Pottery as Canvas
The artist behind this piece, Seto Hiroshi (1941-1994), studied at Kyoto Art University with TOMIMOTO Kenkichi. He was invited to work in the Mashiko region of northern Japan, where the Hamada pottery is made, by the famous KAMODA Shoji. Seto developed his own unique avant-garde style despite coming from this very traditional setting. The irregular geometry, reflective surface, and pinstripe patterning of this vase bring to mind the Black Paintings of American artist Frank Stella. Stella, like many of his peers, was very interested in Japanese art and culture, as evidenced by his 1961 application for a Fulbright scholarship to study there. American postwar abstraction enjoyed enormous popularity abroad in the second half of the twentieth century, and Japan was no exception. Stella won First Prize in the Tokyo International Biennial Exhibition of Paintings in 1967, and had solo exhibitions in Japan on average once per year from 1978 to 1992. For an artist born in the 1940s, as Seto was, American-style abstraction was a prominent force during very formative years, and Seto could easily have incorporated these foreign influences into his own work. This piece also draws from a very traditional sense of asymmetry-the surfaces of the vase are irregularly shaped, and the stripes cover some surfaces but not others. The idea of asymmetry is deeply rooted in Japanese culture, and plays an important role in Japanese aesthetics. Asymmetry recalls the unstable and imperfect nature of life, which can translate into beauty in the eye of the mindful viewer. With this piece Seto has created a beautiful fusion of traditions from both East and West, resulting in a unique and lovely vase.
*For further information of Seto Hiroshi, please check the book "Mordern Japanese Ceramics from American Collection" by Frederick Baekeland. p170, and 188.
H: 8 "
With signed wood box