Myō: Hanako Miwa Exhibition
Yumi Mori, Chief Curator
Toguri Museum of Art
The forms are set on mirrors covering the floor of the gallery. White and light pink lotus flowers bloom between black lotus leaves, and the mirror that reflects their images becomes the surface of a lotus pond.
Hanako Miwa was born into the Miwa family of potters in the town of Hagi, but this is her first solo exhibition as a ceramic artist. The ceramic pieces on display – flowers, buds, and leaves - are very powerful. I did not ask the number of pieces, but there are undoubtedly more than thirty (in fact, there are seventy). Miwa says that she has been developing the image of a lotus pond for some time and it has taken time to give it form. The buds that are beginning to open, the flowers that are blooming luxuriantly, and each leaf, which all have different appearances and marks of being eaten by insects, are all the size of large bowls. And in fact, each individual piece can be used as a container.
The lotus flowers are soft cream color or light pink in color. Effects like black smoke created by blackening techniques seem to be stained into the surface. At first glance, the appearance is like marble. If you move closer and take these objects in your hand, however, you can see the careful polishing of the low-fired black ceramic. The surface has a soft and gentle texture. The artist has chosen techniques that are effective in expressing the softness of flowers and leaves. This soft, white surface with a slightly reddish glow is representative of Hagi ware.
The youthful sensibility permeating these works makes a strong impression on the viewer, but I especially admire the honesty of the artist's approach, which is evident in each piece. The rims of the leaves eaten by insects and the fastidious details in the veins of the leaves show that that the artist is competently engaged with ceramic technology and does not give excessive precedence to imagery. Born to a family of ceramists, she has been in close contact with ceramic technology since her childhood. It is because of this that she has shown such strong work in her first solo exhibition. I look forward to seeing her polish her skills for expression and create works that glow even more brightly in the future.
Tosetsu (July, 2001)
Photo: Gakuji Tanaka
Myo Leaf: Stoneware H12.8 x W39.2 x D37.81cm