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Touching Stone Gallery   Santa Fe, USA


Hiroyuki Wakimoto
 July 9 - August 11, 2004

See more of this artist's work:
2002 show
, 2003 show, 2004 show, 2005 show, 2006 show, 2007 show, 2009 show, 2010 show, 2012 show, 2016 show

 Hiroyuki Wakimoto   脇本博之

iroyuki Wakimoto Hiroyuki Wakimoto was born in 1952 in Tsushima, Nagasaki Prefecture in Kyushu. He received art training studying textile design in Osaka Art College. In his senior year, realizing that his interests were not in textiles, he left the college and went back to his hometown. During a visit to a friend who was doing an apprenticeship with a ceramist in Bizen, Wakimoto found his true calling. He was so inspired by Bizen-yaki that, at the age of 30, he began an apprenticeship under accomplished ceramist Joji Yamashita. Nine years later, in 1990, Wakimoto built his own nobori-gama (climbing kiln) and established his studio in Bizen.

As one of the six oldest Japanese pottery centers in Japan, Bizen has produced many exceptional ceramists, including a number of National Living Treasures. There is an enormous legacy for Bizen ceramists to live up to. Realizing that he must make up for his relatively late start in ceramics, Wakimoto concentrates on developing a personal style. His fascination with form compels him to create some of the most interesting works in contemporary Japanese ceramics. His pieces are instantly recognizable by the bold, meticulously conceived forms with clean strong lines and beautiful distinctive fire markings.

Wakimoto’s extraordinary wood-fired ceramic works were first shown outside Japan in his American debut in 2002 at Touching Stone Gallery. In that show, Wakimoto introduced two dozen original pieces inspired by ancient Chinese bronze and ceramics. The show was enthusiastically received, and it firmly established Wakimoto as one of the rising stars among contemporary Bizen ceramists.

Wakimoto's "Legacy" and "Sentinel" series are covered vases that evoke mythical beings with minimalist sensibility, reminiscent of certain sculptures by Isamu Noguchi. His incense burners in the show are interesting variations of the vase forms. The show also includes his composite pieces of the "Monarch" and "Stone" series, inspired by the massive stone walls of Japanese castles and natural stones. The separate components of the composite pieces were fired in different locations of the kiln to produce contrasting colors and textures. Each piece becomes a unique expression of the artist’s collaboration with the wood fire.

Many of the pieces in this show are sculpted from chunks of clay rather than thrown on a potter’s wheel. The former technique, called "kurinuki", offers great freedom and flexibility for creating unique shapes. Reflecting on the evolution of his style, Wakimoto recalled, "In the beginning, I cared too much about making my work unique, and my hands struggled with the clay. Then one day, I just set my hands free to express my honest feelings without thinking too much about it. From that day, I felt relaxed and my work became spontaneous".

Producing such a wide range of forms and effects requires not only creativity, but also intimate knowledge of the kiln. As an essential step in his creative process, Wakimoto keeps a record of new ideas as well as details of each firing, including data on temperature and exact position of each piece in the kiln. This methodical approach frees the artist from haphazard guesswork, allowing him to focus on turning abstract visions into tangible forms.

Despite his soaring reputation, Wakimoto keeps his sense of humility. In a recent interview, the artist mused, "As an outsider who arrived at Bizen almost by chance, I was taught everything about Bizen-yaki that had taken hundreds of years to develop. I hope someday I can contribute my share of knowledge to the continuous evolution of Bizen-yaki as a way of repaying the generosity of my adopted home-town". The refreshing boldness and uncompromising quality of Wakimoto’s work is already making an impact in the Japanese ceramic circle, ushering a new era of creative energy in this ancient pottery center of Bizen.

In July, 2004, Touching Stone Gallery invited Hiroyuki Wakimoto to Santa Fe to open his solo exhibition "Legacy". In addition to hosting the exhibition, our gallery sponsored Wakimoto as an invited artist to show at the First Santa Fe International Folk Art Market 2004. During his stay in Santa Fe, Wakimoto attended a Round Table Discussion with 20 other ceramists at the Madrid Anagama Kiln, operated by the University of New Mexico.

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Hiroyuki Wakimoto visited Santa Fe as an invitee of the inaugural International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe.  Seventy-five master artists from around the world, including nine award-winning artists sponsored by UNESCO, attended the 2-day event (July 17 - 18, 2004).

At the reception for invited artists for the International Folk Art Market:  2nd left - Bill Richardson, New Mexico governor; 1st right - Stuart Ashman, Secretary of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs; 3rd right - Joyce Ice, Director of New Mexico Museum of International Folk Art  (July 16, 2004)

Hiroyuki Wakimoto (left) discussing wood-firing techniques at Madrid Anagama Round Table near Santa Fe with ceramist Betsy Williams (2nd left), Touching Stone Gallery co-owner Akiko Hirano (3rd left), University of New Mexico ceramic art professor Bill Gilbert who organized the Round Table (4th left), ceramist Dan Feibig (5th left) (July 19, 2004)

Some of the participants at Madrid Anagama Round Table. From left: Tamara Tjardes, former Curator of Asian & Middle Eastern Collections, New Mexico Museum of International Folk Art; Joe Kroenung, ceramist; Krist, ceramist; Hiroyuki Wakimoto, Bill Gilbert, University of New Mexico ceramic art professor; Greg Ondo, ceramist; Akiko Hirano, Co-owner of Touching Stone Gallery (July 19, 2004)


Click on images to view selected pieces

Hiroyuki Wakimoto Legacy 1aHiroyuki Wakimoto 1b
"Legacy #1" 
Covered ceramic vase 9" x 6.5" x 4" (2 views)

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     "Legacy #2"
Covered ceramic vase  7.5" x 5.5" x 2.5" (2 views)

"Legacy #3" 
Covered ceramic vase  6.5" x 5" x 3" (2 views)

Legacy4_Wa.jpg (48336 bytes)Legacy4_Wb.jpg (61598 bytes) Wakimoto_Monarch5_W.jpg (27260 bytes)Wakimoto_Monarch5_Wa.jpg (25637 bytes)
"Legacy #4" 
Covered ceramic vase 7" x 5.5" x 2.5" (2 views)

"Monarch #5" 
Covered ceramic box 8" x 4.5" x 3.5" (2 views)

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"Monarch #9" 
Covered ceramic box  6" x 6" x 4" (2 views)

"Monarch #21" 
Covered ceramic box 12" x 6.5" x 4.5" (2 views)

IncenseBurner7_Wa.jpg (31858 bytes)IncenseBurner7_Wb.jpg (32855 bytes) IncenseBurner8_Wa.jpg (51578 bytes)IncenseBurner8_Wb.jpg (39770 bytes)
"Incense Burner #7" 
Ceramic incense burner  6" x 4" x 3" (2 views)

"Incense Burner #8"
Ceramic incense burner 5.5" x 4" x 3.5" (2 views)

Sentinel4_Wa.jpg (38455 bytes) Sentinel5_Wa.jpg (35328 bytes)
"Sentinel #4" 
Covered ceramic vase  7.5" x 4.5" x 4"

"Sentinel #5"
Covered ceramic vase  7" x 5" x 3"

Hiroyuki Wakimoto Mano Sentinel6_Wa.jpg (37546 bytes)Sentinel6_Wc.jpg (42891 bytes)
"Mano & Matate #19"
Ceramic 'stone' tools  2" x 8" x 7.5"

"Sentinel #6"
Covered ceramic vase  8" x 5" x 4" (2 views)

Stone11_Wa.jpg (33597 bytes) Stone12_Wb.jpg (33228 bytes)
 "Stone #11"
Covered ceramic bowl w/ inscriptions 5" x 9" x 6"

"Stone #12" 
Covered ceramic bowl 5" x 3.5" x 2.5"

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"Stone #10" 
Covered ceramic bowl  5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5"

"Stone #13" 
Covered ceramic bowl 6.5" x 5" x 3.5"

Stone14_Wb.jpg (29898 bytes) Stone15_Wb.jpg (40018 bytes)
"Stone #14"
Covered ceramic bowl  6" x 5.5" x 4"

"Stone #15" 
Covered ceramic bowl 4.5" x 7.5" x 4"

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"Hanging Vase #18"
4" x 4" x 2"

"Hanging Vase #16"
13.5" x 2.75" x 2.5"

"Hanging Vase #20"
5.5" x 5" x 3"

"Hanging Vase #17"
16.5" x 2" x 2"

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"Jomon #1"
Large ceramic bowl   8.75"H x 11.5" D  (2 views)

Exhibitions & Awards

1952   Born in Tsushima, Nagasaki Prefecture, Kyushu

1975   Osaka Art College

1981   Apprenticeship under Bizen ceramist Joji Yamashita

1990   Established own kiln in Bizen

           Honorable Mention, 52nd Itt-sui Kai Ten

1991   8th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

           2nd Biennial Ceramic Exhibition

           38th Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

           1st Yaki-shime Ten

           Honorable Mention, 53rd Itt-sui Kai Ten

1992   9th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

           30th Asahi Ceramics Exhibition

           39th Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

           54th Itt-sui Kai Ten

1993   Honorable Mention, 3rd Biennial Ceramic Exhibition

           31st Asahi Ceramics Exhibition

           36th Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition, China Branch

           Asahi Contemporary Arts & Crafts Invitational Exhibition

1994   11th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

           Grand Prize, 2nd Yaki Shime Juried Show

           Chairman’s Award, Japan Arts & Crafts Exhibition, Chu-goku Chapter

1995   12th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

           13th Japan Ceramics Exhibition

           42th Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

1996   13th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

           34th Asahi Ceramics Exhibition

1997   14th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

           35th Asahi Ceramics Exhibition

           44th Japan Traditional Arts & Crafts Exhibition

           Nominated as a permanent member of Japan Arts & Crafts Association

1998   15th Cha-no-yu no Zo-kei Ten, Tanabe Museum

1999   37th Asahi Ceramics Exhibition

2000   3 - 4 shows every year in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kobe

2002   Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

2003   Kuroda Toen Gallery, Tokyo

           Tenmaya, Takamatsu

           Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

2004   Kuroda Toen Gallery, Tokyo

           Tenmaya, Fukuoka

           Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

           Invited artist, Santa Fe International Folk Art Market 2004



2002   "Omen" - An article on Hiroyuki Wakimoto's work, by Tim Wong & Akko Hirano. In: Ceramics: Art & Perception, no. 48, pp. 97 - 99.