Sometimes the most compelling art is created by a collision-- of old with the new, of individual beliefs with societal norms, or a community with the larger context in which it lives. Contemporary Japanese ceramics fascinate their viewers for many reasons but often because of the tension between the veneration of deeply-rooted traditional practice and the equally imperative desire to innovate. There are very few art forms where the wonder and burden of the past is so apparent, yet simultaneously the opportunity of the present so evident. The result can be a reconciliation of past and present, a struggle that brings insight and perhaps a metaphor for a way forward in a changing, technology-driven world.
In 2018, the Gardiner Museum is celebrating a Year of Japan by presenting three vignettes of exceptional contemporary Japanese ceramics: Form + Function, Surface, and Female Masters. We are grateful to Joan B Mirviss for curating the work of thirty remarkable Japanese artists to create these exhibitions. Her connoisseurship has produced a unique perspective of Japan Now.