ZOOM Gallery Talk
Shigaraki: Contemporary Artists on an Ancient Tradition
Recorded Thursday, February 23, 2023
Known for its distinctive clay and beautiful natural ash glazes, Shigaraki ware is one of Japan’s celebrated ceramic traditions. As one of Japan’s Six Ancient Kiln sites, Shigaraki has long produced functional vessels with a characteristic rustic appearance in warm, earthy tones. This enormously appealing tradition found a new audience with American artists and collectors in the past few decades, thereby expanding our idea of Shigaraki-yaki’s possibilities. Curator Natsu Oyobe shares this remarkable crossover story, which is the subject of her current exhibition, “Clay as Soft Power.” She will be joined by artists who will offer key insights into their process of working in this fascinating medium: Shiga-based Ōtani Shirō, a leader in wood-fired ceramics and designated an Intangible Cultural Asset, and American artist Peter Callas, whose originality has pushed the field in new directions and has been twice awarded the Pollock-Krasner Fellowship. Japanese ceramic artists Hitomi and Takuro Shibata, originally from Shiga and now based in North Carolina, US, further bridge two clay cultures.
Together, they provide an extraordinarily modern view of Shigaraki ware in the 21st century.
Eminent ceramics scholar Louise Cort, who wrote the book on the subject, will provide additional unique insights drawn from her long study of and experience in the field.
Peter Callas, artist
Hitomi and Takuro Shibata, artists
Ōtani Shirō, artist
Natsu Oyobe, Curator of Asian Art, University of Michigan Museum of Art, MI
with Louise Cort, Curator Emerita of Ceramics, Freer | Sackler, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
moderated by Joan Mirviss