In art’s dialogue between tradition and innovation, Kishi Eiko’s conversation is increasingly profound and personal, extending well beyond a narrow exchange with inherited Japanese ceramic traditions.
-Jeffrey Hantover, noted writer on Asian culture and art
Like many other Japanese women clay artists, Kishi Eiko (b. 1948) long ago abandoned function and focused her attention on pure sculpture. Her current body of work reflects a major change from her previous powerful, theatrically inspired Nōkata series. Echoing the landscape of her Kyoto neighborhood, Kishi now draws upon the architecture of the nearby, celebrated ancient temples and shrines, with their bracketed eaves, sloping roof lines, rhythmic tile patterns and dry gardens.
Kishi’s process is unique and complicated. Initially she prepares her grog or chamotte in more than ten colors and mixes it with clay for hand-building her forms. Once hardened, she then inscribes linear patterning onto the sculpture’s surfaces. Using a tiny needle, she punctuates holes through which the colored chamotte particles rise during the heat of the firing process. Finally, a pale blue slip is applied to the textured surface and the piece is fired a second time. The resulting pebbled surface resembles woven textiles, reflecting the artist’s earlier interest in weaving.
Kishi has exhibited her work internationally in Japan, the US and Europe, consistently winning acclaim and awards since 1984. In 2001 she had the rare honor of having a solo exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Major examples of her work may be found in many private and public collections including: the International Ceramic Museum, Faenza, Italy; Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY; Musée Cernuschi, Paris, France; Musée nationale de céramiques, Sèvres, France; National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK; New Orleans Museum of Art, LA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.
About JOAN B MIRVISS LTD
Joan B. Mirviss is the leading Western dealer in the field of modern and contemporary Japanese ceramics, and from her New York gallery on Madison Avenue, JOAN B MIRVISS LTD exclusively represents the top Japanese clay artists. As a widely published and highly respected specialist in her field for over thirty-five years, Mirviss has advised and built collections for many museums, major private collectors, and corporations.
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