Influences: Japanese Aesthetics and Teachers College Ceramics

Organizes by The Nippon Club
In cooperation with Teachers College, Columbia University
Curated by Thomas Lollar and Aimée Ehrman

The Teachers College, Columbia University program is one of the oldest ceramics studios in New York City, with a distinguished history going back to the late 19th Century. The works on display seek to pay tribute and highlight the connection to the great heritage of Japanese ceramic art.

It was a fortunate coincidence that, Bernard Leach, the English potter, met Shoji Hamada while in Japan in 1909-1920. Hamada’s pottery possessed a natural spontaneity and aesthetic connection to folk traditions in the clay medium. A deep friendship developed between the two and Hamada spent time in England.  This was at a time when mass made, factory produced pottery was omnipresent in everyday life.  The teachings of Hamada and Leach brought many followers interested in the evidence of the human hand in creating pottery.

Leach returned to England and revived Japanese folk techniques and those of English hand-made traditions of the past.   A number of American potters were influenced by Leach and sought to revive folk traditions in this country.   The Japanese stoneware pottery was fired at a high temperature (1300C) allowing for richness of color.  From approximately 1950 onward, American ceramic studios at colleges and universities had the capacity for high temperature, gas-fired kilns.  Prior to this time, most ceramic works were earthenware and fired at lower temperatures.

The influence of the Japanese aesthetic is both direct and indirect. It can be seen through the works of exhibiting artists such as Robert Barone and Stephen Borow, in their high-fired, iron spot surface decoration, akin to Hamada and Leach. Or it can be experienced in the works by other exhibiting artists such as Joan Bell and Aimee Ehrman who embrace the idea of the beautifully imperfect and find inspiration within nature and personal experience.

We hope that you will find the pieces on display engaging and showing the pottery connection between our cultures.

Exhibiting Artists
Ricardo Arango, Robert Barone, Joan Bell, Stephen Borow, Tiina Durant, Bruce Edelstein, Aimee Ehrman, Barbara Halston, Bonnie Levine, Thomas Lollar, Martha Rayner, Reuben Sinha, Watuza Vidal

Period February 13 – February 26, 2020
Hours Mon-Fri: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sat: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sun・Holiday(2/17): Closed
Location The Nippon Gallery at The Nippon Club (7th Floor)
145 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019
Admission Admission Free



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