“A Light Year” by Shio Kusaka celebrates the essential qualities of ceramic art

Both repetitive and imperfect, the artist’s latest works celebrate the subtle contradiction of the medium

Shio Kusaka’s work “rewards careful observation”, writes the David Zwirner Gallery, which houses the artist’s latest exhibition of ceramics. His vessels celebrate subtle contradiction: repetitive in form and pattern, yet accepting the organic irregularities inseparable from the medium. Kusaka opts for rich glazes or leaves behind the natural tint of clay. Its forms are either modern or derived from an ancient tradition.

The collection, called a light year, is displayed on the ground in the center of David Zwirner’s vast exhibition space. The containers are arranged on thin copper plates, grouped by color or shape. It’s a striking effect – some pieces are bowl-shaped, others are cylindrical, a few have thin, angled necks. Their linear arrangement suggests a sort of progression in time and space.

Most of Kusaka’s works are united by patterns. More contemporary vessels are sculpted with lines that bring dimension and angle to otherwise soft shapes. The artist makes particular reference to ceramics from the Yayoi, Jomon and Kofun periods of East Asia, engraved or covered with similar geometric shapes. Overall the show is intuitive and intriguing – a free study of ceramic art and its history, a celebration of uniqueness and tactility.

by Shio Kusaka a light year is on display at David Zwirner’s 19th Street location through April 30.