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'The World Between Two Hands' Will Present Teabowls May 3

Antiques and the Arts Weekly

April 26, 2013

NEW YORK CITY - Joan B. Mirviss Ltd will present its first exhibition focused exclusively on the ceramic art of the Japanese tea ceremony, with more than 40 recent works by teabowl artist Ajiki Hiro. The exhibition will be on view May 3 - June 28.

Using a multiplicity of forms and a broad array of captivating glazes and patterns, Ajiki is renowned in Japan for his range of personalized teabowls. He is one of the few active ceramists so focused on this complicated and revered implement.

For more than 25 years, Hiro (b 1948) has concentrated on the art of perfecting the teabowl, or chawan, the central element in the Japanese tea ceremony (chanoyu). As an artist, he views the tea ceremony as an intimate form of communication between host and guest as well as a spiritual experience.

The teabowl, while appreciated as a work of art, is a functional drinking vessel that offers, when held, a combination of balance, form, and weight that should complement the taste and sensibility of both the user and the host. For this artist, his goal is to convey to the recipient his own energy and personality, and for the viewer, in selecting a particular teabowl, to reveal his own values and taste.

Initially trained as a Western-style painter when an art student, Ajiki brings a highly developed color sensibility combined with bold patterning to his evocative ceramics, as well as to his interest in calligraphy and traditional Japanese painting. With his vast range of shapes and styles, this potter stands alone in Japan, particularly in his passion for salt glazed (enyƫ) teabowls.

His basara series of teabowls and tea caddies (chaire) has received great acclaim. Derived from the late-Sixteenth Century tastes of militaristic ruling class, basara implies gorgeous but refined beauty, but in Ajiki's oeuvre, is evoked in the richly colored checkerboard patterns on his faceted vessels. Individuals rectangles contain glazes varied both in color and texture, sometimes gold and occasionally silver, one balancing and contrasting with another as the bowl is rotated in the palm of one's hand.

While the gallery has represented Ajiki for more than a decade, this exhibition marks his first solo exhibition in the United States.

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