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Indepth Arts News:

"“Tea Bowls and tea bowls” Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony Bowls by Peter Callas, Joe Campbell, Kristin Muller, Takao Okazaki, and Shane Sellers"
2008-06-12 until 2008-07-07
Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art
Brooklyn, NY, USA United States of America

Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of “Tea Bowls and tea bowls”, a group exhibition of Japanese tea bowls by Peter Callas, Joe Campbell, Kristin Muller, Takao Okazaki, and Shane Sellers. Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony Bowls have been a “staple” form in the ceramic arts for many centuries. They have gone through a series of changes based on the historic era in which they were made, ceramic materials used to build them, firing techniques used to finish them, and most importantly, the individual “taste” of the Tea Master procuring the bowls for use. There are Summer Bowl shapes, Winter Bowl shapes, and those “in between” shapes that Okazaki jokingly claims are for late summer/early winter!   

The exhibit consists of a minimum of 30 bowls, at least 6 from each artist, and will explore both the “traditional” styles and techniques, and the “not so traditional”. All 5 of the artists work, at times, within the relatively tight constraints of volume and aesthetics that are mandated by traditional thinking about the Tea Bowl. All 5 artists also choose at times to “color outside the lines” when making a tea bowl. How are these different? Why are these different? Is one “type” by definition more artistic, better suited for use, or more “acceptable”? These are the questions posed by the artists, to be answered by the audience that views the work. Soetsu Yanagi in his classic The Unknown Craftsman best describes this “shibui” concept as follows: “It is not a beauty displayed before the viewer by its creator – creation here means, rather, making a piece that will lead the viewer to draw beauty out of it for himself”. 

The backgrounds and training of the participating artists represent a wide range, from the traditional American MFA degree on one end, to a 10 year apprenticeship with a “Living National Treasure” in Japan, at the other (see artist bios on back of page). These divergent learning paths provide both variety and life to the exhibit, and surprisingly enough, have brought us all to a very similar “place”. Each artist has been encouraged to show, with their bowls, some very traditional pieces that adhere to the rigid constraints of size, surface, method, and aesthetics, established centuries ago by the Japanese Tea community. They have also been encouraged to exhibit some bowls that will perhaps challenge these “rules” in a subtle – or not so subtle way. This exhibit is not a wistful look back into time – not a rehash of things once done – but a look at how contemporary ceramic artists continue to be inspired by the beautiful bowls of old, and how we see the Tea Bowl/tea bowl as both a part of our world’s aesthetic history, and a very timely object of art for the 21st century.

About Ch'i Contemporary Fine Art

Ch'i Contemporary Fine Art, established in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1999 and directed by Tracy Causey-Jeffery is committed to exhibiting vibrant contemporary art by living artists: both mid-career and emerging. Ch'i exhibits works in two distinct styles: abstract, textural or fragmented figurative. Ch'i hosts 11-15 exhibitions annually with their artists coming from across America, Asia, Europe and South America. In addition to its own exhibitions, Ch'i participates annually in at least 3 international fairs. In 2007, the gallery participated in Fountain NY and the Bridge Art Fairs in Chicago, London, and Miami. In 2008, Chi will participate in the first Bridge New York art fair in March. Additionally, Ch'i and its artists have been published in Art World News, NY Arts Magazine, Art Forum, Art News, Block Magazine, New York Times, The Village Voice, New York Sun, LA Times, Korea Times and Art and Antiques among others. Gallery artists are included in the permanent collections of Cantor Fitzgerald, The Musee Elysée, The Museum of the City of New York, MOMA, the Whitney Museum, Exxon Energy, Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Bank of China, the Kohler Company, The New York Public Library, The University of Maryland, Healthlink, the Kimbell Museum, the National Gallery of Australia, The Houston Museum and the Klutznick National Jewish Museum among others. Ch'i director, Tracy Causey-Jeffery received her masters in art history from the University of London after interning at Sotheby’s auction house in New York City. Prior to opening Ch'i, she owned and operated The Finer Side Galleries in Maryland and Washington, D.C. for 7 years.

About the Artists:

Peter Callas
Established present studio and kilns in 1980. Exhibited nationally and internationally, including an Honorable Mention at the 6th International Ceramics Competition in Mino Japan. Other exhibition highlights include the Ichon World Ceramic Museum, Ichon South Korea and The Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Shigaraki Japan. In 2003, he had a “30 Year Retrospective” at the Dai Ichi Arts Ltd., New York NY.

Joe Campbell
Joe Campbell holds an MFA in Ceramics from The Ohio University, Athens OH. Professional experience includes an Artist Residency at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in New Castle ME. In 2005, he authored the article “Salt and Soda – a Contemporary Look” in Clay Times magazine.

Kristin Muller
An MFA Candidate at Hood College in Frederick MD, Kristin Muller has participated in a multitude of workshops with artists including Peter Voulkos, Peter Callas, Takao Okazaki and others. Selected exhibitions include “Contemporary American Ceramics in Hokaido” Hokaido Japan and “Quill and Kiln” National Art Competition, Ohr-Okeefe Museum, Biloxi MS. 

Takao Okazaki
Takao Okazaki was born in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. Established studio and kiln in Dingmans Ferry PA and new studio in Yamagata Japan in 2001. Has studied painting with Modernist Hideyasu Senai and apprenticed with Master Potter Tokuro Kato – designated as a “Living National Treasure for Oribe Works”. 

Shane Sellers
Shane Sellers holds an MFA in 3-D Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA. Professional experience includes Workshop assistant - Peter Callas Studios with Peter Voulkos, Don Reitz, and Rudy Autio. Shane has participated in the “IWCAT’ 99”, Tokoname International Ceramics Festival in Japan. He was also a Resident Artist, IWCAT - Tokoname, Japan in 1999.

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