Here/Now: Contemporary Narrative and Form in the Yunomi Exhibition Catalog

craftinamerica

"Here/Now: Contemporary Narrative and Form in the Yunomi" is a ceramic cup invitational, which consists of a small group of ceramic artists asked to construct a series of yunomi, utilitarian cups. The cylinder, being the root structure of most ceramic objects, leads to the yunomi, which can be playful and quickly made. The yunomi is a foundational form for most makers-inviting many options, directions, and intent. These are a range of contemporary vessel makers who are dedicated to rethinking traditional ideas. Using the cup as a launching point, this exhibition explores the historical ideal of the humble, anonymous Japanese potter juxtaposed with the American idealism of self-experience. Here/Now is guest-curated by Nikki Lewis and Katie Queen.

HERE/NOW

CONTEMPORARY NARRATIVE

AND FORM IN THE YUNOMI

CRAFT IN AMERICA CENTER


Here/Now: Contemporary Narrative and Form in the Yunomi is a

ceramic cup invitational, which consists of a small group of ceramic artists

asked to construct a series of yunomi, utilitarian cups. The cylinder, being

the root structure of most ceramic objects, leads to the yunomi, which can

be playful and quickly made. The yunomi is a foundational form for most

makers-inviting many options, directions, and intent. These are a range of

contemporary vessel makers who are dedicated to rethinking traditional

ideas. Using the cup as a launching point, this exhibition explores the

historical ideal of the humble, anonymous Japanese potter juxtaposed

with the American idealism of self-experience. Here/Now is guest-curated

by Nikki Lewis and Katie Queen.

This exhibiton took place at the Craft in America Center

in Los Angeles from 7/18/20 - 1/2/21

Support was provided by

the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Text for the catalog provided by Nikki Lewis and Katie Queen

Edited by Emily Zaiden

Designed by Alex Miller

1



Ashley Bevington

Ashley Bevington’s “Puppy Love” meoto-yunomi seeks to perverse

traditional concepts of craft and marriage. Using the platform of

the meoto-yunomi or “married pair” of cups customarily gifted to

newlyweds in Japanese culture, Bevington’s comically grotesque

forms question who “wears the pants.”

Ashley Bevington

Puppy Love Yunomi Set, 2020

Thrown & altered porcelain, underglaze,

gold & silver luster, cone 6 oxidation

“He has the key to her tomb brain hanging from his red rocket.

Her brain is on his tongue,” Bevington expresses.

4


Bevington uses symbolism as a vehicle to convey ideas:

“the flowers are symbols of little moments of enlightenment,

little pops of light or growth.”

Ashley Bevington

Green & Yellow Poodle Yunomi Set, 2020

Ashley Bevington

Pink & Blue Poodle Yunomi Set, 2020

Color is an important part of Bevington’s visual language.

Brightly colored glazes and stains are utilized to draw

attention to these objects and Bevington often outlines high

relief with jet black, an homage to the 90’s cartoons that

influence her work.

5


Candice Methe

Candice Methe creates works with rich earth tones found in nature as well as

in the historical objects that inspire her forms. Methe has been collecting lichen

for many years, cataloging the deep colors that inherently exist in our world

and using this color palette in her work.

Methe is drawn to artifacts and everyday objects that honor culture, ritual,

and rites. Her lack of “home” or “place” in her mind’s eye is subdued by her

pursuit to create objects that are permanent and will survive long after her own

mortality.

Methe’s meoto pairs are complementary, but create contrast allowing a conversation

between forms. Meoto Pair #1 is curvilinear and organic, voluptuous

and fertile with rich reds creating stature and volume, in contrast to its studded

and grounded ivory counterpart. Methe is commenting on the complexity of

the human condition and our relationships to each other. Like many makers,

Methe transposes the vessel as a proxy for the human body.

6


Candice Methe

Meoto Pair #1, 2020

Ceramic, black stoneware, slips, terra sigillata, glaze, cone 4

Candice Methe

Meoto Pair #2, 2020

Ceramic, black stoneware, slips, terra sigillata, glaze A3

7


Candice Methe

Meoto Pair #3, 2020

Ceramic, black stoneware, slips, terra sigillata, glaze A3

Each meoto pairing hints at the tension of the negative space between each

yunomi, revealing dominance or submission. The placement of the footless,

tilting, ivory yunomi in Meoto Pair #3, whether leaning toward its tripod footed

mate or facing away, brings into being a very different narrative.

Candice Methe

Meoto Pair #5, 2020

Ceramic, black stoneware, slips, terra sigillata, glaze, cone 3

8


Methe consciously adds surface texture to each yunomi giving

us the suggestion of character. In Meoto Pair #4, Methe creates

spikes to imply aggressive characteristics in contrast to its taller

curvaceous mate. She questions gender stereotypes with

ambiguous vessels that have a fluidity transposing masculine and

feminine traits between forms. She wants to create uncertainty in

the viewer, making us question how we conventionally categorize

male and female.

Candice Methe

Meoto Pair #4, 2020

Ceramic, black stoneware, slips,

terra sigillata, glaze A3

Methe’s work shifts like a pendulum between minimal contemporary

excellence and the ancient substrata of vessels from prior millennia.

Each form emulates wisdom and a conjured past life in a bygone

hunter-gatherer culture.

9


Lesley McInally

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, McInally attended the Dundee University

in Dundee, Scotland, a coastal city North of Edinburgh. She received a

Bachelor of Design Honors Degree in Ceramics and Printmaking. In 2004

McInally moved to Cookstown, Canada, a town north of Toronto,

Ontario.

McInally utilizes her expertise in both printmaking and ceramics while

creating her vessels. Her yunomi all have been monoprinted. Her

technique includes applying slips, stains, engobes, and chalks to paper

and then presses that product onto her forms.

Lesley McInally’s Yunomi series has been created in Meoto “siblings” as

she describes them. Conceptually, the work is rooted in a parental

indoctrination of empowerment between mother and child. Each yunomi’s

outer surface is inscribed with a mantra which has been applied using a

monoprinting technique. The image created is reversed once adhered to

the form.

10


Lesley McInally

Stoneware (cone 6)

and hand-colored porcelain engobes

Once forms have been made, her process is to apply colored slip,

engobes, and underglaze, then sand the form. Experimentation

with color and an assortment of mark making creates a pathway

through the surfaces of McInally’s vessels. Her intention is to evoke

memory that becomes frozen or encapsulated in the slip surface

once completed.

Lesley McInally

Stoneware (cone 6)

and hand-colored porcelain engobes

11


Reminiscent of landscapes, the actual texture of the yunomi are left

raw without glaze on the exteriors to enhance the detail of the slip.

A natural hand builder, she also uses the ceramic wheel. Unlike

many ceramic artists who throw and trim their pots on the wheel,

McInally prefers to hand rasp the dry foot of her vessels.

Lesley McInally

Stoneware (cone 6) and

hand-colored porcelain engobes

After firing, the exterior of each piece is dry sanded to reveal more

layers of colored slip covered through the process. This also distresses

the surfaces of the forms. A black stain wash is applied to

the exteriors of the pots and wiped clean to enhance the cracks and

crevices of the vessels where the stain resides. This element creates

a dramatic backdrop to the saturated and vibrant colored slips.

12


Lesley McInally

Stoneware (cone 6) and

hand-colored porcelain engobes

“The Yunomi is considered a cylindrical object used for daily

informal tea drinking. With this in mind, the mother teaches the

child that by holding, turning, and reading the words to themselves

in the mirror they are creating a daily ritual of positive thinking with

the affirmation practice.” Lesley McInally

McInally’s Yunomi theme is rooted in

her “emotional landscape series,” a

larger body of work she is currently

working on. Her work is meant to reflect

the awakening and journey that she has

taken in the last few years in finding

her own path and discovering her own

voice.

13


Jeff Oestreich

Oestreich’s yunomi are the product of a lifetime of exploration and

innovation in ceramic form. As a high school student in Minnesota,

Oestreich attended a Warren MacKenzie and John Reeves workshop

which started him on a trajectory to become one of the most revered

potters of 20th century American Ceramics. He sought out Mackenzie

after this introduction, and originated a life-long friendship that began

with an apprenticeship as a young potter. Oestreich then went on to

apprentice with Bernard Leach at St. Ives pottery in Great Britain.

Inspired by the Glensheen and DuPont Mansion’s craftsman-era green

tiles, as well as the results of hundreds of glaze test tiles, Oestreich

spent years developing surfaces that referenced Arts and Crafts glazes

from the 20s. “I love the look of those glazes and was completely taken

in,” he says. After experimenting successfully with soda firing as an

alternative to salt firings, Oestreich’s work took a new direction into

architectural referenced soda-fired porcelain and stoneware.

Geometry and symmetry are hallmarks of Oestreich’s work. “Napier

Village in New Zealand, and all the Art Deco buildings triggered my

design love from college.” Oestreich compulsively digests visual

information, storing it in a vast mental library then translating this data

into his wheel-constructed forms. He often feels that his life’s work is

answering the question, “How to make a functional pot have depth and

meaning?” Oestreich says, “I’ve targeted the cup as the object to carry

meaning. The technical challenges of trying to tame the wheel have

always intrigued me.”

14


Jeff Oestreich

Yunomi, 2020

Jeff Oestreich

Yunomi with Dodads, 2020

Small understated surface embellishments are also symbols for deeper meaning

and personal investment. Triangles are an important motif in Oestreich work, as

“the triangle patch on a prisoners clothing was used by Nazis as a symbol for

homosexuals; as a gay man I relate to this symbol.” Other simple pictographs

carry great significance to Oestreich, where a series of cups have sprig molded

antidepressant medications or another series of yunomi are impressed with

buttons from his late mother’s button collection. “The quest is how can I bring

more meaning into my yunomi? How can I honor my mom? How can I honor

these memories?”

Jeff Oestreich

Yunomi, 2020

Jeff Oestreich

Yunomi, 2020

15


Liz Pechacek

“My yunomi series is based around formal contrasts like sharp/soft,

silver/gold and straight/round. I like how these juxtapositions on the

similar forms echo the feminine or masculine that is traditional in the

husband/wife style of the Meoto but are less specifically gendered.

It also lets me play with the formal proportions and design elements

that are characteristic to my work.”

-Liz Pechacek

Pechacek respectfully stays within the margins of the traditional yunomi

form, taller in height than in width with a tapered foot. Each cup’s

surface is decorated the same as its pair except for a difference in

direction of the identical motif. Intentionally avoiding gender markers

for each cup, her yunomi pairs are the same size.

Minimal in shape, contemporary in aesthetics, Pechacek’s dots on

dots pair is supremely controlled and ordered, yet light with a

playful surface of dots that shift between foreground and background

creating depth. The compositional shifts between porcelain and dark

earthy brown stoneware slips create contrast.

All Pechacek vessels start with a general dialogue between material,

principles and playful formal ideas.

16


Liz Pechacek

Porcelain Dot Gratiation Yunomi Pair #4, 2020

Porcelain, engobe, glaze dots

Liz Pechacek

Dots on Dots Yunomi Pair #2, 2020

Stoneware, porcelain, with grog, manganese, and glaze dots

Liz Pechacek

Gradated Dots on Stoneware Yunomi Pair #3, 2020

Stoneware, porcelain, engobe, glaze dots

17


Using her pinch/coil technique, Pechacek creates each pair of yunomi

simultaneously, allowing each form to “swell” as she describes it at

the same place and time. This technique creates a bond from one cup

to its mate.

Pechacek uses clay bodies that completely vitrify once fired to

maturity. Surfaces are left raw outside, and exteriors sanded to

her desired smoothness after they are fired.

Liz Pechacek

Shifting Plates Stoneware Yunomi Pair #5, 2020

Stoneware, engobe and sgraffito, wax resist techniques

18

Liz Pechacek

Pink & Green Yunomi Pair #1, 2020

Porcelain, colored engobes, sgraffito, wax resist decoration


Amy Smith

After being educated in strict “form first” rigor at Ohio University,

Smith departed from rigid methods of making to explore the sensuality

of the female figure in her objects. Smith intuitively alters each yunomi

to relate innately to the figure, “cutting a foot” as a method to connect

ankle to knuckle and stretching the clay to suggest “skin over bone.”

Using unctuous white porcelain, Smith incises the figure in fine detail

after carefully studying the topography of the cup to wed the female

body to the form. Smith’s forms swell and stretch suggestively and

figuratively.

For Smith, the “hand-feel” and weight of each yunomi is a deliberate

choice that correlates to human weight and anatomy. Smith uses a

combination of inky black underglaze and fluid glaze that pools and

flows, which references freezing and thawing of water. The method of

making and the discipline of ceramics permeates her studio practice:

“Unloading the kiln is not just unloading the kiln, it’s a reflective,

meditative process.” For Smith, deliberation of form and intent while

investigating the figure creates narrative in her yunomi.

19


Amy Smith

Figurative Yunomi with

Knees Facing Left, 2020

Porcelain with inlay,

cone 10 reduction

Amy Smith

Figurative Cup with

Knees Facing Right, 2020

Porcelain with inlay,

cone 10 reduction

Amy Smith

Figurative Yunomi, 2020

Porcelain with inlay,

cone 10 reduction

Amy Smith

Figurative Cup, 2020

Porcelain with inlay,

cone 10 reduction

20


Kevin Snipes

Kevin Snipes’ Yunomi are formally presented as individual cups, but within

each form there is a duality between characters. Each panel represents the

experience of a different person within the same story emphasizing otherness.

The work is meant to create a performance or poetic space with characters

and imagery that could be described as Magic Realism and derived from

Snipes’ memories, experiences, and ideas. Snipes’ vessels are hand-built with

slabs. He intentionally makes paneled sides of the vessels creating a

polyptych of sorts that are lifted with feet elevating the forms. Snipes carves

into the leather-hard surface of the clay, “tattooing” it like skin with dreamlike,

surreal imagery. While the work is still green, he applies colorful underglazes

and black oxide layering them with mishima and sgraffito techniques with his

scenarios.

There is an ambiguity of gender and ethnicity to the figures on the vessels, as he

leaves the interior flesh of the characters the color of the porcelain he used to

make the work. This allows a fluid exchange of authorship of narrative between

Snipes and the viewer. Snipes is interested in many ideas surrounding otherness

that encompass history, colonialism and patriarchy. Snipes ponders the possibility

of history being reversed. What if African descendants were the colonists who

conquered the world and described themselves as golden rather than black?

21


Snipes thinks of his ceramic work as notes or quick sketches, dreamlike, childhood

wonderment rooted in what comes after Post-postmodernism that perhaps falls

under the genre of Transmodernism, but otherness refrains him from identifying

with any specific genre of art.

A self-described “trans-medium creative,” Snipes makes work with many media,

again emphasizing otherness and his place at the fringe of potter/painter,

oscillating between the two. Snipes is influenced by the works and ideas of Rudy

Autio, Akio Takamori, Jean-Michael Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and author

Jacque Lacan.

Formally, the yunomi align with his conceptual desire for the user/viewer to hold

or cradle the cups in their hands. He does not like to use handles because they create

a degree of separation from the cradled embrace he desires.

Kevin Snipes

Mask 1, 2020

Porcelain, glaze, underglaze, oxide wash

Kevin Snipes

Mask 2, 2020

Porcelain, glaze, underglaze, oxide wash

Snipes has moved from residency to residency working within different artist

communities over the years. Most recently, Kevin made the conscious decision to

abandon the rural clay communities of Montana and North Carolina to settle into

a more urban space. Currently, he is a resident artist at the Philadelphia Clay

Studio. Snipes’ subject matter has always been entrenched in race. The protests

of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement have awakened more members of our

society. Snipes feels that the imagery in his work that has been dismissed and overlooked

before, will become more overt, direct, and accepted.

22


Snipes adds “protrusions” as he calls them to the exteriors of his work. The

protrusions are made as awkward attachments, reminiscent of ear-like forms on

either side of the squared vessel. The square symbolizes a white man’s

environment and the protrusions represent a black person in a room full of white

people. The protrusions also represent the oddball/queer person in a room full

of cisgendered, heterosexual people. As of late, the protrusions have become

outgrowths of figures in one panel encroaching into the bordering composition.

Kevin Snipes

Karate Chop, 2020

Porcelain, glaze, underglaze, oxide wash

Kevin Snipes

Skater, 2020

Porcelain, glaze, underglaze, oxide wash

“As an artist who has trained in color theory and understands the social and

psychological impact that color can have, I would like to remark: the construction

of a “white peoples” was and remains political. The term white is not an

accurate representation. The term was widely used by elitist Eurocentric colonialists,

whose intention was to create a hierarchy over those people they enslaved.

They were fully aware of Christian symbolism that equates whiteness with purity,

holiness, and closeness to godliness. But unless your name is Casper the Ghost,

you are not white. Brown skinned people have been forced to embrace the term

black as an oppositional force against white supremacy. Part of the Black Lives

Matter movement is dismantling the illusion of whiteness. Bring your skin tone

back down to earth. Reckon with your privilege.” -Kevin Snipes

23


Shoko Teruyama

Shoko Teruyama grew up in Mishima, Shizouka Prefecture, roughly 60 miles

southwest of Tokyo. Japanese animal myths and folklore influence Teruyama’s

ceramic work, but she abstracts direct correlations between her imagery and

cultural tales. “These stories were ingrained in me as a kid, even in school we

would go to shrines and I would see them (animals). I use animals in my work

because they are much easier to use to tell the stories…all the Japanese stories

I want to tell.” Teruyama’s animals are often deliberately quiet, having no

mouths and presenting themselves as conduits for interpretation.

Teruyama uses sgraffito to heavily incise into a red earthenware clay body,

and layering gem colored glazes to punctuate carved ornamentation.

Approaching the concept of a contemporay yunomi gave Teruyama the

opportunity to “work-in” personal experience and meaning: “2 pairs in one

set becomes a forum to talk about something” and the yunomi format gives the

ability for the viewer to “turn the cup sideways, upside down, with no handle…

there are many perspectives, so you can use this forum as a way to shift

meaning, shift the world you believe in.”

The inverted creatures represent loosely mirrored worlds gone topsy-turvy;

one world is upright and on a straight path while the other is representative of

“how things can be darker, shadowed, your feet are taken away and you’re

flipping upside down.” Teruyama also sees the quirky animals as points of

humor in her work, a reminder that life goes on.

24


Shoko Teruyama

Untitled or 6 Cups (3 sets of 2), 2020

Hand built earthenware with sgraffito decoration

25


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines