June 14, 2012 - July 14, 2012
Opening Reception & Artist Talk : At 6-8pm, June 14 (Thurs), 2012
"I hope that the surface of the simple forms of the glass, become one with the light that resides within, making the viewer realize afresh the existence of light." -Katsuya Ohgita
The Ippodo Gallery New York is delighted to announce that it will be holding an exhibition of glass works by Katsuya Ohgita, entitled 'Condensed Light', from June 14 to July 14, 2012. It will be comprised of approximately 30 works, large and small, created using the cold cast glass technique. The works in this exhibition can be broadly divided into three types: 'HOUSE', which resemble houses in shape, 'AURA' which present an image of space, and 'CUBE' which are cubic in shape. The artist will present a talk on his work on the opening day.
Katsuya Ohgita's glass works renew the viewer's awareness of the existence of light. The works are created through the fusion of the Japanese aesthetic-simple forms from which superfluous decoration has been eliminated but possessing adequate coloring-with the cold cast technique that was developed by ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia. The light that is confined within these subdued colors and forms creates a tension that seems about to burst out, while simultaneously presenting a gentle warmth. Sometimes they resemble ice, cut from the North Pole; sometimes they are reminiscent of drops of water, falling from the trees in the depths of a dense forest, evoking an image of light and inviting us to participate in a new fantasy of luminosity.
This exhibition will introduce works that belong largely to three different series. The 'HOUSE' series, which takes the shape of a domestic abode, awakens in us a feeling of nostalgia. The light blue color that is created through the use of copper powder seems as deep as the sea. The conical forms of 'AURA' represent an image of vitality or a microcosm - the shape has movement while the deep red, jet black and ruby colors possess great energy. The 'CUBE' series features colorless, semitransparent glass that reflects the true flavor of cast glass. The light that fills the interior of which, becomes one with the faint lines engraved into the surface; along with the color, they resemble a three-dimensional painting in which a story seems about to be born, providing us with an intimation of the future.
It can be said that one reason why Ohgita's glass works harbor a dense gravity is due to the fact that he specialized in metal casting while he was in art school. He graduated in metal casting from Kanazawa College of Art in 1980, but stimulated by the studio glass movement that was flourishing in America at that time (1960s onwards), he became fascinated by the plasticity, brilliance of color and transparency possessed by glass, and for the last thirty years or so, has devoted himself to this field. He says that glass casting differs little from casting metal or ceramic, but that the 'confined light' which derives from the 'transparency' of glass, is what gives his current work meaning.
"My objective is not to present the feel of the glass so much as to bring out the characteristics and expressions that lie hidden within the material. Even though it may not resemble glass at first glance, as long as the result is something that can only be achieved through glass, I am happy. Again, it does not matter if it does not look like glass, as long as it is."
Cold casting is an ancient technique, dating back to the civilizations of Mesopotamia who used it to produce mosaic glass. The technique was largely abandoned as a result of the development of glass blowing, but it came back into vogue with the studio glass movement that began in the 1960s. Its name derives from the fact that unlike hot casting, in which molten glass is poured into a mold, fragments of glass are placed in the mold at room temperature then heated. The original shape is made using clay, then, using heat-resistant plaster, a female mold is taken from this. This is then packed with glass fragments and the mold and glass are heated together in an electric oven to cause the glass to melt. Unlike glass blowing, in which the glass is formed while it is a molten form, the glass fragments melt together inside the oven making it possible to create delicate gradations in the color of the glass. Moreover, the rough texture of the plaster mold remains on the glass, creating a semi-transparent finish that has the appearance of being covered in a powder. This effect in which the texture of the mold remains in the surface texture of the work, can also be seen in Ohgita's metal casting works and terracotta works that he has produced in recent years. "The color of glass is achieved through the addition of metal oxides. The addition of silver will create an amber tone while copper will create blue and in this respect, it can be said to resemble the glazes used in ceramics. Metal, glass and ceramics are all related".
We look forward to seeing him produce works in a variety of media in the future.
As the leader of a new kind of plastic art in Japan, Ohgita holds numerous exhibitions throughout the country; his works are included in the collections of numerous museums in Japan, Germany and other institutions around the world.