Antiques & The Arts Weekly

Vessel Explored / Vessel Transformed - Tomimoto Kekichi and his Enduring Legacy

NEW YORK CITY - Joan B Mirviss with the assistance of Japan's modern ceramic dealer, Shibuya Kurodatoen Co, is presenting "Vessel Explored/Vessel Transformed: Tomimoto Kenkichi and His Enduring Legacy" from March 13 - April 20. This exhibition and its accompanying publication, the first of its type outside Japan, focuses on the artist and teacher Tomimoto Kenkichi.
 

While relative unknown in the west, Tomimoto is revered as the father of his field. He was the most significant figure in the world of Twentieth Century Japanese ceramics, and his impact continues through his former pupils and their students, many of whom are now professors of ceramics. Together they have transformed and surpassed the classical standard for functional ceramic excellence- devotion to the ancient Chinese traditions or allegiance to the late Sixteeneth Century Momoyama tea wares- and brought to their oeuvres a new, contemporary, and highly influential sensibility.

As a technical innovator and genius with surface decoration, Tomimoto Kenkichi was the founder of the ceramics department at Kyoto City University of Arts, which profoundly changed the direction for the next generation of clay artists. Tomimoto believed that patterns should never be reused and took inspiration from nature in order to keep his work fresh and new, often instructing his students, "For pattern, look to nature and its beauty- form, line and color. Study and understand how they are structured."

Not born into a traditional pottery family but educated in things western, having traveled in the West and befriended the major English ceramic artist Bernard Leach, Tomimoto had a much broader view of Japanese ceramics than many of his contemporaries. As a teacher, he expounded on the importance of individuality, originality and the confluence of forms and patterns. Throughout his life, he remained steadfast in his own beliefs and attempted to install these ethical values in his pupils.

The exhibition will showcase works by the teacher himself along with ceramics by his former pupils. The exhibition will showcase works by the teacher himself along with ceramics by his former pupils- artists and teachers in their own right- and their pupils. In all, some of the greatest stars of Japanese modern and contemporary ceramics will be on show.