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Cascades and Glacial Landscapes

Sculptures by Jeff Shapiro

Online only from February 8, 2021

Press Release

Sculptures by Jeff Shapiro
An online-only exhibition
From February 8, 2021

Departing from the gallery’s Japanese art focus, Joan B Mirviss LTD is delighted to present the ceramic sculptures of prominent New York-based artist Jeff Shapiro in CASCADES AND GLACIAL LANDSCAPES. While living in Japan for nine years, Jeff Shapiro received training in the ancient Bizen ceramic tradition; he now creates highly independent and personal sculptural works that are uniquely his own. It took a lifetime to achieve such ‘abandon’, as he calls it, a process of letting go of the technical training to express a Japanese aesthetic “in a voice that is not Japanese.” A selection of his recent sculptures will be available in a special online-only exhibition at Joan B Mirviss LTD this February. 

Shapiro’s latest two series, though seemingly different, are both informed by the varying states of water. The blue-green Oribe glazing evokes the shallow pools of Mediterranean lagoons; the translucent white-glazed works are reminiscent of melting ice flows over geological formations. This signature style emerged from combining the wood-firing techniques learned in Bizen with an approach Shapiro developed at his studio, producing a natural ash deposit of crusted embers built up on the clay surface. He then glazes those uniquely textured sculptures – abstractly for the Ice Flow works, and more painterly for the Oribe works – to prepare for additional multiple firings. Informed by a deep understanding of Japan’s sense of natural beauty, Shapiro’s latest works attest to his loving appreciation, not imitation, of their artistic traditions.

Says the artist: “When I first returned from Japan, I believed everything must be done in the traditional way: kick wheel, wood-firing kiln, yakishime [high-firing unglazed work], emphatically no slips or glazes. This is what I studied and learned in Bizen. I now allow myself to use whatever material, forming technique, and firing method that I feel will best serve the concept of the work I choose to make.” The resulting highly original sculptural works are the latest in the evolution of this creative and dynamic clay artist in top form.  

Jeff Shapiro
A native New Yorker based at his studio upstate, Jeff Shapiro (b. 1949) is an internationally recognized clay artist who has taught numerous workshops and seminars and has exhibited all over the world including Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, England, and Japan. His work can be found in several museum collections, including the Carlo Zauli Museum, Faenza, Italy; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Brooklyn Museum, NY; Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY; and the Fuller Museum, Brockton, MA.

Joan B Mirviss LTD
Joan B Mirviss LTD is the leading dealer in the fields of Japanese fine art and ceramics. From her New York gallery on Madison Avenue, Joan Mirviss exclusively represents the top Japanese clay artists. As a widely published and highly respected specialist in her field for over forty years, Mirviss has advised and built collections for many international museums and major private collections. For more information, or to request high-resolution images, please call 212-799-4021 or email

Go to the Viewing Room to see all artworks

Click here to see the Viewing Room for Cascades and Glacial Landscapes