While a work that has been wood-fired may not exhibit some of the anticipated kiln effects, all of the pieces in the exhibition have been the result of meticulous, long-standing processes. Iga works by FUJIOKA SHUHEI (b. 1947) exhibit brilliant emerald pools in crags and crevices with an occasional, protruding green-glass orb, all the result of accumulating natural ash from within the kiln. The surface colors of KAKUREZAKI RYŪICHI’s (b. 1950) Bizen stoneware forms evoke the flames from whence they were born, echoing the flickering colors of fire. The natural wood-fired coloration is used to accentuate the radical forms of his artwork. Although from the traditional ceramic center of Tokoname, KOIE RYŌJI (b. 1938) is best known as a highly original ceramist who is also admired as one of the most versatile and forward-thinking of Japan’s contemporary artists. HORI ICHIRŌ (b. 1952) produces shino ware with thick, creamy glazes, the result of longer and lower-heat firings. Hori fires his kilns just twice a year, creating forms that emerge after long periods of contemplation. All of the artists represented in the show create works of tremendous vitality and range, providing for a view into the long and rich tradition of Japanese wood-fired ceramics.
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