"Now on view at Joan Mirviss Gallery are "The French Connection: Five Japanese Women Ceramicists and a Passion for France" and "Guided by the Brush". The exhibits present the work of five leading female ceramic artists and the work of a 99 year-old calligrapher and painter whose worldwide successes stand out in their male-dominated fields. The show runs through August 3rd at the Upper East Side Gallery.
"Breaking away from the traditional societal restrictions on careers in their native Japan, these women sculptors have become celebrated artists: Futamura Yoshimi (b. 1959 in Nagoya), Katsumata Chieko (b. 1950 in Shizuoka), Nagasawa Setsuko (b. 1941 in Kyoto), Ogawa Machiko (b. 1946 in Sapporo), Sakurai Yasuko (b. 1969 in Kyoto).
"The exhibit examines creativity and independence in Japanese calligraphy and painting through the eyes of the doyenne of Japanese Abstract Expressionism. Pioneering new forms and shapes in clay and on paper, these remarkable women have established themselves in the global art market as a reflection of the movement and changes occurring in Japanese art and society over the past three generations.
"Given the formality within the ceramic tradition in Japan, the relative openness pervasive in the French art world and its lack of gender bias held the allure of freedom for many Japanese women artists, and these five Japanese women participating in this show received classical training in clay but also developed their craft through studies in France.
"Each artist sought to make France a major central component in her artistic evolution and life, which in turn has ultimately led to international recognition.
"These artists are masters of their medium and confront tradition while remaining true to the clay, exploiting its flexibility and suppleness in arresting ways, using clay as a way to flaunt the limitations of their medium or defy it altogether. As a result, they have given Japanese ceramics worldwide, collectible appeal. Their works are in major museum collections across the globe.
"Joan Mirviss is a distinguished expert in Japanese art, specializing in prints, paintings, screens and ceramics for more than thirty-five years. She is the leading Western dealer in the field of modern and contemporary Japanese ceramics and from her eponymous gallery on Madison Avenue she exclusively represents the top Japanese clay artists. As a widely published and highly respected specialist in her field, Joan Mirviss has advised and built collections for many museums, major private collectors and corporations."
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