• by Lillian Stafford
    The Art of Kogei
  • About the Motif:

    Similarities between Massimo Micheluzzi works and Japanese Aesthetics.
    by Lillian Stafford
    About the Motif:
  • by Shoko Aono
    Ancient Memories and the Joy of Touching

     

     

    Matsuzaki's urushi lacquer works consist of 400 to 500-year-old zelkova, horse chestnut or chestnut timber that has been carved, and then given numerous liberal coats of natural urushi lacquer. Through them, we can experience the joy of the wood itself. Lacquer dates back to the Jomon Period (14500 BC to 1000 BC). Lacquerware is also known as japan, in the same way, that china is used for porcelain. This demonstrates the vital historical significance that lacquerware holds in Japanese art. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Matsuzaki is unusual today in that he uses only pure, Japanese urushi lacquer, which is of the highest quality and is prized for its color and sheen. His containers are reminiscent of ancient ritual utensils, finished in a primitive vermillion coloring. These nostalgic, yet original forms, grasp the heart of the viewer. The rough texture of the surface is covered in multiple coats of urushi lacquer, possessing a warmth like that of human skin. His works attract people and encourage touch. These handmade works that Matsuzaki hopes will 'live for 1,000 years have a universal appeal that is particularly rare in artworks today.  

     

     

     

     

    Born in 1944, Tohru Matsuzaki is the eldest son of the Nihonga-style painter and dyer, Shu-ki Matsuzaki. His grandfather, uncle, and cousin were both academics, specializing in oriental art and culture. From an early age, Matsuzaki became absorbed with baseball, devoting his youth to the mud and sweat of the ballpark. He enjoyed playing with wood since childhood, but it was not until he was twenty-nine that he first came in contact with lacquer. 

     

     

     

     

    A year later, Matsuzaki started craftwork through the influence of the late potter and Japan's 'Living National Treasure,' Tatsuzo Shimaoka. He would then open a studio in a town adjacent to Mashiko in Tochigi Prefecture, home to the Mingei (folk craft) movement's famous potters, Tatsuzo Shimaoka Shoji Hamada. It is here where he devotes himself to his bold and unique wood/lacquer craftwork.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    He says, 'Mankind has known the value of wood and lacquer for over ten thousand years. I felt that I wanted to use these to make something in a present continuous form, something that could be used, but which would also be appreciated universally for its beauty.' He uses only the best quality timber that has been allowed to dry for over twenty years to ensure that it does not warp. Grasping a chisel in his large hands, he cuts the wood away, carving out the form, stroke by stroke. All of his works are hewn from a single block of wood. Even the tiny feet on the base of the trays are carved out and not added later. He does not use a lathe; instead, he prefers to use a chisel, even carve out his tea bowls' feet. He then coats the wood in urushi lacquer, applying approximately twenty coats. Under the vermillion, there is black, and under the black, there is more vermillion. When the work is sanded down in the final stages, the base colors show through. Layers upon layers of lacquer create a beautiful effect similar to that of negoro lacquer ware or Korean Joseon Dynasty lacquerware. His bold brushstrokes create a textured unevenness in the surface opposite the delicate work of makie lacquer. The more the object is handled, the more its appearance will mature, giving birth to an even more excellent impression of strength. Each of Tohru Matsuzaki's unique works takes anywhere from one to five years to create. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    To see Matsuzaki's works is to want to reach out and touch them. Each piece embodies his physical nature formed through his involvement with baseball in his youth, combined with the literary mentality that he inherited from his academic family—overflowing with passion and intellect. The sternness with which he uses his great physical strength to drive the chisel into the wood, and the gentleness with which he converses with his materials, produce conflicting energies that may be said to come together in the form of innocent prayer. 

     

     

     

     

     

    The works contain a wildness but are not crude. On the contrary, they possess quite a cultured presence. In ancient times, we lived in the forests together with the trees. Matsuzaki's woodcraft awakens primitive emotions within us: the desire to touch and the joy of living, recalling ancient memories. Moreover, each of his works will live for 1,000 years. Matsuzaki uses wood and lacquer to transcend this extended period,

    continuing to carve another new romance today and every day. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • by Lillian Stafford
    The Way of Scent "Koh do"
  • Artist Spotlight:

    Hafu Matsumoto
    by Lillian Stafford
    Artist Spotlight:
  • Otsukimi (お月見)

    Moon Viewing Festival
    by Lillian Stafford
    Otsukimi (お月見)
  • Artist Spotlight

    Suikei Saito
    by Lillian Stafford
    Artist Spotlight
  • Artist Spotlight:

    Keiji Ito
    by Lillian Stafford
    Artist Spotlight:
  • Two Brothers

    Kai and Yui Tsujimura
    by Lillian Stafford
    Two Brothers

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Hare's Furs and Oil Spotting

    On Noriyuki Furutani's Tenmoku Glazes
    by Lillian Stafford
    Hare's Furs and Oil Spotting
  • Between the Cracks:

    Kodai Ujiie's Collage-Like surfaces
    by Milly Cai
    Between the Cracks:
  • Candied Surfaces

    Tea Bowls by Tomoyuki Hoshino
    by Milly Cai
    Candied Surfaces
  • About the Motif:

    Rokumei, Deer's Cry
    by Milly Cai
    About the Motif:
  • About the Motif:

    Goddess of the Moon
    by Milly Cai
    About the Motif:
  • About the Motif:

    Ten Thousand Flowers
    by Milly Cai
    About the Motif:
  • About the Motif:

    A Look into Yuki Hayama's Shinrabansho Design
    by Milly Cai
    About the Motif:
  • Exhibition Highlights:

    Details of Daisuke Nakano
    by Milly Cai
    Exhibition Highlights:
  • Artist Spotlight:

    Yui Tsujimura
    Artist Spotlight:
  • Artist Spotlight:

    The Mountain of Kai Tsujimura
    Artist Spotlight:
  • Artist Spotlight:

    Kan Matsuzaki
    Artist Spotlight:
  • Artist Spotlight:

    Hiroshi Goseki, A Form in Flux
    Artist Spotlight:
  • Artist Spotlight:

    Shota Suzuki
    by Milly Cai
    Artist Spotlight:
  • Hinamatsuri 雛祭 March 3

    Dolls Day, a Celebration of Health and Happiness for Japanese Girls
    Michiko Fujita, Doll 'Hinamatsuri'
    Michiko Fujita, Doll 'Hinamatsuri'
  • Artist Spotlight:

    Kan Kishino
  • A Gentle Tea Bowl

    The Art of Tomoyuki Hoshino
    by Milly Cai
    A Gentle Tea Bowl
  • The Magic of Tea Bowls

    A Reflection on Contemporary Japanese Tea Bowls
    by Shoko Aono

    This week's journal is a reflection on the conversations from the event with Museum of Fine Art, Houston. An essay on the transience of the art of the tea bowl, this essay discusses the current global climate and how it relates to our relationship with each other and art.

  • by Milly Cai
    A Bowl For All Seasons
  • Artist Spotlight:

    Kodai Ujiie's Contemporary Kintsugi
    by Milly Cai
    Artist Spotlight:

    Kodai Ujiie, currently exhibiting at Tokyo Ippodo Gallery’s 6th New Birds Flying group show until January 31, 2021, is one of the youngest and most refreshing artists in the Ippodo Gallery collection. This journal goes into detail on his inspiration, development of his visual language, and highlights a few of his pieces. 

  • Unique Surfaces

    A Survey of Tokyo Ippodo Gallery Artists
    by Milly Cai
    Unique Surfaces
  • by Milly Cai
    Welcoming The New Year With Ippodo Gallery

    Happy New Year! 

    Ippodo Gallery team hopes that this year is a lot brighter and warmer than the last!

    To welcome the new year and all our friends and supporters, we feature a carefully curated selection of pieces from Tokyo Ippodo Gallery to share with you for this week's Journal. 

  • Oshōgatsu 御正月:

    Welcoming the New Year
    Oshōgatsu 御正月:
  • Altered Forms

    Ribbing, Faceting, and Molding
    by Milly Cai
    Altered Forms

    Three different ways to alter a ceramic form explained through Ippodo Gallery's artists. 

  • Tōji 冬至: The Winter Solstice
  • A Slender Silhouette:

    On Ippodo Gallery’s Tall Forms
    by Milly Cai
    A Slender Silhouette:

    A look through the various tall forms from Ippodo Gallery artists featuring artists Koichiro Isezaki, Hafu Matsumoto, and Yui Tsujimura.

     

     

     

  • Ash Glazes

    on Yui Tsujimura's Natural Ash Glazes
    by Milly Cai
    Ash Glazes

    A brief overview on the methods and applications of Ash Glaze featuring our artist, Yui Tsujimura and his signature, natural ash pieces.

  • Japanese Lacquer

    An Overview
    by Milly Cai
    Japanese Lacquer
  • Stoneware and Colorants

    On Iron Oxide
    by Milly Cai
    Stoneware and Colorants

    A deeper look into the techniques and materials of Ippodo Gallery's ceramic artists. 

    This week we feature specifically red iron oxide and its effects on the clay body and glaze.

  • Black Glazes

    Tenmoku, Raku, and Oribe
    by Milly Cai
    Black Glazes

    Looking through Ippodo Gallery’s tea bowl collection, we have a variety of different glazing techniques, textures, styles, and forms across all the different ceramic artists. 

     

  • Shino Glaze

    An introduction to the Shino glaze technique
    by Milly Cai
    Shino Glaze
  • About Glass

    A Short Introduction to Glassblowing Technique
    by Milly Cai
    About Glass

    Ippodo Gallery's weekly journal feature introduces Glassblowing. Coinciding with Laura de Santillana's exhibition, Through Her Eyes: In Memory of Laura de Santillana. 

    A short and concise view on the techniques of glassblowing, this journal discusses Free-blowing and Mold-blowing techniques. 

  • by Shoko Aono
    A Letter to Laura

    A personal letter from Ippodo Gallery director Shoko Aono to her late friend and artist Laura de Santillana. This letter precedes Ippodo Gallery's October - November exhibition, Through Her Eyes: In Memory of Laura de Santillana. 

  • Intricate Painting:

    A Brief Look into the Technique of China Painting
    by Milly Cai
    Intricate Painting:

    China painting was first developed in China during the 7th-8th century. The main types of China painting include underglaze and overglaze. This Journal goes into detail about the two types of China painting, paired with examples from Ippodo Gallery's artists.

  • Suiboku-ga:

    Ink Wash Painting and Tadataka Kishino
    Suiboku-ga:

     

    Samsara: Sculptures by Sho Kishino includes five ink wash paintings made by the artist’s father, Tadataka Kishino, a renowned practitioner of this style. Tadataka’s works are careful studies of space and nature. Tadataka’s works focus on the drawn line and tonal value of the ink, using the empty space of the bare washi paper or silk canvas to suggest physical space such as the sky or a body of water. In his sculpture, Sho Kishino draws inspiration from this practice in a literal sense by incorporating the physical space that his works occupy into their composition.

     

     

  • The Rebirth of Wood

    A Look Inside Sho Kishino's Studio
    by Milly Cai
    The Rebirth of Wood

    Sho Kishino invites us into his studio.

    A look into the space of inspiration for a sculptor, we are offered a different lens in which to understand the production of his work. The humility, resourcefulness, and care for his pieces and practice are all reflected through his studio space.

    It is through this careful documentation that the viewer can see the tidy and meticulious personality of Kishino; one that is reflected in precise and organic carving. 

  • Chōyō no sekku | September 9

    Chrysanthemums on the Double Ninth Festival
    Chōyō no sekku | September 9

    A deep tradition runs throughout East Asian cultures of ascribing certain numbers and dates with innately auspicious or inauspicious qualities.

    The Japanese holiday Chōyō no sekku, or the Double Ninth Festival, is observed on the ninth day of the ninth month. As the greatest single-digit, odd number, nine is believed to possess an excess amount of Yang; the “double nine” of Chōyō no sekku creates an atmosphere of imbalance. But through ritual and prayer, observers of the holiday transform the day’s “excess of Yang” (chōyō) into an auspicious occasion. 

    Celebrated since the ninth century, Chōyō no sekku also signals the transition of the seasons and commemorates the autumn rice harvest and its accompanying bounty. Historically, Chōyō no sekku was observed according to the Chinese lunar calendar, and is now marked annually on September 9th. 

     

  • Obon

    A Late Summer Festival
    Obon
  • In Detail

    Takashi Tomo-oka's Washi Prints
    In Detail

    A detailed look into the materials used in Takashi Tomo-oka's delicate and minimal prints.

  • Capturing Patience

    The Philosophy of Nature in Takashi Tomo-oka's Photography
    by Milly Cai
    Capturing Patience
  • by Milly Cai
    Natural Glazes of Yui Tsujimura

    ippodo gallery presents new pieces by yui tsujimura

  • About the Series

    Koichiro Isezaki
    by Milly Cai
    About the Series

    Ippodo Gallery’s spring artist Koichiro Isezaki's series of provocative, sculptural, yet minimal, vessels and forms.