Obata Yuji: Contemporary Arita Porcelain
February 21 – March 4, 2017
Opening: Thursday, February 23, 6-8 pm
Onishi Gallery is proud to present Obata Yuji: Contemporary Arita Porcelain, a stunning exhibition of porcelain masterpieces by Japanese artist Obata Yuji. Hailing from Arita, Saga Prefecture, Obata’s work in Arita-yaki porcelain carries with it over 400 years of history and tradition yet expresses a fresh originality that signals a future for this ancient art. Self-taught along each step of his creative process, from turning the potter’s wheel and kiln firing to decorating the surfaces of his pieces with delicate drawings, Obata departs from common practice in the Arita-yaki industry to carve out a special place for himself in this traditional porcelain art world.
Featured in this special exhibition are porcelain pieces that Obata decorates with vivid images. Sea creatures such as fish with detailed scaled skin and curious expressions on their faces swim along a pure, white background, a porcelain canvas. This imagery diverges from Arita’s traditional designs that commonly depict such images as dishes and pots. Firing his pieces at extreme temperatures in the kiln, the porcelain attains an immaculate, deep white finish. In addition to the sea creatures, cherry blossoms are a second motif that Obata draws upon in his decorative work. And, with similar precision to the fish imagery, each petal of his blossoms is drawn with the finest touch. On his pots, the blossoms bloom in full glory, delicate and magical. Not only is the design unique, but Obata’s colors are distinctive as well, particularly the pink he creates out of a material called “Shoenshi,” or, “Obata Pink.” This color is lively and beautiful, and is a color that hardly any other artists can successfully master when working at such a refined level of porcelain ware. Obata’s work balances bold and graceful beauty, intense color and pure white, and is not to be forgotten.
Obata Yuji was born in 1961 and graduated from Aoyama Gakuin University in 1984, and Saga prefectural Arita College of Ceramics in 1987. He is a Regular Member of Japan Crafts Committee and a Member of Arita Ceramic Association. Obata has won prizes at Japan Traditional Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition, and Issuikai Exhibition. Most recently, he exhibited at The Japantique 2016 in Tokyo.