Revisiting Rimpa – Design, Function, and the Art of Nakamura Takuo

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Ash Glazed Stoneware Vase On Thin Slab 3.5 X 13.8 X 2.4; .5 X 21.3 X 5.5” © Courtesy of the artist & Joan B. Mirviss LTD
Revisiting Rimpa – Design, Function, and the Art of Nakamura Takuo

39 East 78th Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10075
September 11th, 2012 - October 19th, 2012

upper east side
Mon-Fri 11-6
ceramics, sculpture


Joan B Mirviss LTD is pleased to announce 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 oeuvre, 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 (polychromeoverglazed
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.