Rinpa: Silver Waves Lacquer works by Tohru Matsuzaki

November 1-21, 2018
(Tue.-Sat. 11a.m. – 6p.m.)
Opening Reception : Thursday, November 1, 6 – 8 p.m.

New York, NY, September 29th, 2018 ー Ippodo Gallery is pleased to present its latest exhibition, “ Rinpa: Silver Waves”, a solo showcase of lacquer wares by Tohru Matsuzaki (b. 1944) will be on view for November 1 – November 21.

His deep understanding of Japanese artistry has flourished through a lifelong journey of vitality and self-discovery, leading to unique and inventive works which remain useful and subtle in design.

Tohru Matsuzaki lives and works in a beautiful gated residence in Motegi, just north of Tokyo. It is a stone’s throw from the renowned pottery center of Mashiko, where ceramic artist Shoji Hamada first cultivated the folk art movement Mingei in 1930. And so, past and future coexist in this quiet enclave, as our artist continues to create. Today, he is widely celebrated, and heads the Kougeibu (Craft Division) of the influential artists’ association Kokugakai.

Matsuzaki’s appreciation of form and function was fused by his unprecedented work ethic. Seemingly rough around the edges but equally familiar and kind, the artist’s sense of self is synonymous with the pieces on display. Although his father was a Nihonga painter, in 1974, Matsuzaki’s pursuit of lacquer study proved he was as fascinated by its significance in traditional Japanese culture as by its humble, functional origins–particularly Mingei, or folk art. As such, Matsuzaki’s experimentation remains exceptional, essentially creating his own genre.

At first, he worked solely in the natural tones of the red and clear lacquer on wood, only adding the matte-finished black lacquer to his portfolio. This stands apart from the typical works of the period, in what Asian art specialist Martin Barnes has called, “tactile in a very unpretentious way, not obviously rustic like some Mingei lacquer.”

Matsuzaki approaches the process with his trademark energy and unique eye. He hollows out the wood, shapes it, then applies and reapplies the thick coats of fresh lacquer, accenting with cinnabar for red. In this methodology, he has uncovered a means to express his individuality: a technique rooted in simplicity and strength. The beauty of Matsuzaki’s work lies in this dual significance. The silver waves tell the story.

These silver waves evoke the whimsy of the Rinpa movement, the Japanese art category established in the 17th century. As director Shoko Aono explains, “His sculptural works capture the viewer’s heart. Carved from single pieces of 400-to 500 year-old zelkova, horse chestnut or chestnut timber that have been dried for more than twenty years, they do not warp. The beauty of the numerous coats of black or vermillion lacquer awake ancient memories of the Jōmon period that lie dormant within us.”

And so, Ippodo gallery invites you to awaken. The exhibition runs from November 1 to 21 at Ippodo Gallery’s New York location.


Tohru Matsuzaki
1944 Born in the Umegaoka district of Tokyo, the eldest son of Nihonga-style painter and dyer, Shu-ki Matsuzaki
1967 Graduated from the Literature Department of Tamagawa University
1974 Studied under the potter, Tatsuzo Shimaoka
1982 First selected for the Kokugakai exhibition. 1983: received the Kokugakai New Talent Award.
1984: became affiliate member.
1987: received the Kokugakai Affiliate Award for Excellence
1988 Nominated for membership of the Kokugakai. Moved his studio to Motegi-machi, Tochigi Prefecture
2001 Produced the vases for Daniel Ost’s ‘Daniel Ost Flower Festival’ in Tokyo
2002 Contributed to Shigeru Uchida’s Exhibit at the ‘Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2002’ (Milan, Italy)
2003 Participated in the ‘Turning Point: Oribe and the Arts of Sixteenth Century Japan’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
2006-2009 Become a Chairman of the Judging Committee of Craft Section of the Kokugakai 2009 Solo exhibition at Ippodo Gallery New York (New York, U.S.A.)
Collections: Schleswig Folk Museum (Schleswig, Germany) Kuri no Ki Museum (Nagano, Japan)
2009,2012: Solo exhibition at Ippodo Gallery New York
1996-Present Exhibition at Ippodo Gallery Tokyo

In addition, holds various solo and group exhibitions throughout the country.

Public Collection :
Philadelphia Museum of Art / Philadelphia, PA
Detroit Institute of Arts / Detroit, MI
University of Michigan Museum of Art / Ann Arbor, MI
Schleswig Folk Museum / Schleswig, Germany
Kuri no Ki Museum / Nagano, Japan

12 East 86th street, # 507 ( between Fifth & Madison Avenues ) New York, NY 10028
T. +1.212. 967. 4899
Tue. – Sat. : 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
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Kondaya Genbey x Laura de Santillana Moon : Tsuki wo koso …

Special collaboration exhibition celebrates Kondaya’s 280th anniversary

Kondaya Genbey x Laura de Santillana
Moon : Tsuki wo koso …

October 6th ~ 8th, 2018

Venue: Kondaya
Muromachi-sanjosagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan

Many a time have I gazed at the moon
But never so poignant did it seem
As amid tonight’s star-strewn skies

Poem by Kenreimon-in Ukyō no Daibu (ca. 1157 – ca. 1233),
Japanese noblewoman, Heian Period (794 – 1185)

Our installation images from the exclusive exhibition in Kyoto.

Between Forms : The Terracotta Cosmos by Mokichi Otsuka September 06, 2018 – September 28, 2018

Opening Reception with artist : September 6, 6-8 p.m.

Mon. – Fri. : 11 a.m.to 6 p.m.
Saturdays by appointment.


Ippodo Gallery is pleased to present terracotta works by Mokichi Otsuka (b. 1956), displayed from September 6 to 28, 2018.

Explorations of form take shape with two recurrent motifs—predominately women and cats. Female heads, busts and hands bear reference to the Greco-Roman tradition of seeking an idealized womanly figure in a three-dimensional world, and the terracotta medium to the history of pottery and its life-bearing properties. Under the tutelage of Italian sculptor Aldo Rontini in Faenza, Italy, Otsuka was encouraged to harness the power of ancient traditions through ceramic tiles. Following five years of illness, a chance encounter with the ancient Greek goddess Kore solidified his interest in the seemingly inexpressible vitality of humanity, and eternal fascination with Western heritage.

And yet, Otsuka’s work takes on a contemporary relevance in its homage to Eastern traditions, in that it looks inward. Particularly in the new cat works, sharp, long eyes bear reference at once to the hollowed and unattainable women of Modigliani paintings, Egyptian and Nepalese deities, and even the Noh masks of Japanese theater. Their ability to transcend art historical moments means that their fluidity succeeds in achieving its distance, personifying the value of life in Western antiquity while also encapsulating the unknowable inner life prevalent in Buddhist teachings.

As they bridge the worlds of Greco-Roman and Japanese art, Otsuka’s terracotta wares are unique. Even as the concepts endure, the artist deviates from prehistoric Japanese ceramic aesthetics and their contemporary experimentational counterparts. Pieces are fired at 1060° Celsius (1940° Fahrenheit), in an entirely unique process he continues to innovate. Most recently, he has developed a deeply symbolic and significant perforation technique.

What began as red clay inlaid with white dots has evolved to perforations in white clay. Naturally occurring cracks are left as part of the work to reveal its soul. These holes are a window to the cosmos, undulating in patterns and creating a passage between worlds. They symbolize nature’s energy, encapsulating the inexpressible theories crescendoing in each work of art.

Otsuka has found solace in the expression of mind and body through his works. He pursued extensive education to expand his universe, first in Japanese painting at the graduate school of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (present- day Tokyo University of Art) in 1981, and later at the Istituto Statale d’Arte per la Ceramica Gaetano, in Faenza, Italy in 1994, where he has continued to exhibit annually since 2006.

As such, Otsuka’s unique fusion of cultural influences has been exhibited namely in the regions where he has drawn inspiration: his home country of Japan, and his beloved Italy. He has held solo exhibitions throughout Japan and Italy, as well as at the 4th Ceramics Biennale in Cairo, Egypt, in 1998. Ippodo is happy to announce that this is the first Mokichi Otsuka show in New York City.

This exhibition also marks a transformation in the ethos of Ippodo Gallery. The message of the gallery has always been in sync with the natural world, but increasing diplomatic engagements are solidifying its place in the canon of cross-culturalism. May this exhibition be a continue culmination of exchange of Japanese culture with the Western world.

For more information and to view an online catalogue, please visit our Exhibition page, or see our official press release.

‘Peace is …Coexistence’ at the United Nations on May 18th was a big success !

The 7th ‘ Peace is …’ Event at the United Nations on May 18th was a big success! The audience enthusiastically shared the spirit of Coexistence and Innovation through our ZEN-An ( the suitcase tea house designed Kuniji Tsubaki ) presentation.
The calligraphy ‘Kyo Sei’ (Coexistence) by Suikei Saito made beautiful harmony with ZEN-An, and our selected tea bowls entertained each ambassador with ITO-EN’s green tea.
Thank you for all the wonderful team work Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, UN Chamber Music Society of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council, ITO EN, TATE Hatoryu NY Japanese Sword Fight Performing Arts, and Mai Fujisawa !
( photos © 2018 Douglas Dubler and © Tokio Kuniyoshi )

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi


© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi


© 2018 Douglas Dubler

© 2018 Douglas Dubler

© 2018 Douglas Dubler

© 2018 Douglas Dubler


© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi


© Tokio Kuniyoshi

© Tokio Kuniyoshi


Ippodo Gallery at the United Nations ‘ Peace is … Coexistence ‘ on May 18th!


Ippodo Gallery is pleased to announce our participation in Peace is … Coexistence: Tea Ceremony for Peace and Innovation at the United Nations in New York.
Please join us on Friday, May 18th at 2pm for this 7th United Nations “Peace is…” event, held in the UN Visitors Centre General Assembly Lobby.

“Peace is…” is an ongoing project to focus Art and Culture as a medium through which we can better connect with the UN and its agenda. While on its own art may not solve the world’s conflicts, it can provide vision and inspiration as we strive for peace.
Overseen by the Permanent Mission of Japan facilitating the showcase of Japanese artists residing in New York for certain time of period, this event supports the STI (Science, Technology, and Innovation) Forum in June, aiming to advance ongoing Sustainable Development Goal agendas and objectives.

The highlight of this May’s presentation will be the showcase of the suitcase tea room, ZEN-An. Produced in partnership with Ito-en and Ippodo Gallery, the ZEN-An will be reconstructed on site by architect Kuniji Tsubaki in Kimono, alongside some of Japan’s finest artisans.
Guests will be guided by tea masters, invited to drink Japanese matcha tea and sample tea from all over the world: a metaphor for cross-culturalism as well as mutual reflection and respect.

The ZEN-An is Ippodo’s latest effort to share Japanese culture and craftsmanship on a global scale. The mobile architectural structure is portable and lightweight, but packed with high-quality and inventive Japanese architecture. This ingenious construction was designed by Tsubaki to be assembled in just 15 minutes–the same amount of time it takes incense to burn. As the ZEN-An  is built, the UN Chamber Music Society of the UN Staff Recreation Council will perform music featuring Mai Fujisawa, who will sing “Reprise” from Spirited Away among others. This tea ceremony was brought to Central Park on November 1st, masterfully celebrated in the serenity of the vivid foliage. Elegant Japanese carpentry techniques were hand-done, impossible to replicate with machinery.

Here is the special video that captured the tea ceremony in Central Park :


Please click to watch a video.

This event marks a culmination of Gallery Director Shoko Aono’s decade of bridging cultures through art. Following the suitcase tea room performance with ZEN-An, she will be speaking on coexistence and its power–not just with Japanese messaging, but across the world.
“We are more alike than we are different,” explains Aono, “In our wants, our pursuits, and our moments of calm, let us enjoy the tea from all over the world. In these expressions, may we find community, and continue to spread coexistence wherever it is needed.”

Ippodo Gallery sends a special thank you to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), together with DPI NGO Youth Representatives, and Brenda Vongova, Artistic Director of the UN Chamber Music Society. Together, we believe in the power of art to bridge divisions and bring people together.

Please click this invitation from H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations and the Missions of Mexico, Kenya, Austria, Finland, Bangladesh, Philippines, Canada, Costa Rica, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland, Brazil and Indonesia to R.S.V.P. and follow the instructions by Ms. Agnes Mallari.

(Please do not send us R.S.V.P.)

Oceans Formed: Glass Works by Midori Tsukada from May 24th!


Oceans Formed: Glass Works by Midori Tsukada

May 24 – June 21, 2018
Opening reception : May 24th, 6 – 8 p.m.

Mon. – Fri. : 11 a.m.to 6 p.m.
Saturdays : Appointment only by the day before your visit

Ippodo Gallery is pleased to present “ Oceans Formed : Glass works by Midori Tsukada.” 20 will be on view for May 24 – June 21, a must-see presentation of exceptional glass and copper creations.

After years of study in both glass and welded metalwork, Midori Tsukada (b. 1972) has mastered a skillful technique that reveals pale blues and greens through a naturally occuring copper oxidation process, with occasional hints of silver and gold. The colors evolve free-form on cool toned glass, as the hues and beads evoke the gentle mist of an ocean spray, or the dew from rainfall on a forest’s leaf. This effect is delicate and ephemeral on the translucent glass, capturing a fleeting feeling even as the permanence and deceptive durability of the materials endures.

To Tsukada, that glass is a relatively new material in the field of ceramic expression brims with potential for diversity of expression. In this experimentation, the layered metals are highly unique, with an air at once of unpredictability and mystery. During the firing process, the slow heat of the kiln curves the shape of the glass, and Tsukada gathers this shape in the final result of the object, accounting for the natural rhythms and whims of the shifting form.
In the spontaneity, each object tells its own story. Natural Lace (2) suggests the curve of an ocean wave, with swirls of blue-green and flecks of gold underscored by a deep blue. Natural Lace (3) looks like a deep green pond, dipping darker into the base with beads of light green reminiscent of a surrounding forest. The open face of Natural Ground (4) curves like palms of a leaf, or open hands. The works speak; they tell stories. They allow us to question our own existence.

From ancient times, there has been a distinctly Japanese desire to coexist with nature. To capture the earthly sensations of wind and water, of forest and fire, has a profundity that does not translate to other cultures, and is hard to put into words. But the mission of artists like Tsukada is to listening the voice of nature, and attempt to achieve this heightened embodiment through art. In this, she finds her own voice, interacting with the natural world through her creations. It is the artist’s wish that the link between nature and self through glass will resonate with audiences around the world.

About the Artist

Born in Gifu, Tsukada studied metalcraft before entering Toyama City Institute of Glass Art, where she pursued her interest in combining glass and metal, completing her studies in 2002. From there, she worked as a researcher at Kanazawa Utatsuyama Craft Workshop, and as a glass assistant at Akita Public Arts and Crafts Junior College of Arts and Crafts. Beginning in 2006, she was the glass studio coordinator at Kanazawa Utatsuyama Craft Workshop, and opened her own studio in Toyama in 2011, where she continues her artistic practice today. She has received many honors and awards, from the International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa in 2001, the Contemporary Glass Triennial in Toyama in 2002, the 2007 Silver Prize at the International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa, the 2013 Gold Prize at the International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa, and many more. Following numerous exhibitions in Japan and Korea, she began showing with Ippodo Gallery in 2012. Her work has been widely collected around Japan, and most recently entered the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland.

For more information and to view an online catalogue, please visit our Exhibition page, or see our official press release.