SAYAKA SHINGU, Ewer No. 1, 2019

Mixed clay

3.5 x 5.12 x 5.12 inches




New Directions: Japanese Women Artist 

November 14 - december 12, 2020

Until the 1950s, even if Japanese women wanted to enter the pottery world, their work at kilns was only an auxiliary process, and they faced physical difficulties while being blocked by various conventions. Therefore, a continuous study began to promote kneading, forming and firing among women who blazed their own paths to become ceramic artists.


Since then, female ceramic artists have expanded their playing field as handicraft "pottery" has been changing into artistic "ceramics" including sculptural works full of creativity and design.


As independent artists, a greater number of female ceramic artists, who are most likely have studied pottery at art universities, pursue and express their world of deep contemplation in clay, and play a part in the diversity of contemporary ceramic art in Japan while freely displaying their unique visions and concepts.


In addition, the bold and precise forms, and fantastic and delicate expressions their works have been increasingly valued overseas in recent years, rather than in Japan.


We are proud to bring you four contemporary Japanese female artists, Mikiko Tomita, Mayumi Nakamura, Sayaka Shingu and Mio Yamaguchi, artists at different stages of their careers for a group exhibition in Boston. Tomita exhibited in the USA more than 10 years ago in a seminal exhibition, Touch Fire at the Smith College, MA while Nakamura, Shingu and Yamaguchi are exhibiting for the first time here. 


SKU: SS006
  • Most of my pieces resemble fragile dried flowers. As colored flowers are common and too familiar to people, I use black clay which I think allows one to use one’s imagination and see beyond flowers.

    Before creating a piece, I have the size and roughly the shape in my mind. If I first make a sketch for the completed image, the shapes tend to be forms I have previously seen, and so the finished piece won’t be interesting to me; therefore, I prefer to allow for significant changes while I am working on a piece.

    I mix clay with black pigment in varying proportions in order to create a monotonic palette of color. When constructing a piece, I first make many ‘petals’ out of very thin black clay, and while doing this I keep in mind the need to express various movements or shapes of the individual petals. I then make thousands of the very small, needle size rods that form the center cluster of ‘stamens’ of the flower, which is extremely time consuming. It is important to me to convey a sense of growing, undulating stamens in order to express that the flower is in the final stage of life. I think this is the most important part of the execution. After the first (bisque) firing, I then add either white slip or occasionally glaze and fire them a second time.

    When I observe all the stages of the life of a single flower - the first stem, the buds, the full bloom, the wilting and drying - I am reminded of the same stages in the lives of human beings and I think about their inner feelings. This is generally the source of my inspiration. In spite of the inevitable ending of life, both flowers and humans produce new generations. I am always deeply touched by the invisible pulsating life force of flowers, and I try to express this energy in my work with the forms of flowers. I am satisfied if I could convey this to others.

  • 1979    Born in Osaka, Japan
    2001    B.F.A. Osaka University of Arts
    2003    The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Studio Artist for the Artist-in-Residence Program

    Solo Exhibitions

    2006    Gallery Maronie, Kyoto (’05)
    2007    “CUBIC” gallery ITEZA, Kyoto
    2010    INAX Galleria Ceramica, Tokyo 
                  Silver Shell, Tokyo
    2011    INAX Live Museum, Aichi
    2012    Gallery yuragi, Kyoto
    2013    Gallery Suchi, Tokyo (’10)
    2014    ENTOREZ, Hyogo
    2015    Gallery Tosei, Osaka
                  Gallery Utsuwa-note, Saitama
    2017    Kochukyo, Tokyo
    2018    Takashimaya Nihombashi, Tokyo
                  Gallery Labo, Ehime (’16)
    2019    Rokurokudo, Kyoto (’13)
                  Utsuwakan, Kyoto (’12, ’13, ’15, ’17)
    2020    Gallery Utsuwa-note, Tokyo
                  Gallery Labo, Ehime (’16, ’18, ’19)

    Group Exhibitions

    2007    Asahi Ceramic Exhibition (’04)
    2010    Three-Dimensional Art Show by Contemporary Artists / Bunkamura Gallery, Tokyo

            +PLUS: THE ART FAIR, Tokyo

    2012    Asia Top Gallery Hotel Art Fair Hong Kong / Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

            ART KYOTO 2012, Kyoto

            The 7th Paramita Museum Ceramic Art Grand Prize Exhibition / Paramita Museum, Mie

    2013    ART OSAKA 2013, Osaka

            LA CERAMIQUE JAPONAISE, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Turkey

            Wondering! Amazing! Amusing! 4 Ceramists Exhibition / Saihodo Gallery, Tokyo (in each year since 2013)

    2014    Metamorphose / Takashimaya Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Shinjuku, Nihombashi

            JURYOKU / Gallery Suchi, Tokyo

    2015    ART OSAKA 2015, Osaka

            JURYOKU / Gallery Suchi, Tokyo

    2017    Object Exhibition / YAKATA YUSAI, Tokyo

    2019    SPARKLE / Rokurokudo, Kyoto

            Transcendental World / Setouchi City Museum of Art, Okayama

            Ryosokuin Kenninji Temple, Kyoto


    2004    Selected for Asahi Ceramic Exhibition (’07)
    2008    Selected for Kyoto Art and Craft Biennale, The Museum of Kyoto
    2012    Selected for the 7th Paramita Museum Ceramic Art Grand Prize Exhibition / Paramita Museum, Mie

    Selected Public Collections

    Anadolu University Museum, Eskisehir, Turkey

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