A week ago we promised that we’d have more from Katsuyo Aoki’s stunning contemporary ceramic art show at Jason Jacques, Dark Globe (New York, January 21 – February 21, 2016). We’re making good on that promise now with this post.
Galleries are prone to hyperbole in their statements about exhibitions. It would raise a red flag for us if anyone else were declared “the greatest porcelain artist living today.” As it happens, though, Aoki is in the running for that honorific. And we rarely see gallery space compliment a show as well as JJ’s does. Aoki’s white, baroque works set against the black metal gallery create high drama; the black brings out every facet of these fascinatingly intricate sculptures and makes them radiant.
In addition to the counterbalance, the black room highlights military themes hiding within the ornamentation. CFile Chief Editor Garth Clark wrote last week:
“Many of Katsuyo Aoki’s works draw from 18th century pageantry, weapons and ornate helmets, mixed chords of life and death, of battle and conquest. I took away the feeling of having seen her show from inside a giant suit of armor.”
So in addition to celebrating a show that’s in our running for one of the best of the year, this post will also flesh out more of that context. Enjoy, and keep checking back as we continue to follow Aoki’s unique talent.
Katsuyo Aoki was born in 1972 in Tokyo. She graduated with a BFA in painting from Tama Art University in Tokyo in 1998. In 2000 she received her MFA in ceramic art from the same university. According to her Artsy biography, she is best known for her ceramic sculptures that apply delicate, swirling forms to dark subject matter. Aoki trained first as a painter before taking up ceramic as her primary medium, though she sometimes creates abstracted images on her ceramic surfaces using glazes in monochromatic palettes. Aoki is best known for her works in relief or in the round, and an ornate style that draws from a range of decorative styles. Her works often look radically different from varying perspectives. Frequently used motifs and forms include the skull, the crown, and dismembered parts of animals—allusions to historic narratives and mythologies.
What do you think of Aoki’s contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.