Yanagihara Mutsuo is a Japanese contemporary ceramic artist born in 1934. Yanagihara took the Kyoto pottery scene by storm in the 1970s and 80s, bringing inspiration of geometric abstraction, expressionism,...
Yanagihara Mutsuo is a Japanese contemporary ceramic artist born in 1934. Yanagihara took the Kyoto pottery scene by storm in the 1970s and 80s, bringing inspiration of geometric abstraction, expressionism, and other Western art influences into clay and ceramics. With this striking vase, Yanagihara Mutsuo (b. 1934) melds form and pattern into a playfully graphic whole that will not soon be forgotten. The artist was born in 1934 in Yamaguchi and taught art in Chicago in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His time in the west exposed him to the vibrant and fast-paced American art world, and here we can see the influence of Pop Art’s graphic comic book style and bright, shiny color. Yanagihara maintains the use of his characteristic organic line, even in works such as this. Here, he seems to combine two very different materials, with the rich, earthy brown clay surface juxtaposed against the electric pop of the rubber-like yellow pattern. The result is outlandish and surprising, challenging the viewer with its unexpected spunk. Now at 89 years, he is still living and working in Kyoto, creating flower vases that present "ki" or energy and collaborating with master Ikebana artists, such as Nakagawa Yukio.
Yanagihara’s work is well respected among experts, and is included in the collections of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs; The Art Institute of Chicago, The National Museum of Art, Tokyo; the National Museum of Art, Kyoto; and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Ikebana design by Eriko Nagata, EriN Design International