March 19, 2009 - May 09, 2009
Reception : March 20 5-7pm

FEBRUARY 27, 2009 - NEW YORK: Ippodo Gallery New York will present the first US exhibition by Japanese lacquer artist Tohru Matsuzaki from March 19 through May 9 in its Chelsea space. Featuring some 50 works, the exhibition provides a sumptuous sampling of Matsuzaki's designs. Matsuzaki creates bowls, trays, coasters, serving dishes and plates from exclusively Japanese materials in intense shades of red and deep black.

Rich in historical and cultural significance, Japanese lacquer art has been created in Japan since the Jomon Period, which was from approximately 14,000 B.C. to 400 B.C. Indeed, the art form is so closely tied to national tradition that the words, 'japan' and 'japanware' are often used as names for Japanese lacquerware. Building upon this centuries-old history, Matsuzaki brings a new level of function and modernity to to his creations. Applying multiple layers of red, black, white, and clear lacquers to hollowed-out Keyaki and Nara wood, he creates highly durable works that follow the 'beauty in utility' philosophy articulated in the Japanese folk art movement, or Mingei. Whereas most lacquer art is delicate, Matsuzaki's designs withstand high heat and the occasional drop.

Tohru Matsuzaki was born 1944 in Tokyo, and lives and works in Motegi, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. He graduated from Tamagawa University in 1967 and apprenticed with renowned potter Tatsuzo Shimaoka. Originally a ceramicist, Matsuzaki has been working as a lacquer artist for the past 35 years. He has exhibited his work in Japan since 1970.