Tradition and Innovation

Shio Kusaka's Playful Ceramics

Shio Kusaka photographed by Manfredi Gioacchini

Drawing inspiration from Agnes Martin and Sol LeWitt, Japanese Yayoi Period ceramics, and her grandmother's tea ceremonies, Los Angeles-based ceramic artist Shio Kusaka (b. 1972, Japan) creates porcelain vessels that play with repetition of form, motif, and technique. As curator Michelle Grabner noted upon Kusaka's inclusion in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, "[she] employs the prosaic yet historical clay pot but plays with the idea of difference in repetition." This theme of deviation within replication appears not only in Kusaka's individual pieces, but as part of her working method as well: Kusaka collaborates with her husband Jonas Wood to make "translations" of each other's work, in which Wood will depict Kusaka's vessels in his own paintings, and Kusaka will then "copy" his rendition as another vessel. Kusaka's works are included in the permanent collections of the Broad, the Hammer Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art.