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New art gallery exhibit features ceramics inspired by Japanese aesthetics

Selection of bowls, platters and vases from MJMAG collection draws parallels to current Hanna Yokozawa Farquharson exhibit
A new exhibit in the foyer of the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery (MJMAG) takes a look at a selection of artwork and how artists have been influenced by Japanese ceramics and aesthetics.

Titled Shibui, the display of ceramic and clay platters, bowls and vases comes from the MJMAG permanent collection and features the works of Moose Jaw’s own Robert Froese, along with Saskatchewan artists Jack Sures, Randy Woolsey and Japan’s Soji Hamada.

The project was put together by curatorial assistant Jared Boechler, who made the selections as a counterpart to the current exhibition ‘Wholeness’ by Hanna Yokozawa Farquharson.

“It’s just a really interesting take on some local ceramic artists and the international influences on their work,” said MJMAG curator Jennifer McRorie. “It’s interesting to see where people draw their inspiration from, and there’s such a strong ceramics tradition in Japan, where they really try and emphasize the quality of the clay. Then there’s a lot of chance that’s allowed to happen in the making of the works, there’s kind of a rustic element where they allow the glaze and clay to interact and see what happens.”

That randomness leads to every piece having a unique look, something that can be seen even in pieces in the same style by the same artist. As an example, a selection of five items on display from Woolsey all carry similarities but are distinct in their differences.

That’s not to say there isn’t an element of precision involved, especially with some of the more intricate works.

“There’s a really beautiful bowl by Jack Sures that very much looks like a traditional ink painting or calligraphy,” McRorie said. “So it’s nice to think of his work through that lens of a connection to Japan.”

One can also find distinctions in the medium itself, with McRorie pointing to a selection of tea bowls by Froese as a prime example.

“You look at the clay, there’s a real roughness to it that they use and you can tell it’s different clay body than what we’re used to around here,” she explained. “It’s similar to what you’d see from other items from artists in Japan.”

The exhibit can be found immediately upon entering the museum and art gallery and will be on display until Sept. 5.

The gallery is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and closed Mondays.

For more information on the MJMAG, visit their website at www.mjmag.ca and follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mjmag.