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For his first solo exhibition outside of Japan, HORI ICHIRŌ has created enticing and highly original vessels exclusively for his New York debut at Joan B Mirviss LTD. Opening during Asia Week New York this September, Classical Dignity, Contemporary Beauty is the culmination of the gallery's two-year long series showcasing the extraordinary range of ceramics produced in the historic Mino region of Japan. Mino is at the heart of both Japan's longstanding clay tradition and that tradition's most innovative interpretations. Hori exemplifies the best in Japanese ceramic artistry, as he is rooted in classical styles while bringing those traditions forward with a strikingly contemporary flair.
A self-described mountain man who lives in semi-seclusion, Hori Ichirō (b. 1952) resides at his kiln compound isolated from modern life. His exceptionally powerful works in a range of Mino styles, however, are by no means stuck in the past. From thick, crawling Shino glazes on swirling vessels to outstanding ki-seto works in restrained yellows, he brings an exciting modern perspective to a venerable tradition.
Born into a ceramic-making family in Gifu, Hori Ichirō studied as a young man under Living National Treasure, Katō Kōzō (b. 1935). In 1984, he built his own anagama (tunnel) kiln in the mountains of Mizunami City, where he continues to experiment with traditional materials and techniques, producing pieces of great complexity and variety. In 1997, he moved his workshop to Ōkusa and established a new compound with both climbing and tunnel kilns.
Known primarily in Japan for his dynamic wood-fired vessels and white and gray Shino and Seto teabowls, Hori's distinctive forms result from long periods of contemplation. He fires his kilns just twice a year, using long, low-heat firings to allow the clay’s deep-reddish tone to emerge through the thick, creamy glazes. Aside from Shino and Seto ware, Hori excels at black Seto glazing and the difficult ash-glazed ki-seto ware, in which a pale yellow color is applied to a roughly textured surface. Using all the traditional styles of Mino as his foundation, Hori's inner tension and strength emerges in clear, robust forms.
My inner feelings are expressed honestly and frankly as I shape and fire my works. I prefer genuine, natural sentiments that are not flamboyant.
Hori Ichirō's works have been featured in museum exhibitions at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA; Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI; and Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Berlin, Germany, among others. He is collected by several major museums in the United States, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; Seattle Art Museum, WA; San Antonio Museum of Art, TX; Crocker Museum of Art, CA; and Cincinnati Art Museum, OH.
Classical Dignity, Contemporary Beauty: Hori Ichirō opens on September 17 and runs through October 15, 2021. It will feature twenty new masterworks that showcase Hori's innovative use of traditional Mino-style glazes and his command of firing techniques.