“The Essence of Imperfection: Wabi Sabi” Exhibition

Ippodo Gallery

poster for “The Essence of Imperfection: Wabi Sabi” Exhibition
[Image: Kenji Wakasugi "Sign of the Buddha" (2017) Photography]

This event has ended.

Ippodo Gallery presents a selection of works by nine artists, in conjunction with the exhibition, A Teahouse for Philadelphia, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art(PMA). Ippodo artists, Jihei Murase, Tohru Matsuzaki, Suikei Saito, and Kenji Wakasugi, will be on view through Spring 2018, so Ippodo welcomes the chance to run these artists in a concurrent showcase at our New York gallery, with additional works on view by five artists — Keiji Ito, Akito Nizato, Shiro Tsujimura, Koji Hatakeyama, and Kyokko Kaida.

The exhibition centers around Wabi Sabi, a cultural tradition rooted in the beauty of imperfection and
impermanence. Authenticity in this careful carelessness knows no translation, but is a celebration of all things
natural and unadorned. It is a meditative aesthetic, and one greatly esteemed in Japanese culture.
Each artist has an individual ability to express this Wabi Sabi ideal:

Jihei Murase (b. 1957) creates harmonious lacquerware from 100-
year-old timber and straight virgin trees, dried and prized for delicate,
thin grooves to emphasize forms created by nature.
Lacquerware by Tohru Matsuzaki (b. 1944) also uses precious
zelkova wood, but the artist applies his hand to chiseling the grooves of
the rich vermillion red, black and silver.

The juxtaposition of forms, past and present ideals, and a delicacy of craft continue through more innovative techniques. This can be seen in the works by calligrapher, Suikei Saito (b. 1945), who explores stillness, nothingness, and emptiness. As a photographer, Kenji Wakasugi (b. 1941) digitally manipulates images on landscapes, striking a balance between tradition and modernity. Wakasugi uses Sumi ink, pigments, and gold and silver leaf on scanned photographs, with his most recent mixed media work an homage to the tea masters, Sen Rikyu and Oribe Huruta.
Kenji Wakasugi ‘ Gen’ Black, 2017 Suikei Saito ‘ Sei ’ Stillness, 2017

Ultimately this continues Ippodo’s efforts to sync with the natural world in an ongoing appreciation of the beauty
of both artwork and the earth itself. This emphasis on technique and materials culled from the earth syncs with
the ideals of Wabi Sabi, in that there is a play between tradition and modernity, while embracing the curvatures
found organically. Through changing technologies and mixed media, each artist maintains these ideals of
discovery and reverence, making for a worthy group show of proven museum-quality works.



from October 26, 2017 to November 22, 2017

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