July 13, 2011

Art of the Day

Fukami Sueharu (Japanese, born 1947)

View of Distant Sea II, ca. 1989
Molded porcelain with celadon glaze, 8 1/2 x 42 15/16 x 2 1/4 in. (21.6 x 109 x 5.7 cm)

This unusual porcelain sculpture resembles a wave about to break. It stands in opposition to the functional ceramics of traditional Japanese potters who "worship" unglazed clay, its tactile qualities, and the accidental effects that wood-fired kilns produce. Fukami challenges them by using electric kilns to minimize uncontrolled processes, by using molds to cast his creations, and by applying high-quality glazes of subtle, varying density. Despite his extensive control of color and form, one detects a slightly wavering edge; its gentle curve and subtle irregularity softens and at the same time enlivens the severe geometry of the piece. The Zen-like meditative mood of the work, and the celadon color, reminiscent of Chinese Song dynasty ceramics, suggest an Asian idiom for a work that otherwise speaks a universal language of visual art.


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