Earth, Air, Fire & Water : The Four Elements in Japanese Arts

8 October - 19 December 2020

Onishi Gallery is proud to present The Four Elements in Japanese Arts: Earth, Air, Fire and Water – a stunning exhibition that showcases the technical mastery of Contemporary Japanese metalwork artists. For generations upon generations, Japanese people have appreciated and incorporated natural elements into their everyday lives. They have adorned the interiors of their homes with natural forms, designed spaces that capture the natural world in the frame of a garden, decorated art objects with subjects found in the wild, and penned haiku poetry about details of the natural environment. In this landmark exhibition, featured artists draw upon the four central elements of earth, air, fire, and water in metalwork and ceramic creations to communicate core themes and creative visions that ground Japanese art and life.

  

In concert with this original exhibition, Onishi Gallery is organizing a year-long Japanese metalwork show to open in March 2021 as part of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s (MET’s) 150th anniversary program. Onishi Gallery is the only gallery in the United States that represents contemporary Japanese metalwork artists, striving to foster a strong market for this precious art form abroad. Monika Bincsik, Diane and Arthur Abbey Assistant Curator of Japanese Decorative Arts at the MET, notes that, “In East Asia, 2020 is the year of the Metal Rat. Each of the 12 Chinese zodiac years is governed by one of the five elements—wood, fire, earth, water, and metal—and the last of these is particularly associated with firmness, persistence, rigidity, strength, and determination, yet simultaneously admired for the fact that when heated it turns flexible and collaborative.”

 

The Asia Week 2020 exhibition provides a visual foundation for the Japanese creative tradition of artwork based on natural elements, and the MET exhibition will deepen in that exploration through focus on magical metalwork design. Featured artists in Asia Week include Living National Treasures Osumi Yukie, Nakagawa Mamoru, Ozawa Komin, Tamagawa Norio, Uozumi Iraku III, Katsura Motohito, Imaizumi Imaemon XIV, Inoue Manji, Sakaida Kakiemon XIV, Maeta Akihiro, Yoshita Minori, Tokuda Yasokichi III, as well as master artists Miyata Ryohei, Hata Shunsai III, Hannya Tamotsu, Otsuki Masako, Oshiyama Motoko, Sako Ryuhei, Tokuda Yasokichi IV, Sakaida Kakiemon XV and Yoshita Yukio.