Molding and manipulating clay to express an aesthetic sensibility or fabricate a functional object is one of the oldest human skills. It is a medium that continues to challenge and invigorate artists all across the globe. One museum is taking a look at how contemporary Japanese ceramic artists are transforming traditional techniques and forms.
Albeit small, “The Resonance of Clay” exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum packs a big impression for viewers. Ranging from traditional wood-fired forms to highly abstracted and organic sculptures, the exhibition presents a number of artists who display a diverse range of talent, aesthetic, and concept. Highly traditional and beautiful is the “Six-Sided Lobed Vessel” by Minegishi Seiko. The well-balanced and symmetrical form has a fullness and ripeness that is a time-honored characteristic of Asian pottery. The sea-foam green celadon glaze has crazed (cracked) to reveal an intricate pattern of crackles across the piece, enlivening the surface.

Fukumoto Fuko, “Stacked Blue and Teal Bowls,” 2012, glazed porcelain, 5 x 11 1/2 in.
Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz Collection

Another highlight of the exhibition is Fukumoto Fuko’s “Stacked Blue and Teal Bowls,” which displays an innovative and creative form of “nesting” ceramic vessels. The porcelain clay from which it was made gives the forms a smoothness and softness that invites them to be used. Further, the teal blue and green celadon glazes give the work a cleanness and simplicity that calls our attention to the craftsmanship and modernity of the pieces.
“The Resonance of Clay” opened in May 2014 and will be on view through April 1, 2016.
To learn more, visit the Phoenix Museum of Art.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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