Yukiya Izumita

The Clay Talks

October 18, 2012 - November 17, 2012
Opening Reception and Artist Talk : October 18(Thu), 2012, 6-8pm

* We will be closing the gallery from 10/31 - 11/3 due to our participation in SOFA Chicago 2012.

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'When I decide to express something through clay, I look for the answer in its roughness or fragility, its ephemerality, and its tension or lightness.' -Yukiya Izumita

Ippodo Gallery NY will present Yukiya Izumita's first solo exhibition in New York from October 18 to November 17. It will consist of thirty works, ranging from origami-like ornaments and stratified works, comprising of numerous parts, to his tea-bowls and vessels. The artist will give a talk on his work at the opening reception on October 18.

Yukiya Izumita's workshop is situated in Noda Village, Kunohe City, Iwate Prefecture, in the northeast of Japan. Set deep in the mountains, the village still retains several old thatched farmhouses; the sea can be glimpsed in the far distance while the fields close to hand are filled with soybeans. Winter is long in the northern regions, the harsh climate and natural environment creating a tenacious yet affable character in the people. Having been brought up amidst the snow, winds and waves of the coastline, Yukiya Izumita is no exception. Born in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, in 1966, as a boy he found himself attracted to bleak textures-the surface of moss or seaweed covered rocks, the surface of dried fish, decayed trees or the weathered timbers of boats. He had always enjoyed making things out of clay and at the age of twenty-five he decided to become a potter, and became an apprentice to Gakuho, one of the leading potters of the Kokuji-ware that is representative of north-eastern Japan. He learned to use local clay together with the tohakuyu (white glaze) or ameyu (caramel glaze) that are unique to Kokuji-ware, producing earthenware mortars and other daily utensils as he continued his studies. Even today, he still considers the production of mortars and other daily items an important part of his work.
Clay is a language to Izumita. It speaks of his changing emotions or the subtleties of joy, anger, pathos, and humor, while at the same time, containing a trace of sadness. He says 'I sometimes feel startled when I see paper' and many of his works reflect this in their thin, folded forms; retaining their subtle balance through the firing, their roughness and fragility brimming with a feeling of tension and strength. The surface has the appearance of freshly-ploughed earth, but contains the transience of rotting wood, one minute seeming cold, like frost-covered ground, then the next, exhibiting the sweetness of a sugar covered cake.
His hometown was devoured in last year's great tsunami. The kiln at his workshop in Noda village was damaged, but he repaired it himself. He says that he uses the wood carried in by the tsunami as fuel for his kiln. In his work since then, his unique forms have become imbued with a greater power and deformation with the addition of a rhythmical movement, and exhibit more dramatic shapes. This is doubtless due to Izumita's awe of nature and the trauma he has suffered. However, what we see in his work is not something shocking, rather it demonstrates a tranquil, pliant and quiet outlook. This may result from the warmth people exhibited when saving and looking after each other, a magnanimity that forgives everything. Izumita's work invites us into the desolate winds and waves of northeastern Japan's coastal area, showing us the gentleness that lies beyond the harshness and the strength that exists on the other side of sorrow.

1966: Born in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture
1992 : Began to study Kokuji-ware under Gakuho
1995 : Opened his own workshop in Noda Village.
Won the Excellence Award at Noodle Bowl Award Exhibition sponsored by Nisshin Foods Co.
1998 : Began to fire works in a wood-fired cellar kiln
2000 : Won the Grand Prix at the 38th Asahi Ceramic Exhibition
2001: Selected for the 39th Asahi Ceramic Exhibition
Selected for the World Crafts Competition, Kanazawa
2002 : Won the Grand Prix at the 40th Asahi Ceramic Exhibition
Selected for the International Ceramics Festival, Mino
2003: Selected for the 41st Asahi Ceramic Exhibition
Selected for the 17th Biennial Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition
2004 : Invited to participate in the Asahi Contemporary Crafts Exhibition
2005 : Participated in SOFA New York
Selected for the International Ceramics Festival, Mino
Selected for the 18th Biennial Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition
2007 : Opened 'Gallery IZUMITA'
Selected for the 19th Biennial Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition
2009 : Won the Excellence Award at the 20th Biennial Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition
2011: Participated in the 1st Contemporary Kogei Art Fair 2011
Won Iwate Prefectural Award at Iwate Prefecture Art Recommendation Exhibition