This bold work by Mashiko artist Koinuma Michio (b. 1936) calls to mind the best Bronze works from ancient China, with its rough, dark surface and its strong architectural feel.
Created in 1989, this work consists of three parts: a high foot, a tall neck, and a body with three wide parallel grooves. The three parts come together in a rigidly upright whole, like a highly disciplined warrior, conveying great power and no fear. Koinuma crafted this hand-built vessel with great presence and integrity.
Using a high fire in the kiln, random salt deposits create a concrete-like surface, adding to the sense of weight and history of this piece. The grey ash deposit on the high shoulder and body recalls ancient Japanese ceramics going back to medieval Sue wares.
Koinuma was born in Tokyo, where he studied politics and economics. He moved to Mashiko at the age of 33 and, like many artists inspired by Hamada Shoji, set up his own kiln in this small artists' town. His works are characterized by concrete-like clay, often covered with fine gray ash deposits reminiscent of excavated pottery fired in an ancient kiln. Koinuma lives and works in Mashiko today, creating disciplined, controlled forms and works with a strong geometric feel.