The legacy of American ceramic craft legend Warren MacKenzie is enduring. Since MacKenzie’s solo show at Dai Ichi Arts almost 15 years ago, “American Mingei” works of art have been shown extensively throughout Japan’s ceramic galleries and museums. This category aptly articulates the way that Japanese folk-craft principles became embedded into the fabric of American modern craft and ceramics. MacKenzie’s honed skill over stoneware has earned him the nicknames of “America’s Hamada Shoji, or Shimaoka Tatsuzo.” Indeed, his work was heavily influenced by Japan’s Mingei movement, which was a folk-art movement that elevated the profession of “artisan” or “craftsman.”
Warren Mackenzie’s work ultimately represents the mutual respect and cultural exchange that existed between Japan and America during the post-war period in the second half of the 20th century. His mastery over a breadth of artistic impulses and traditions from the Japanese ceramic canon during the 20th century was inimitable in the American craft community.
We are proud to feature this rare Oribe works by MacKenzie in our November 2022 exhibition, which were acquired directly from the late Dr. John Driscoll. Dr. Driscoll was a great fan of MacKenzie’s work during his life as a discerning and exceptional ceramics collector. His graciousness shone through, when he had kindly invited Dai Ichi Arts founder and director Beatrice Chang to view and acquire his work at Driscoll Babcock gallery on several occasions. Dr. Driscoll’s knowledge and appreciation for craft was unparalleled. The Dai Ichi Arts team fondly remembers him today, as we showcase these new additions in our exhibition.