The Breath of Clay: The Life of Koichiro Isezaki's Contemporary Bizen

March 12, 2020 - April 16, 2020
Opening March 12, 2020 5-8pm

Ippodo Gallery is proud to present Koichiro Isezaki’s first NYC solo exhibition, The Breath of Clay: The Life of Koichiro Isezaki’s Contemporary Bizen. The show will consist of vessels, tea bowls, and Isezaki’s latest ‘Yō’ [Conception] series.

Works in this exhibition depict a conversation about tradition and a challenge against history. Isezaki’s Bizen ware reflect the past and give hope for the future.

“I am not an artist that thinks about the definition of tradition while making [my art]. We are tradition, we are a part of it. It’s not in the past. We live and continue through it.”
- Koichiro Isezaki

Bizen ware is a stoneware produced in west Japan. Imbe, Bizen Province, has an 800-year history and is considered one of the Six Ancient Kilns. Bizen ware is composed of sticky, plastic, and fine clay thousands of years old, found in rice paddies. The clay body has a high iron content making the surface unreceptive to glaze. Thus, the Bizen tradition features an unglazed, natural finish. Koichiro followed in the footsteps of his Bizen master grandfather, Yōzan, and his father, Jun, who was a Living National Treasure. His more liberated approach to the material was developed through his studies in the United States where he discovered a feeling of unity and decided to renounce the concept of tradition.

Isezaki works closely with his materials from start to finish. As he makes the clay body from raw material, he the materials’ energy to use as the base of the work. In Bizen ware, the colors of the clay that surface depend on both oxygen and the type of firewood used. The less firewood, the more oxidizing the flame will be and, as the flames move upward in the Anagama kiln, the vessels turn a bright reddish brown. Because of their extreme plasticity, Bizen wares are fired slowly and over a long period of time. With careful consideration of material and composition, Isezaki creates a conversation between the interior and exterior of the finished piece and through technique and style, he brings life back into a an old time-honored tradition.

Koichiro Isezaki carries on his family’s generational practice of Bizen ware. He is the first son of Living National Treasure Isezaki Jun. Isezaki was the former apprentice of New York-based ceramic artist Jeff Shapiro, who studied under Koichiro’s father’s apprentice, Yamashita Jyoji. Straying away from tradition to create something new, his works represents organized chaos and organic form.

PULSE
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
CmH: 33 W: 16 D13, Inch H:13 W:4 ¼ D: 5 ½
C19971AP
BLACK FACETED WATRER JAR
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H8 ½ x W6 ½ x D 6 ¼in H21xW16.5xD15.5 cm
C20748
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H13xW14xD14in H33 x W35 x D35cm
C20714
C20715
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H11 1/2xW141/4xW13in H29 x W36 x D33cm
C20715
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H131/4xW121/4x111/4in H33.5 x W30.5 x D28cm
C20716
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H81/2xW131/4xD121/4in H21 x W33.5 x D30.5cm
C20717
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H81/2xW123/4xD12in H21 x W32w x D30cm
C20718
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H8xW133/4xD113/4in H20 x W34.5 x D29.5cm
C20719
BLACK TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H33/4xH61/2xD61/2in H9 x W16.5x D16.5cm
C20720
HIKIDASHI BLACK TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H4xW7xD61/2in H10 x W17.2 x D16.2cm
C20721
BLACK TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 9.5 W: 15 D: 15 Inch H: 3 3/4 W: 5 3/4 D: 5 3/4
C20735
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 26 W: 14.5 D: 13.5 Inch H: 10 1/4 W: 5 3/4 D: 5 1/2
C20732
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 31 W: 13.5 D: 12.5 Inch H: 12 1/4 W: 5 1/2 D: 4 3/4
C20731
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 29.5 W: 17 D: 12.5 Inch H: 11 3/4 W: 6 3/4 D: 4 3/4
C20730
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 32 W: 13.5 D: 12.5 Inch H: 12 3/4 W: 5 1/2 D: 4 3/4
C20728
PULSE
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 29.5 W: 13.5 D: 11 Inch H: 11 3/4 W: 5 1/2 D: 4 1/2
C20727
RED FLASHING TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H4 1/4 x W5 3/4 x D 51/2 in H10.6×W14×D13.4 cm
C19707
BIZEN TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H4 1/4 x W5 3/4 x D 5 1/4 in H10.5 W14 D13 cm
C19705
WHITE TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H4 x W 5 1/4 x D5 in H9.6×W13×D12.4 cm
C19706
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H11 ¾ x W5 ¾ x D5 ¾ in H30.2×Φ15 cm
C19718
BOOT
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H10 ½ x W2 ¾ x D 3 ¾ in H26.5×W7.3×D9.7 cm
C19719
BOOT
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H10 ½ x W2 ¾ x D 3 ¾ in H26.5×W7.3×D9.7 cm
C19720
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H16 3/4 x W10 3/4 x D12 1/4 in H42xW27xD31cm
C20543AP
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
C20667
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H16 1/4 φ12 1/4 in H41 φ31cm
C20666
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H18 1/4 φ11 1/2in H46 φ29cm
C20665
PULSE
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H12 x W4 3/4 x D4 1/2 in H30 x W12 x D11 cm
C20664
RIDGE WATER JAR
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
C20663
RIDGE JAR
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
C20662
WHITE TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H 3 1/2 φ 6 1/4 in H8.5 φ15.5 cm
C20661
BLACK TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
C20660
WHITE TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H 3 3/4φ5 3/4 in 9.2 x W14 x D14 cm
C20659
DROPS
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
C20658
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H13 φ11 1/4 in H33 φ28 cm
C20657
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
H16 3/4 φ11 1/2in   H42 φ29 cm
C20656