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Kaneta Masanao

Surpassing Tradition: Redefining Hagi

Kaneta Masanao

Surpassing Tradition: Redefining Hagi

Kaneta Masanao



KANETA Masanao (b. 1953) creates dramatic, powerful ceramics that evoke the sweeping curves, sharp peaks, deep gorges and snow-covered crags of a mountain landscape reminiscent of his home in Hagi, Japan. The town of Hagi has been a major ceramic center in Japan since the arrival of Korean potters over four hundred years ago. Hagi wares have been celebrated for centuries for their refined forms, irregular textures and subtle glazes which often "bead" or "crawl" during the firing.

An eighth-generation Hagi master potter and innovator, Kaneta created a sculptural oeuvre that remains grounded in functionality. Due to his early training as a sculptor, his forms have a strong and dramatic presence that sets them apart from works by other artists working in this traditional ceramic center.

"His work can be seen as a marriage of possibilities, breathing new life into traditional forms and bringing the richness of heritage to sculptural pursuits."

- Susie J. Silbert Curator, The Corning Museum of Glass & independent critic

Using centuries-old glazes, Kaneta creates unique and readily identifiable functional and non-functional sculptural forms. He first paddles the clay into a rough shape. Then he employs his signature technique of kuri-nuki, in which he digs or scoops-out a form from the clay mass. As a master of the noborigama or multi-chambered climbing kiln, he is also able to achieve a remarkable range of coloration and kiln effects on each piece, For Kaneta, the scooped-out clay form with its ridgelines becomes complete only with the power imbued by the firing process. The resulting ceramics strike a masterful balance between form and surface. Whether they are sculptures, vases, waterjars or teabowls – each a unique but commanding presence. Kaneko

Kenji, Director of the Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum, believes Kaneta's works " are strong, masculine forms that are flexible in tone..... no longer focused on satisfying the characteristics of a concept- a flower vase for example. They have transcended such concerns."


Joan B Mirviss LTD is excited to present their third solo exhibition by this formidable clay artist. His work is found in the collections of over twenty international museums including that of The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Kaneta will present fifteen new works created specifically for Surpassing Tradition: Redefining Hagi. His push-pull between form and surface, function and sculpture, innovative technique and traditional glaze will be spectacularly on view. The exhibition opens November 5and will run through December 20, 2019.

About Joan B. Mirviss LTD

Joan B. Mirviss has been a distinguished expert in Japanese art, specializing in fine art and ceramics for more than forty 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.

For further information and high-resolution images, please contact the gallery director, Tracy Causey-Jeffery, at 212-799-4021 or via