Yukiya Izumita "The Clay Talks"

Ippodo Gallery

poster for Yukiya Izumita "The Clay Talks"

This event has ended.

'When I decide to express something through clay, I look for the answer in its roughness or fragility, its ephemerality, and its tension or lightness.' -Yukiya Izumita

Ippodo Gallery NY presents Yukiya Izumita's first solo exhibition in New York from October 18 to November 17. It will consist of thirty works, ranging from origami-like ornaments and stratified works, comprising of numerous parts, to his tea-bowls and vessels. The artist will give a talk on his work at the opening reception on October 18.
Yukiya Izumita's workshop is situated in Noda Village, Kunohe City, Iwate Prefecture, in the northeast of Japan. Set deep in the mountains, the village still retains several old thatched farmhouses; the sea can be glimpsed in the far distance while the fields close to hand are filled with soybeans. Winter is long in the northern regions, the harsh climate and natural environment creating a tenacious yet affable character in the people. Having been brought up amidst the snow, winds and waves of the coastline, Yukiya Izumita is no exception. Born in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, in 1966, as a boy he found himself attracted to bleak textures-the surface of moss or seaweed covered rocks, the surface of dried fish, decayed trees or the weathered timbers of boats. He had always enjoyed making things out of clay and at the age of twenty-five he decided to become a potter, and became an apprentice to Gakuho, one of the leading potters of the Kokuji-ware that is representative of north-eastern Japan. He learned to use local clay together with the tohakuyu (white glaze) or ameyu (caramel glaze) that are unique to Kokuji-ware, producing earthenware mortars and other daily utensils as he continued his studies. Even today, he still considers the production of mortars and other daily items an important part of his work.

Clay is a language to Izumita. It speaks of his changing emotions or the subtleties of joy, anger, pathos, and humor, while at the same time, containing a trace of sadness. He says 'I sometimes feel startled when I see paper' and many of his works reflect this in their thin, folded forms; retaining their subtle balance through the firing, their roughness and fragility brimming with a feeling of tension and strength. The surface has the appearance of freshly-ploughed earth, but contains the transience of rotting wood, one minute seeming cold, like frost-covered ground, then the next, exhibiting the sweetness of a sugar covered cake.

His hometown was devoured in last year's great tsunami. The kiln at his workshop in Noda village was damaged, but he repaired it himself. He says that he uses the wood carried in by the tsunami as fuel for his kiln. In his work since then, his unique forms have become imbued with a greater power and deformation with the addition of a rhythmical movement, and exhibit more dramatic shapes. This is doubtless due to Izumita's awe of nature and the trauma he has suffered. However, what we see in his work is not something shocking, rather it demonstrates a tranquil, pliant and quiet outlook. This may result from the warmth people exhibited when saving and looking after each other, a magnanimity that forgives everything. Izumita's work invites us into the desolate winds and waves of northeastern Japan's coastal area, showing us the gentleness that lies beyond the harshness and the strength that exists on the other side of sorrow.

[Image: Yukiya Izumita "Sekisoh" (2012) ceramic, W11 3/4 x D3 1/8 xH13 in.]



from October 18, 2012 to November 17, 2012

Opening Reception on 2012-10-18 from 18:00 to 20:00


Yukiya Izumita

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