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Surpassing Tradition, Redefining Hagi: KANETA MASANAO November 5 – December 20, 2019

KANETA Masanao (b. 1953) creates dramatic, powerful ceramics that evoke the sweeping curves, sharp peaks, deep gorges and snow-covered crags of a mountain landscape reminiscent of his home in Hagi, Japan. The town of Hagi has been a major ceramic center in Japan since the arrival of Korean potters over four hundred years ago.  Hagi wares have been celebrated for centuries for their refined forms, irregular textures and subtle glazes which often "bead" or "crawl" during the firing.

An eighth-generation Hagi master potter and innovator, Kaneta created a sculptural oeuvre that remains grounded in functionality. Due to his early training as a sculptor, his forms have a strong and dramatic presence that sets them apart from works by other artists working in this traditional ceramic center.  

"His work can be seen as a marriage of possibilities, breathing new life into traditional forms and bringing the richness of heritage to sculptural pursuits."

                                                                              - Susie J. Silber, Curator, The Corning Museum of Glass & independent critic

Using centuries-old glazes, Kaneta creates unique and readily identifiable functional and non-functional sculptural forms. He first paddles the clay into a rough shape. Then he employs his signature technique of kuri-nuki, in which he digs or scoops-out a form from the clay mass.  As a master of the noborigama or multi-chambered climbing kiln, he is also able to achieve a remarkable range of coloration and kiln effects on each piece, For Kaneta, the scooped-out clay form with its ridgelines becomes complete only with the power imbued by the firing process. The resulting ceramics strike a masterful balance between form and surface. Whether they are sculptures, vases, waterjars or teabowls – each a unique but commanding presence. Kaneko Kenji, Director of the Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum, believes  Kaneta's works " are strong, masculine forms that are flexible in tone….. no longer focused on satisfying the characteristics of a concept- a flower vase for example. They have transcended such concerns." 

Joan B Mirviss LTD is excited to present our third solo exhibition by this formidable clay artist. His work is found in the collections of over twenty international museums including that of The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Kaneta will present fifteen new works created specifically for Surpassing Tradition: Redefining Hagi. His push-pull between form and surface, function and sculpture, innovative technique and traditional glaze will be spectacularly on view. The exhibition opens November 5and will run through December 20, 2019.