Shio Kusaka in New York, NY

David Zwirner has galleries all over Manhattan, and the world, allowing him the space to truly highlight an artist’s work. The singular installation, one light year, of Shio Kusaka’s ceramic work was breathtaking. I was the only visitor in the gallery, the light was beautiful, and as a ceramicist myself, I could not look at the pieces enough. I attempted to capture the work from different vantage points.

Shio Kusaka, one light year, 2022
clay, stoneware, and porcelain
Twenty-three (23) groupings on copper
38 1/4” x 675” x 73 in

“Kusaka crafts vessels that embrace organic imperfections, recurrent techniques and patterns, and imagery that alludes to historical and contemporary forms.

In her ceramics, which are often made in distinct series, Kusaka articulates unique forms and produces complex designs with a heightened emphasis on difference and repetition, bringing awareness to poetic irregularities. Her work rewards close observation, which reveals layered intricacies and optical qualities through subtle shifts in glazing or decoration. The motifs she combines and recontextualizes—including wood grain and fruit textures, and her children’s infatuation with dinosaurs and other animals—are all influenced by her daily life. Process-oriented titles, composed of terms such as “carved” or “line” followed by a number, reveal the tactility of Kusaka’s work.” (David Zwirner)

The white pieces are porcelain, the colored pieces are stoneware, and the terracotta looking pieces are just described as “clay”.

Shio Kusaka, Jomon study 8, 2021
part of one light year
8 3/4” x 9 1/4” x 7 in

My absolute favorite ceramic period is from Japan’s Jomon culture (ca. 10,500-300 BC), so I loved seeing how Kusaka references it in this modern work. The installation overall was gorgeous, and the copper panel display could not have been better.

The above front piece is my favorite as I specifically like the flame-ribbed vessels from the Middle Jomon Period (ca. 3500-2500 BC), and this piece is beautifully capturing that period.

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