, along the way. In sections covering textiles and human consciousness, human survival, social meaning, money, status and control, meaning and beauty and the spiritual significance of cloth, Gordon provides insights and information for anyone with an interest in textiles and all they entail.
Tapestry: A Woven Narrative also takes the long view, providing a general introduction to the state of artisan tapestry weaving in the 21st century by way of contextual essays outlining developments from the Middle Ages to the modern age. In addition to the essays,  the book also includes illustrated profiles of contemporary weavers, including Jo Barker, Sara Brennan and Sue Lawty — along with studio profiles of Dovecot and others. Tapestry: A Woven Narrative is available from browngrotta arts.

Also available from browngrotta arts is Yasuhisa Kohyama: The Art of Ceramics, which contains lush photos of dozens of Kohyama’s works as well as a foreword by Jack Lenor Larsen and essays by Susan Jefferies and others. What is important about Kohyama’s work, writes Jeffries, “is his embrace of contemporary life, and his bold and poetic use of line, mass  and form; he is fully aware of the sculptural possibilities available to him. A love of nature and a life-long interest in sculpture and architecture have also inspired his work.”

Save the Date: Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture this October

Helena Hernmarck, Jo Barker and Kiyomi Iwata are three of the artists participating Retro/Prospective 25+ Years of Art Textiles, photo by Tom Grotta

This fall we will present a catalog exhibition, Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture in Wilton, Connecticut from October 26th to November 4th to commemorate browngrotta arts’ 25 years promoting international contemporary art. The comprehensive exhibition will look at the past and future of the art textile movement, and as always, include related works in ceramics and wood and mixed media. There will be works in the exhibition by pioneers of the contemporary textile art and sculpture movement and there will be current work by established and emerging artists, to explain where the movement is now and provide a sense of what’s ahead.

Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles, work by John McQueen, Sue Lawty
photo by Tom Grotta

The artworks selected by browngrotta arts for Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture express a powerful sensibility. John McQueen was persuaded to take the dramatic sculpture, Centered, begun in 2007, from his personal collection and place it on display. Naoko Serino’s ethereal Generating 12 is from her most current body of work. Sue Lawty’s Calculus is a contemplation made of thousands of tiny stones, from a series she began as artist in residence at the V&A, While Chris Drury’s Roussillon I, takes viewers on a visual adventure by combining rubbed ochre on paper and a woven map.

The artists in Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture come from a wide range of countries and art  backgrounds. They utilize diverse materials and techniques. Some, like Lia Cook and Gyöngy Laky from the US, are mid-career artists who have achieved international recognition. Others, like Laura Thomas of the UK, Jennifer Falck Linssen of the US and recent graduate Stéphanie Jacques of Belgium, are emerging talents. The work of others, like Chang Yeonsoon, 2008 Artist of the Year at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea and Grethe Sorensen of Denmark, has been celebrated abroad, but only rarely shown in the United States. The exhibition will also include artists whose work complements our art textile emphasis, including sculptor Lawrence LaBianca and ceramicist Yasuhisa Kohyama.

GENERATING 12 by Naoko Serino, photo by Tom Grotta

The Artists Reception and Opening for Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture will be held Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at browngrotta arts, 276 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, Connecticut. From October 28th through November 4th, the exhibition will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 203-834-0623; email: or visit A catalog will accompany the exhibit and be available after the opening.

25 at 25 at SOFA NY Countdown: Yasuhisa Kohyama


SUEMONO by Yasuhisa Kohyama, photo by Tom Grotta

 At SOFA NY 2012, browngrotta arts will exhibit several pieces by ceramicist Yasuhisa Kohyama including Suemono. Suemono means ancient ceramic. Kohyama has nicknamed this piece “Dogu.” A dogu is an ancient Japanese clay figure, an earthen doll, made during the Jomon period.The artist made the archetypal piece in this shape in 1984 and returned to it in 2009. In the late 1960s, Kohyama was a pioneer in the revival of the Shigaraki region’s ancient ceramic traditions. As Robert Yellin described in the Japan Times (April 10, 2002), Kohyama draws inspiration from  ancient Japanese wares, “in a vital and energetic way, creating original sculptured forms that pay homage to his ceramic roots without being carbon copies of them.” Yellin gave an example, Kohyama’s triangular works with sharp wavy edges.

SUEMONO by Yasuhisa Kohyama, photo by Tom Grotta

“These have no decoration, only the warmth of their own muted orange clay. This allows the form of each to ‘speak,’ as if in a bold whisper. These works lack the ornate decoration of their distant Jomon cousins, fired 10,000 years ago, yet share something of the same verve and temperament. This also goes for Kohyama’s gray, vertical pieces that hark back to the fifth-12th century sueki wares — the first Japanese pots fired in an anagama (a single-chambered tunnel kiln). Introduced via Korea, the anagama reshaped the Japanese ceramic scene.” Kohyama’s work is in the collections of leading museums around the world, including the Museum of Arts and Crafts Hamburg, the Musée National de Ceramique, Sèvres, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This July will see the publication of Yasuhisa Kohyama: The Art of Ceramics (Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart, Germany).


Guest Post Alert: Kim Schuefftan


Yasuo Terada and his son Teppie with Carol in front of their 14 chamber noborigama which they are currently building in Seto.Looking down from the top of the 14 chamber noborigama kiln of Yasuo and Teppie Terada.

Kim Schuefftan’s third Guest Post is up. To read FOR THE LOVE OF CLAY, click Guest Posts above.


Artist News: Yasuhisa Kohyama

Yasuhisa Kohyama Ceramics, photo by Tom Grotta

Among the artists whose work browngrotta arts will feature at SOFA West 2010 in Santa Fe this July 7th-11th is ceramicist, Yasuhisa Kohyama of Japan. Kohyama, a renowned Shigaraki potter who uses ancient techniques to explore new forms, gained widespread attention in Japan in the 60s when he built one of the first anagama kilns since medieval times. The Tokyo exhibition of works from the first firing of the anagama created widespread interest in Kohyama’s work, with famous potters such as Shoji Hamada visiting the exhibition. Collectors and museums were quick to acquire his works, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Gardiner Museum of Art in Toronto, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Art and Craft in Hamburg and the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shiga, Japan.

Kohyama’s work graces the cover of Contemporary Clay: Japanese Ceramics for the New Century
collectors Alice and Halsey North and curator Joe Earle.






SAI by Yasuhisa Kohyama, photo by Ikko Nagano

“…[F]orm is the aspect of Kohyama’s work that most impresses the viewer,” Robert Yellin wrote in the Japan Times. “Some pieces are curled up slabs with an ‘inner sanctum.’ Others are broad expanses with wavy sides where their creator sliced them like a wedge of cheese. In these pieces we can see the radiance of Shigaraki clay: one side pitted with quartz stones, the other face matte, sharkskin-textured. A few do balancing acts, looking as if they might topple over at any time; others resemble clay wings, in which we can ‘feel’ the wind. His sake flasks are in a kamo-dokkuri (duck form), although they actually look more like turtles. They also make the most fabulous ‘tok-tok-tok’ sound when sake is poured from them, and as any sake vessel connoisseur knows, such an accent is of utmost importance.

The artist will attend the opening of SOFA West 2010 on July 7th.

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Yasuhisa Kohyama, Japanese Pottery, Shigaraki potter, SOFA West