Zoom Gallery Talk
Eternal Currents: The Tidal Impact of Japanese Women Clay Artists and Charting a Course for the Future
Thursday, December 8th at 5pm ET
Click here to register for the event
The massive surge in innovation and international stature of Japan's contemporary ceramic arts can be traced to the rapid incorporation of women into the field in just the past few decades. Once they were finally allowed to get their hands in clay, women artists have provided a burst of creative energy that has pushed the medium into unexpected directions.
To discuss the sea change in Japan's venerated centuries-old, male-dominated ceramic tradition, gallery artist Hayashi Kaku will be joined by Professor Todate Kazuko, a highly respected scholar of Japanese ceramics, and collector and museum patron, Dr. Mina Levin. Curator Russell Kelty, who recently organized a Japanese sculptural ceramics exhibition in Australia, will offer his own observations. Each panelist will examine, from their unique perspective, the unstoppable tide of creative talent from Japanese women clay artists, and at the same time reflect upon the accompanying challenges for them in charting a course through unknown waters.
HAYASHI KAKU, artist
RUSSELL KELTY, Curator, Asian Art at Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
MINA LEVIN, Japanese clay art collector and museum patron based in North Carolina
TODATE KAZUKO, Professor at Tama Art University, Tokyo and scholar of ceramics
Moderated by JOAN MIRVISS
Eternal Currents marks the first solo exhibition outside Japan for highly respected and influential ceramic artist Hayashi Kaku. After decades of exploring clay's malleability, Hayashi has created confidently formed sculptures covered in strongly contrasting glazes that express the elemental force of Nature. Her latest dynamic series, created exclusively for this exhibition, draw inspiration from the majestic and spiritually significant Kegon waterfall in Nikko that has been celebrated by Japanese artists since antiquity. Located near her home and studio in Tochigi Prefecture, the waterfall and surrounding landscape have long been a source of inspiration for her artistic practice. More recently, she has imbued these works with a renewed vigor despite the isolation and uncertainty of the past few years. Through expressive clay sculptures, Hayashi Kaku explores both the variable and immovable forces ever-present in Nature in her powerful international debut at Joan B Mirviss LTD.
HAYASHI Kaku (b. 1953) investigates the very essence of clay by challenging its flexibility and forcing it to conform to her direction in a time-consuming, physically demanding, hand-building process. Some of her works appear as deceptively simple slabs until their dynamic complexity is quickly revealed. Curving or undulating standing sculptures are accentuated by her distinctive carved linear patterning that evoke wind and water. These alternating striations ripple along the surfaces and are highlighted by gradations of iron-red or turquoise and yellow glazes. She finishes her surface decoration with abstract painterly designs, often in metallic glazes, that convey an overall liveliness that complements the form. About this exhibition, Hayashi Kaku says:
"We Japanese have a saying, 'Tomorrow brings tomorrow's winds,' which means, 'Tomorrow is another day.' I earnestly wish that tomorrow's wind will be one of hope. In my latest work, I tried to express that 'hope' and 'prayer' in different ways."
- Hayashi Kaku
A graduate of Tokyo University of the Arts, Hayashi Kaku was a student under Living National Treasures Fujimoto Yoshimichi Nōdō (1919-1992) and Tamura Kōichi (1918-1987). For decades she was a professor at Bunsei University of Art in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, where she developed their ceramics program from its inception; now she serves as Professor Emerita. Recognized in Japan with notable awards and exhibitions throughout her long career, Hayashi is not only a visionary artist but also an intrepid ceramic researcher. During her professorship, her research team discovered a novel firing technique that was later patented—an unusual distinction for an arts university.
A crowning achievement for the artist was a commission for a large, multi-paneled, wall installation at the newly renovated Mibu City Hall in Tochigi Prefecture, which was finally unveiled in 2022. Her work has been exhibited in major international exhibitions such as Soaring Voices – Contemporary Japanese Women Ceramic Artists (2007-12), which traveled to museums worldwide; and New Forms, New Voices: Japanese Ceramics from the Gitter-Yelen Collection, which was exhibited at the New Orleans Museum of Art (2017-18). Opening next year at the Art Institute of Chicago, a Japanese women clay artists exhibition will travel to museums across the US and will feature her work.
Hayashi Kaku's work can be found in the collections of many museums worldwide, including: Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, China; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Shiga, Japan; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
ABOUT JOAN B MIRVISS LTD
With more than forty-five years of experience, Joan B. Mirviss remains a pillar in the field of Japanese art. As a dealer, scholar, curator, and advisor, she has been the driving force championing the top Japanese clay artists, who she represents exclusively, and whose works she has placed in major museums around the globe. Widely published as a highly respected expert, Mirviss has built many institutional and private collections of Japanese art. JOAN B MIRVISS LTD exhibits modern and contemporary Japanese ceramics, ukiyo-e, and Japanese paintings in a Madison Avenue gallery in New York City. For more information, please contact us at 212-799-4021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.