Drawing the exhibition: Pure Form

Pure form: Japanese sculptural ceramics*, is a new exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia showcasing Japanese ceramics from the 1950s to the present day.

Installation shot of work, (foreground to background), Object (nogata), saiseki zōgan, Kishi Eiko, 2005; Shell-shaped covered vessel (Kai futamono), Koike Shōko, 2009: No.3 Erosion, Shingu Sayaka, c. 2020; Untitled, Katsumata Chieko, 2021; and Box Batter-17, Mishima Kimiyo, 2017.

The exhibition spreads across several rooms and is breathtaking in it’s array of forms, textures and graphic presence. I had only a limited time to draw in the gallery today. The hardest thing was to decide what to sketch first.

I started with a darkly glazed vessel by Mihara Ken, whose concertina-shaped folds reminded me of Issey Miyake garments.

Sekki, Mihara Ken, c. 2010, Matsue, stoneware and glaze,
collection of Raphy Star. Sketch, graphite on paper.

Next to the work of Mihara Ken was a form by Misaki Mitsukuni. The surface, which I was unable to do justice to, is created by the artist rubbing slip into the surface, which he has described as ‘Rothkoing’.

Coloured stoneware vessel (saiyūdeki), Misaki Mitsukuni, 2017, Tomisato, stoneware. Sketch graphite on paper.

Turning my chair I could see another work by Mihara Ken, a form that appeared as if folded out of sheets of clay. The glazes were very subtle blue greys and deep brown.

Genesis (Kigen) no.1, Mihara Ken, 2013, stoneware, glaze,
National Gallery of Australia. Sketch graphite on paper.

Finaly, I did a very quick sketch, part contour drawing, of Kaneshige Kosuke’s work, Tall sculptural form, c. 2006.

Tall sculptural form, Kaneshige Kosuke, c. 2006, Bizen city, stoneware,
collection of Raphy Star. Sketch, graphite on paper.

*Pure form: Japanese sculptural ceramics is accompanied by an extensive catalogue (which I will be looking at for quite some time).

The exhibition and book are by Russell Kelty, Curator of Asian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia.

The exhibition runs until 6 November 2022 at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Get there if you want to see some amazing ceramics!

Japanese Ceramics

Yesterday I went to the first of a series of four lectures on contemporary Japanese ceramics, which are being held at the National Gallery of Australia. While waiting for the audience to settle in I did a quick ‘blind’ drawing of the image on the screen of an ikebana arrangement by Kawana Tetsunori, a master of the Sogetsu School of ikebana.

Kawana Tetsunori, ikebana arrangement, 18 July 2013

Kawana Tetsunori, ikebana arrangement, 18 July 2013

I love the serendipity of life. When I looked up Kawana San’s website I realised that I had seen a major installation work of his, ‘Five Elements Water’, at the National Gallery of Victoria in June 2009. Not only that, but I had made a number of drawings of the installation.

Five Elements Water, Kawana Tetsunor,i NGV Melbourne, June 2009

Five Elements Water, Kawana Tetsunori, NGV Melbourne, June 2009, brush pen on paper

Five Elements Water, Kawana Tetsunor,i NGV Melbourne, June 2009     Five Elements Water Kawana Tetsunori, NGV Melbourne June 2009, brush pen on paper

Five Elements Water Kawana Tetsunori, NGV Melbourne June 2009, brush pen on paper

Five Elements Water, Kawana Tetsunor,i NGV Melbourne, June 2009     Five Elements Water Kawana Tetsunori, NGV Melbourne June 2009, brush pen on paper

Five Elements Water Kawana Tetsunori, NGV Melbourne June 2009, brush pen on paper

The lecturer, Dr Wendy Ella Wright, was drawing attention to the link between post-WWII Japanese ceramics and their use by more contemporary Japanese schools of ikebana. OK, enough of the ikebana diversions.

I also did a second drawing of a work by Hayashi Yasuo called ‘Cloud’. This piece was made in 1948 and has a very glossy black surface. I’ve been unable to find out how large this piece is.

Cloud, Hayashi Yasuo, 1948, water colour and pen

Cloud, Hayashi Yasuo, 1948, water colour and pen