With this striking vase, Yanagihara Mutsuo (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 the United States 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.
Yanagihara’s work is well respected among experts, and is included in the collections of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs; The National Museum of Art, Tokyo; the National Museum of Art, Kyoto; and the Victoria and Albert Museum.