Ippodo Gallery is pleased to present Surface Folds¸ a show of Yukiya Izumita’s clay wares in New York. Coinciding with Asia Week New York from March 9th to April 7th, 30 works will showcase Izumita’s deep understanding of clay and artistry, honed over a lifetime of training and passion. In his exploration of technique through paper and clay, mastery gives way to dual fragility and strength — finding balance.

Marrying the techniques of origami and sculpture, Izumita layers paper on clay and lets it dry. One key ingredient to his unique clay is Chamotte, a pre-calcined, refractory clay fired and ground before being used inside the brick’s recipe. After many experiments with mixed ash, soils, and shimmering manganese mineral, he has mastered the production of a pale metallic texture in the final coating.

In a word, Izumita strives for lightness. His passion is to release from the heavy weight of stress in life, and striving for this weightless serenity is the solution. As a poet and an observer of the natural world, the artist is driven by his desire to metaphorically unburden — to lighten the load.

In his sense of discovery as he incorporates many materials, he uses local earth as the base of his work. The salty soil intrinsic to the works comes from the seaside, and Izumita carries four pounds bags back and forth to be used in his art. The heaviness of the earth gives way to lightness of the craftsmanship.

The salt-rich sands are in a subdued palette of red, yellow, and black, colors coming from nature. Izumita is influenced by the gestural style of Alberto Giacometti and Marino Marini, so the sharp shapes of his work maintain organic colors and natural lines. A recurring theme throughout the showcase is juxtaposition, challenging the balance of contradictory sensations in aesthetics and ideology.

Once the soil has been harnessed, Izumita begins the process of papering the pieces. He folds papers over and over, feeling the rhythm of the folding in his hands. As the tactile process takes shape, he envisions the natural landscape of the earth, and his spirit transcends the motion. This is the source of his artistic inspiration. Then he gets to his work, manifesting the evanescence in form.

Izumita trained in Kokuji-ware under Gakuho Shimodake in 1992, opening his own workshop in Noda Village, Iwate Prefecture, on the border with the northern ceramic production area of Aomori Prefecture in 1995. Northeast Japan (Tohoku) is very severe, and Izumita drew strength from the coastal winds and the endurance found in seaside culture.

Izumita has had a lengthy career, with extensive acclaim in Japan. His international acclaim began when he participated in SOFA New York in 2005, then exhibited in New Mexico and at Ippodo in 2012. In Japan, Izumita has been the recipient of numerous accolades, such as the Excellence Award at the 20th Biennial Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition in 2009, as well as the Grand Prix at the Asahi Ceramic Exhibitions of 2000 and 2002. In 2011, his childhood hometown, Rikuzentakata, was swallowed away by Great Tsunami in 2011. Ippodo Gallery continues to showcase his work as a testament to its mission in pursuit of the beauty of nature, with a sense of global consciousness for the fragility of the environment and the strength of quiet serenity.