Sekisoh Incense Burner, 2021. Photo courtesy of Ippodo Gallery.

“I exist through my connection with the clay; when I concentrate on this connection, I am free.” – Yukiya Izumita

The Japanese American activist Yuri Kochiyama once said, “We are all part of each other,” and this is certainly most reflective in the person and work of Yukiya Izumita. This unique artist, singular in the approach to his philosophy and craft, uses his intuitive creativity to bring inner and outer life together and toward positive expression and vibrant continuity.

At New York’s Ippodo Gallery, the exhibition, entitled Layers of Time: Spatial Ceramic Works by Yukiya Izumita, goes to the heart of the artist’s creations: a myriad of profound disciplines shaped to bring the viewer into a world not seen before – a world of forms, shapes and perceptions.  In presenting how art can be more than just representation, Izumita shows us, in the 25 works exhibited, that it can also be as environmental as it can be representational.

Born in Japan, Izumita was trained in Kokuji-ware, used as common daily ware for over 200 years, under the guidance of Gakuho Shimodake. Izumita further developed his interest during this period by opening his own workshop in Noda Village, near the ceramic production center of Aomori Prefecture in the 1990’s. Due to the ravages left behind by the tsunami of 2011 (in which the artist lost his home), the artist takes on a personal yet studied approach to his craft. Using a meticulous process of using natural clay from the area of his origin, each work expands on its development in a synergistic fashion, becoming a breathing, organic life of its own.

Infinite, bold and vibrant, the work of Yukiya Izumita can be seen as experimental, abstract or continuous, depending on one’s own interpretation – nevertheless, it is a pleasure to bestow on one’s eyes. Upon entering the gallery’s Sekisoh (layers) Series, the work Sekisoh, 2021, (see image) presents itself as an intricate array of layers that would easily remind one of rustic metal or antiquated, washed-away driftwood, yet in the shape of waves cratering inward like if it had nowhere else to go. Izumita’s connection with community in the aftermath of natural events was always important: the hometown of his childhood upbringing suddenly changing with no control, and by creating these pieces, it brings with him an understanding of how vital it is to have a strong connection when it comes to drastic sudden change, and adapting well, artistically, with such a change.

Two other works within the space, Sekisoh Layers, 2021 (see image) and Sekisoh, 2020, presents such detail-oriented and laborious precision, as if starting from the middle and working outwards – flaps of waves moving in its fullest continuum. As one looks closer into each of these works, one can see the enveloping lines, shadows and spaces that would serve as inspiration and, in a sense, continuation to the areas of organic matter, natural progression and spiritual motion.

Sekisoh tea bowl, 2021. Courtesy of Ippodo Gallery.

Other works represent a more cultural and traditional side of history, such as Sekisoh tea bowl, 2021 and Sekisoh Incense Burner, 2021 (see images). Featured most intricately within its delicate size and stature, each piece is both fascinating and mind boggling in its creativity. Originally seen as utilitarian objects, each form takes on a more personal approach, created with care until the object becomes the final shape: textual yet linear, the lines and crevices build optically, creating shades of transparency and light – like a lead pencil on a drawing pad, constantly making little circles with a steady hand, coming more closer and darker with every movement.

Throughout the gallery, Izumita’s work reflects the importance of how clay can become more than just porous substance; it takes shape and form reflective of the world around us – beyond what the eye can see and what the hand can produce. his pieces makes the viewer take on a unique understanding of space, time, energy and feeling – a conscious (and subconscious) state of mind, body and spirit.

In essence, this interesting exhibition will help lead the viewer to see shapes, lines and forms toward a unique perception to earth, nature, cultural tradition and beyond.

The exhibition will be on display till February 17th. Ippodo Gallery is located on 32 East 67th Street in New York City. You can view the art online here.

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