Opening Reception: Thursday Jan. 16, 2020, 7-9pm
The Libby Leshgold Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Masaomi Yasunaga, a ceramic artist based in Iga-shi, Mie, Japan. The exhibition is comprised of 98 pieces that are interstitial in nature -- existing somewhere between utile vessel and sculptural object, between formation and decomposition.
Although referred to as ceramics, Yasunaga’s experimentation has led to a process that has removed clay and replaced it with glaze as the primary material element. In order to counter the fragility of the glaze and maintain their form during production, the objects are buried in trays of sand, soil, or rocks. Following their wood firing, they are disinterred in a process akin to archaeological excavation, a reference that is further enhanced by the way they are installed in the exhibition on tomb-like mounds of rough gravel.
Though undeniably connected to the earth, there is something in the work that is also evocative of underwater archaeological finds retrieved from a sunken wreck. As with things unearthed from either sea or land, or memories unearthed from hidden places, the work reminds us of the transformational nature of time, bearing both its ravages and beauty. In a review for the Los Angeles Times, Leah Ollman described Yasunaga’s work as “extraordinary objects, tactile things with insistent, engrossing physicality”.
Masaomi Yasunaga received a Master’s Degree in Environmental Design from Osaka Sangyo University where he studied under Satoru Hoshino, a proponent of the avant-garde ceramic group Sodeisha. He has exhibited extensively in Japan but only recently had his first U.S. solo exhibition at Nonaka-Hill in Los Angeles. The exhibition at the Libby Leshgold Gallery will be the first time his work has been shown in Canada. The artist will be present at the exhibition opening.
The Libby Leshgold Gallery respectfully acknowledges that we are located on the unceded, traditional and ancestral xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.