Stuart Lochhead and Sophie Richard are delighted to announce they will once again hold at their gallery in St James’s a special exhibition of Japanese art, Natural Mastery: Lacquer and Silver Works from Japan. In association with Ippodo Gallery [Tokyo and New York] the show will present the work of two contemporary artists, Jihei Murase and Shota Suzuki.
Jihei Murase’s aesthetic is deeply connected to the Way of Tea, of which he is a devoted practitioner. His stunning lacquerware pieces are both functional and elegant. Offering a unique range of exquisite shapes and beguiling colours his work pays homage to a century-old tradition while also speaking to the contemporary taste of the 21st century.
Alongside Jihei Murase, we will show for the first time Shota Suzuki’s delicate metal sculptures. These intricate works depict wildflowers, plants and leaves he finds around him. Capturing their likeness with striking precision, his compositions evoke the flow of time, their colouring a subtle indication of the season and of the plants’ lifecycle. A cherry flower in bloom, a dandelion whose seeds are blown away by the wind…: his intricate creations reveal the infinite possibilities of hard metals meeting with the delicateness of flowers.
It is the first time the work of these two artists, close friends of different generations, are shown together.
Born in 1957 in Tokyo, Murase joined the long-standing lacquerware family business in 1980 after having graduated from the Sculpture Department of Tokyo Zōkei University.
In his Tokyo atelier he looks after every stage of the production himself, from forging his own tools in iron and turning valuable woods to applying and polishing innumerable layers of urushi lacquer.
Murase has gained recognition in Japan, Europe and the United States for the mastery of his craftmanship and his innovative forms.
Born in 1987, Suzuki lives and works in Kyoto. An early fascination with jewellery led him to study metalworking at university. Today he combines traditional Japanese metalworking, including carving and colouring methods, along with modern techniques and experimentation to create spellbindingly realistic sculptures made of silver, gold and copper.
Sophie Richard is the author of The art lover’s guide to Japanese Museums.
Founded in 1996, Ippodo Gallery works closely with living Japanese artists and has locations in Tokyo and New York.