For the first time since Joan B. Mirviss LTD began representing Japanese ceramics in the mid '80s, Western artists will be presented together with their Japanese counterparts in this intimate exhibit entitled Conversations in Clay – West Meets East: A Collector's Perspective. The show, curated by Steven Korff in collaboration with Joan Mirviss, finds its inspiration in Korff's integrated collection of ceramic art that includes important artists from both backgrounds, from Hamada Shôji to Hans Coper, Carlo Zauli to Akiyama Yô.
Korff's interest in ceramic art started when as a young man, he began acquiring the work of Western ceramist, particularly those in the abstract expressionist tradition. As his exposure to ceramic art expanded, he became intrigued by the simplicity, duality and spirit of Japanese ceramics. The work of Kamoda Shôji in particular drew his eye more than a decade ago, and it was this interest that led him to Joan B. Mirviss and her expertise in Japanese modern and contemporary ceramic art. Brought together by their mutual passion for the clay medium, Korff and Mirviss combine their extensive understanding of ceramic art in the West and the East to present this unique perspective on the relationship between the two traditions. The Western examples come entirely from Mr. Korff's collection, the Japanese works are from Joan B. Mirviss LTD and all are available for purchase.
Setting it apart from other exhibitions with this theme, Conversations in Clay will explore the connections by pairing Western and Japanese modern and contemporary ceramic artists, creating visual dialogues. In this exhibit, Korff teams more than twenty ceramists based on his curatorial eye and personal aesthetic. Comparing white-glazed work by Carlo Zauli with those sculptures covered in the celadon blue by Fukami Sueharu points to Zauli's influence on Fukami, with the forms appearing as brothers from distant worlds. Hans Coper's form and simplicity match the Zen-like purity of Mihara Ken in the pairing of a large early Coper vase from 1952 and a recent Mihara sculpture. Peter Voulkos's large gas-fired plate from 1975 evokes a sundered tree relating to current work by Ogawa Machiko. The other pairings similarly reveal the commonalities between aesthetic expressions of modern Western and Eastern ceramic art.
Many of the Western artists studied in Japan, and others make use of Japanese techniques or glazing. All of the artists represented in the exhibit have achieved worldwide renown, with pieces in major museums as well as important public and private collections.