Japanese Women Clay Artists Respond to Nature in New Exhibition at Minneapolis Institute of Art

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Minneapolis, March 20–A new exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) highlights recent work by more than a dozen living Japanese women clay artists who evoke or respond to the natural world in diverse ways, some traditional, others wholly novel. “Living Clay: Artists Respond to Nature” presents primarily nonfunctional ceramic works inspired by everything from cells and mold spores to snails and leaves. Exploring themes ranging from floral surface decoration to natural disaster, these works are displayed in conversation with contemporary Japanese artworks in other media, such as woodblock prints, textiles, and painting – with nearly all of the artworks being shown for the first time. “Living Clay” is on view March 23 through December 8, 2019.

“Living Clay” features ceramic works by artists Nakaigawa Yuki, Katsumata Chieko, Tokumaru Kyoko, Futamura Yoshimi, Kishi Eiko, Mishima Kimiyo, Tokuda Yasokichi IV, Fujikasa Satoko, Inaba Chikako, and Mori Aya, among others. This group of ceramic artists runs the gamut from the very well established and world recognized to the emerging. Additional non-ceramic works by Kusama Yayoi, Sudo Reiko, and Shinoda Toko are also displayed.

The majority of the works on view are drawn from Mia’s permanent collection, along with a portion on loan from Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz, whose collection of contemporary Japanese ceramics is regarded as one of the finest in the United States.

Related Events

The opening of “Living Clay” coincides with both Women’s History Month and the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Conference, held at the Minneapolis Convention Center March 27–31, 2019. Free shuttles are offered from the Convention Center to Mia on Wednesday, March 27, from 10am to 5pm, and Thursday, March 28, from 5 to 9pm. Aaron Rio, Mia’s A.W. Mellon Associate Curator of Japanese and Korean Art and curator of “Living Clay,” will give tours of the exhibition on Thursday evening.

Upcoming programming will include two artist’s talks. In September, Mia will welcome Futamura Yoshimi whose recent work explores the notions of impermanence and natural disaster. These themes are the result of the profound impact the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Tōhoku region of Japan had on her. Additional details to follow.