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A 35th Anniversary Exhibition - Revisiting Rimpa: Design, Function, and the Art of Nakamura Takuo

September 5, 2012

Art Fix Daily

This September, Joan B Mirviss LTD will present the first US solo exhibition of ceramic sculpture by Nakamura Takuo. Revisiting Rimpa – Design, Function, and the Art of Nakamura Takuo will include freestanding sculptural and functional vessels that incorporate the uniquely Japanese painting aesthetic known as rimpa. Alongside two other major exhibitions focusing on the topic, one currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and another upcoming at Japan Society, 2012 is shaping up to be the year of rimpa in New York City.

NAKAMURA TAKUO (b. 1945), though unquestionably adventurous in his experimentations with clay, adheres to the artistic principles of the design-oriented rimpa tradition that dates back to early 17th century master artists Kōetsu and Sōtatsu. Initially, they drew inspiration from the classical yamato-e repertoire and, like their followers, produced refined and elegant paintings, calligraphy, lacquer, and, of course, ceramics. The rimpa aesthetic is typically characterized by flat areas of rich, vibrant color and dynamic, rhythmic patterning. Nakamura is inspired by this uniquely Japanese tradition and, as a contemporary exponent, he decorates and glazes his surfaces with bold patterns and sumptuous colors echoing the nature-focused literary references of this indigenous style.

Nakamura’s method of sculpting, which he calls “destroying the clay,” allows the viewer to enter into the process of arranging his functional forms. In his newest œuvre, many works are multi-piece deconstructions of traditional forms, allowing for greater freedom through the various permutations of assembly and affecting the balance between interior and exterior spaces. Nakamura explains, “…the true completion of any vessel is derived through the creative implementation on the part of the user.” Additionally he comments, “During the act of creation and flattening and manipulating the thin walls of my work, the clay expresses its own hidden form and plays a critical role in determining the final structure.”

From his home in the cultural center of Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture, Nakamura also strives to imbue the local three-hundred-year-old tradition of kutani (polychrome-overglazed porcelain ware) with a modern sense of form and color. Unlike traditional kutani ceramists, he creates multi-layered structures revealing his deep appreciation of both traditional and contemporary techniques, form, and design. His art has been shown widely throughout Japan and can be found in museum collections including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa.


Joan B. Mirviss has been a distinguished expert in Japanese art, specializing in prints, paintings, screens and ceramics for more than thirty-five years. She is the leading Western dealer in the field of modern and contemporary Japanese ceramics, and from her New York gallery on Madison Avenue, JOAN B MIRVISS LTD exclusively represents the top Japanese clay artists. As a widely published, and highly respected specialist in her field, Mirviss has advised and built collections for many museums, major private collectors, and corporations.

Revisiting Rimpa - Design, Function, and the Art of NAKAMURA Takuo
September 11 – October 19, 2012
Joan B Mirviss LTD 39 East 78TH Street NYC

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