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Viewing Room | browngrotta arts presents Transforming Tradition: Japanese and Korean Contemporary Craft

March 1, 2020 - March 31, 2020

In honor of Asia Art Week 2020 this March, browngrotta arts has collated contemporary works by 12 artists born in Japan and Korea for an online exhibition, Transforming Tradition: Japanese and Korean Contemporary Craft. The works include ceramics, weavings, baskets and sculptures made of paper and silk.

Notable in the exhibition are paper sculptures by Naomi Kobayashi and an elegant silk thread assemblage by her late husband, Masakazu Kobayashi. The couple often collaborated, working on installations that combined elements created by each of them. “These works express a shared vision and such common themes as the tranquility of nature, the infinity of the universe and the Japanese spirit,” Masakuzu once explained. “Naomi and I work in fiber because natural materials have integrity, are gentle and flexible. In my own work, I search for an equilibrium between my capacity as a creator and the energy of the world around me.”

Keiji Nio’s interlaced wall work is inspired by a haiku, Rough Sea of Sado, from Japanese haiku master Matsuo Basho’s haiku series. In it, Basho describes the deep blue waves of the Sea of Japan as they are reflected in the night sky and the light blue waves hitting the beach. The work incorporates ribbons on which Nio has screened images from the sea and tiny pebbles from the shore. Nio is a faculty member at the Kyoto University of Art & Design, who combines industrial and natural materials in his works to make statements about nature and man’s relationship to the world.

Several ceramics by Yasuhisa Kohyama, are included in Transforming Tradition. Kohyama is a renowned Shigaraki potter who uses ancient techniques to explore new forms. He gained widespread attention in Japan in the 60s when he built one of the first anagama kilns since medieval times. Collectors and museums have been quick to acquire his works, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Gardiner Museum of Art in Toronto, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Art and Craft in Hamburg and the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shiga, Japan. Kohyama’s work graces the cover of Contemporary Clay: Japanese Ceramics for the New Century by collectors Alice and Halsey North and curator Joe Earle.

Bamboo sculptures by Jiro Yonzawa are also part of browngrotta arts’ exhibition. Yonezawa has been recognized with the Cotsen Prize, a commission from Loewe to work in leather and inclusion in the prestigious Japan Nitten National Fine Arts Exhibit. Yonezawa has explained his work: “Bamboo basketry for me is an expression of detailed precision. These baskets represent a search for the beauty and precision in nature and a way to balance the chaos evident in these times.”

Korean artist Chang Yeonsoon, who creates ethereal works of starched indigo, was Artist of the Year at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul in 2008. For 35 years, Jin-Sook So, also of Korea, has been creating dimensional works — sculptural vessels and wall pieces  — from stainless steel mesh to international acclaim.

You can view Transforming Tradition: Japanese and Korean Contemporary Contemporary Craft online by visiting browngrotta arts’ YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCV7IJwPD34cF-U88hB5e4aw.

You can see each individual work in the exhibition on Artsy: www.artsy.net/browngrotta-arts/shows and learn more about the artists included by visiting arttextstyle arttextstyle.com and browngrotta arts’ website: www.browngrotta.com


Artists included:
Chiyoko Tanaka (Japan), Jiro Yonezawa (Japan), Masakazu Kobayashi (Japan), Naomi Kobayashi (Japan), Kyoko Kumai (Japan), Kiyomi Iwata (Japan/US), Yasuhisa Kohyama (Japan), Keiji Nio (Japan), Hisako Sekijima (Japan), Toshio Sekiji (Japan), Jin-Sook So (Korea), Chang Yeonsoon (Korea) 


All photos by Tom Grotta, courtesy of browngrotta arts. Not to be published without prior permission. High res. images available upon request.

For all media inquiries, contact State Public Relations at (646) 714 – 2520 or browngrotta@statepr.com. 



March 1, 2020
March 31, 2020
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browngrotta arts
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Chiyoko Tanaka (Japan) Jiro Yonezawa (Japan) Masakazu Kobayashi (Japan) Naomi Kobayashi (Japan) Kyoko Kumai (Japan) Kiyomi Iwata (Japan/US) Yasuhisa Kohyama (Japan) Keiji Nio (Japan) Toshio Sekiji (Japan) Hisako Sekijima (Japan) Jin-Sook So (Korea) Chang Yeonsoon (Korea)
Artwork Medium
Mixed Media


browngrotta arts
276 Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT 06897 United States
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