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.

WALL FLOWER VASE
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 45.5 W: 3.5 D: 3.5 Inch H: 17 3/4 W: 1 1/2 D: 1 1/2
C20741
WALL FLOWER VASE
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 61.5 W: 3 D: 3.5 Inch H: 24 1/4 W: 1 1/4 D: 1 1/2
C20740
FLASHING TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 11 W: 14 D: 13 Inch H: 4 1/2 W: 5 3/4 D: 5 1/4
C20739
WHITE TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 9 W: 15 D: 14.2 Inch H: 3 3/4 W: 5 3/4 D: 5 3/4
C20737
BLACK TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 11 W: 14.5 D: 13 Inch H: 4 1/2 W: 5 3/4 D: 5 1/4
C20736
SOFT BLACK RIDGED JAR
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 17 W: 24.5 D: 24.5 Inch H: 6 3/4 W: 9 3/4 D: 9 3/4
C20726
CRESCENT RIDGED JAR
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 15.5 W: 26 D: 25 Inch H: 6 1/4 W: 10 1/4 D: 9 3/4
C20725
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 19.5 W: 33.5 D: 30.5 Inch H: 7 3/4 W: 13 1/4 D: 12 1/4
C20724
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 35 W: 25 D: 29 Inch H: 13 3/4 W: 9 3/4 D: 11 1/2
C20723
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 33 W: 28.5 D: 27 Inch H: 12 3/4 W: 11 1/4 D: 10 3/4
C20722
FLASHING TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 11 W: 13.8 D: 13.8 Inch H: 4 2/4 W: 5 2/4 D: 5 2/4
C20738
WHITE TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 16.5 W: 15 D: 14.5 Inch H: 6 2/4 W: 5 3/4 D: 5 3/4
C20734
DROP
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 16.5 W: 15 D: 14.5 Inch H: 6 2/4 W: 5 3/4 D: 5 3/4
C20733
PULSE
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 29.5 W: 12.5 D: 10.5 Inch H: 11 3/4 W: 4 3/4 D: 4 1/4
C20729
PULSE
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
CmH: 33 W: 16 D13, Inch H:13 W:4 ¼ D: 5 ½
C19971AP
BLACK FACETED WATRER JAR
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 21 W: 16.5 D: 15.5 Inch H: 8 2/4 W: 6 2/4 D: 6 1/4
C20748
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 33 W: 35 D: 35 Inch H: 12 3/4 W: 13 3/4 D: 13 3/4
C20714
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 29 W: 36 D: 33 Inch H: 11 2/4 W: 14 1/4 D: 12 3/4
C20715
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 33.5 W: 30.5 D: 28 Inch H: 13 1/4 W: 12 1/4 D: 11 1/4
C20716
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 21 W: 33.5 D: 30.5 Inch H: 8 2/4 W: 13 1/4 D: 12 1/4
C20717
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 21 W: 32 D: 30 Inch H: 8 2/4 W: 12 3/4 D: 11 3/4
C20718
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 20 W: 34.5 D: 29.5 Inch H: 7 3/4 W: 13 3/4 D: 11 3/4
C20719
BLACK TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 9 W: 16.5 D: 16.5 Inch H: 3 3/4 W: 6 1/2 D: 6 1/2
C20720
HIKIDASHI BLACK TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 10 W: 17.2 D: 16.2 Inch H: 3 3/4 W: 6 3/4 D: 6 1/2
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
Cm H: 10.6 W: 14 D: 13.4 Inch H: 4 1/4 W: 5 3/4 D: 5 1/2
C19707
BIZEN TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 10.5 W: 14 D: 13 Inch H: 4 1/4 W: 5 3/4 D: 5 1/4
C19705
WHITE TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 9.6 W: 13 D: 12.4 Inch H: 3 3/4 W: 5 1/4 D: 4 3/4
C19706
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 30.2 Φ: 15 Inch H: 11 3/4 Φ: 5 3/4
C19718
BOOT
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 26.5 W: 7.3 D: 9.7 Inch H: 10 1/2 W: 2 3/4 D: 3 3/4
C19719
BOOT
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 26.5 W: 7.3 D: 9.7 Inch H: 10 1/2 W: 2 3/4 D: 3 3/4
C19720
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H: 42 W: 27 D: 31 Inch H: 16 3/4 W: 10 3/4 D: 12 1/4
C20543AP
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:32 φ:27 Inch H:12 ¾ φ:10 3/4
C20667
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:41 φ:31cm Inch H:16 ¼ φ:12 1/4 in
C20666
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:46 φ:29 Inch H:18 ¼ φ:11 1/2
C20665
PULSE
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:30 x W:12 x D:11 Inch H:12 x W:4 3/4 x D:4 1/2
C20664
RIDGE WATER JAR
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:17φ:23 Inch H:6 3/4 x D:9 1/4
C20663
RIDGE JAR
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:32 φ:52 cm Inch H:12 ¾ φ:20 1/2 in
C20662
WHITE TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H8.5 φ15.5 Inch H 3 1/2 φ 6 1/4
C20661
BLACK TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:10.5 W:14 D13 Inch H:4 1/4 x W:5 3/4 x D:5 1/4
C20660
WHITE TEA BOWL
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:9.2 x W:14 x D:14 Inch H:3 ¾ W:5 ¾ D:5 3/4
C20659
DROPS
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:17 W:16 D:14 Inch H:6 ¾ W:6 ½ D:5 3/4
C20658
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:33φ:28 Inch H:13 φ:11 1/4
C20657
Yō/孕:CONCEPTION
KOICHIRO ISEZAKI
Cm H:42φ:29 Inch H:16 ¾ φ:11 1/2
C20656