Asia Week March 2013

On the special occasion of Asia Week New York 2013, Onishi Gallery invites TOBI, a newly established ceramic arts organization based in Japan, to collaborate on a dual exhibition that features a range of established and young artists. Onishi Gallery’s annual “Heritage” show, this year entitled, “Heritage 2013: Japanese Works of Art by Contemporary Artists,” will be accompanied by TOBI’s first international exhibition, “Contemporary Japanese Ceramics: Sakaida Kakiemon XIV, Yoshita MInori, Imaizumi Imaemon XIV and Other Masters from TOBI.” These side-by-side exhibits in galleries 1 and 2 of Friedman Vallois LLC, 27 East 67 Street, New York City, will together display over 50 masterpieces by 25 of Japan’s foremost artists.

Onishi Gallery’s “Heritage” show presents contemporary Japanese artwork in a diversity of media including ceramics, metal, glass, calligraphy, and painting. Together this year, Onishi Gallery and TOBI bring to this annual presentation the work of a range of ceramic artists, including that of four of Japan’s “Living National Treasures”— Nakagawa Mamoru, Sakaida Kakiemon XIV, Tokuda Yasokichi III and Yoshita Minori—artists designated by the Japanese government as holders of valuable intangible cultural property for carrying on a historic legacy through their art and craft. The pairing of established and emerging artists will facilitate a dynamic interchange between Japanese artists and their American counterparts.

The dual exhibition will also distinctly feature three father/child pairs of artists: Tokuda Yasokichi III and IV, Yoshita Minori and Yukio, and Shomura Ken and Hisaki. Exhibited side by side, the works of father and son/daughter, master and pupil, demonstrate how cultural heritage is transmitted from one generation to the next. Tokuda Yasokichi III’s works feature his trademark starburst effect of brilliant glazes, which have been recognized widely and shown in numerous prestigious museums including the British Museum,
the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution. His daughter’s remarkable sensitivity as a female artist offers a singular perspective on tradition that is reflected in her diverse color palette and unique interpretation of form.

Yoshita Minori, regarded as the leading figure in the field of gold colored porcelain in Japan, was honored the Medal of Purple Ribbon and designated a Living National Treasure in 2001. His son Yukio takes a delicate approach to balancing the traditional gold-leaf technology with artistic expressions of faded pastel shades and blurred abstract patterns, techniques borrowed from
western styles. The innovative development of traditional art by this younger generation is experimental, disturbing, and challenging—exactly in line with their fathers’ endeavors to move history forward.
Both Sakaida Kakiemon XIV and Imaizumi Imaemon XIV are the current 14th generation heads of their ceramic families. Designated as a Living National Treasure in 2001, Sakaida Kakiemon XIV is the current Chairman of TOBI and of the Ceramic Art Society of Japan. Their works stand as evidence that they have breathed new life into traditional arts that have been passed down in their families since the mid-17th century, now infused with personal developments formed in the modern era. Born into a craft family with a lifelong dedication to produce, a deep passion, and a disciplined freedom, they have forged the continuous prosperity of Japanese culture.

Founded in 2012, TOBI is a cutting-edge ceramic art organization with over 100 members and led by six Living National Treasures. It developed out of the Ceramic Department of Issuikai, one of the most prestigious art organizations in Japan with a 75-year history, and which blossomed for decades under the leadership of Tokuda Yasokichi III, the world’s most famous Kutani potter. In 1993, Tokuda advocated the donation of 30 ceramic pieces to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution — a
bequest that became the basis of their world-famous collection of contemporary Japanese ceramics. Aimed at expanding its presence in the global cultural environment, TOBI places the concepts of “inheritance” and “creation” at the core of its mission to broaden the cultural tradition and transmit it to the next generation.
Onishi Gallery is newly affiliated with the Japanese Art Dealers Association (JADA), opening up a wider cutting-edge frontier for contemporary artists from Japan, as well as for Japanese art lovers in the United States. Heritage 2013 is not only a celebration of Onishi Gallery’s enthusiastic efforts of the past, but also of its prosperous future.
For further information, please contact Nana Onishi at 212-695-8035 or at nana@onishigallery.com. The address of our Chelsea gallery is 521 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001.

Image above: SAKAI Hiroshi, Vessel, 2012, stoneware with indigo Shino glaze ; h. 15 1/2 x dia 15 3/10 in (39.5x39cm)