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Red Earth - New Work by Ogawa Machiko - Exhibitions - Joan B Mirviss LTD | Japanese Fine Art | Japanese Ceramics

New Work by Ogawa Machiko
For Asia Week New York | September 14-23, 2022
Exhibition continues at Joan B Mirviss LTD through October 28, 2022

Over a lifetime of productive creativity, acclaimed clay artist Ogawa Machiko can be called a true master of her medium. Her illustrious career is characterized by bold sculptural forms that recall archaeological finds, excavated minerals, and volcanic remains. She has received exceptional accolades, including the Japan Ceramic Society Gold Prize in 2018, which is all the more remarkable since she is only the third woman to be so honored by this prestigious institution. Evoking the geological cycles that have long informed her works, RED EARTH brings this venerated artist full circle to her origins. Opening for Asia Week New York's fall edition, her latest solo exhibition at Joan B Mirviss LTD is inspired by the Japanese concept of the vessel, utsuwa, as well as by the unique red-colored earth of Burkina Faso, West Africa, where she lived as a young woman for several years.

"I have a glass jar by my window filled with sandy red earth that I brought home from Burkina Faso in West Africa, where I used to live long ago. That jar is part of my daily life and I look at it every day… It is as if the red color has become etched in my memory and embedded in my very body."

- Ogawa Machiko

Red Earth - New Work by Ogawa Machiko - Exhibitions - Joan B Mirviss LTD | Japanese Fine Art | Japanese Ceramics

In this new body of work, Ogawa has moved from sculptural forms that resembled unearthed minerals, sometimes of an otherworldly nature, to richly colored red vessels that retain her signature quality of timeless discovery. Her desired deep red color is achieved by rubbing the glaze with a cloth over the clay surfaces. This hand-applied method creates subtle variations in the resulting matte red effect after firing. Within their torn, curling rims, the basin-like vessels contain unexpected hues or designs in their interiors. The conical vessels, with sliced and incised sides and edges, reveal even greater surprises inside. A separate white porcelain vessel nestled inside an outer red vessel produces a strong dynamic contrast.

Red Earth - New Work by Ogawa Machiko - Exhibitions - Joan B Mirviss LTD | Japanese Fine Art | Japanese Ceramics

The largest of these works joins three red vessels, one into another; through cuts and tears, Ogawa exposes all three layers as a single work, thereby achieving unprecedented depth. Through the unity of these separately formed parts, her latest works question the very idea of a container and its function. Alongside these large-scale vessels, Ogawa Machiko presents teabowls covered in metallic glazes. The roughly textured and cracked bowls, shimmering in gold, or platinum, further questions the identification of these traditionally shaped vessels as appropriate for tea drinking.

Red Earth - New Work by Ogawa Machiko - Exhibitions - Joan B Mirviss LTD | Japanese Fine Art | Japanese Ceramics

Ogawa Machiko (b. 1946) was one of the first women to earn a degree from the Ceramics Department at Tokyo University of the Arts. She studied under the guidance of three Living National Treasures: Fujimoto Yoshimichi (Nōdō) (1919-1992), Katō Hajime (1900-1968), and Tamura Kōichi (1918-1987). She furthered her studies at the École d'Arts et Métiers in Paris and then joined her anthropologist husband in Burkina Faso, West Africa, where she was exposed to their ancient methods of forming and treating clay. 

Ogawa Machiko is one of the most celebrated ceramic artists today, male or female. She won the Japan Ceramics Society Award in 2000 and their Gold Prize in 2018. In 2008, she was awarded the Art Encouragement Prize by Japan's Ministry of Education and Culture. Already the subject of two major museum retrospectives in Japan, Ogawa's works have also been exhibited in and acquired by museums outside Japan, such as: the Brooklyn Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Ashmolean Museum of Art, Oxford, UK; and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. In 2019, her 30-piece commissioned installation was displayed in the entrance hall of the National Museum of Qatar for its grand opening.

Red Earth - New Work by Ogawa Machiko - Exhibitions - Joan B Mirviss LTD | Japanese Fine Art | Japanese Ceramics

With more than forty-five years of experience, Joan B. Mirviss remains a pillar in the field of Japanese art. As a dealer, scholar, curator, and advisor, she has been the driving force championing the top Japanese clay artists, who she represents exclusively, and whose works she has placed in major museums around the globe. Widely published as a highly respected expert, Mirviss has built many institutional and private collections of Japanese art. JOAN B MIRVISS LTD exhibits modern and contemporary Japanese ceramics, ukiyo-e, and Japanese paintings in a Madison Avenue gallery in New York City. For more information, please contact us at 212-799-4021 or

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