TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE
JAPANESE TECHNIQUES IN CONTEMPORARY METAL ARTS
MAR. 29 - SEP. 13, 2020
“The long history of Japanese traditional metalskills has slowly seen a decline in being passed to the next generation. The technique and skill has either been closed and protected or limited to certain families or selected artists. In order to pass on the skills, Japanese artists and masters have realized that there is a need to be open and willing to teach, not only within the family, or even to other Japanese, but also to be open to instruction internationally. My mission is to bring together artistic skills and knowledge that will help both Japanese and American artists grow in their work and achieve new levels of excellence.”
–HIROKO YAMADA, CURATOR
Curated by Hiroko Yamada, Director of HYART Gallery (Madison, WI), and originating at Penland Gallery at Penland School of Craft (Penland, NC), Tradition of Excellence explores a wide range of Japanese metalworking techniques and materials. The exhibit brings together both Japanese and American artists, honoring the profound skill and knowledge of these makers and highlighting the influence of Japanese metalworking within the contemporary metal arts field.
“Hiroko Yamada was born and raised in Japan, and her first career was as an architect in Tokyo. She became interested in small-scale design and chose to pursue this interest at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI) under the mentoring of metalsmiths Fred Fenster and Eleanor Moty. In addition to becoming an accomplished jeweler, she dedicated herself to helping others create one-of-a-kind works in metal. This commitment has included teaching Penland School of Craft (Penland, NC) workshops regularly since 2005.
For the past five years, Hiroko has promoted exchanges between American and Japanese metal artists through exhibitions and workshops with a goal of introducing traditional Japanese metal work and techniques to Western art metal culture.
Hiroko worked closely with Penland Gallery director Kathryn Gremley in creating two exhibitions that presented the work of American metalsmiths in Japan. The Art of the Brooch appeared at Gallery C.A.J. (Kyoto, Japan), Kobe Design University (Kobe, Japan), and Museum of Kyoto (Kyoto, Japan) in 2014. North American Mokume-Gane Exhibit in Japan appeared at Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum (Nigata, Japan) and Yamawaki Art College Gallery (Tokyo, Japan) in 2016. Both included Penland-affiliated artists.
In 2018 Hiroko’s work was included in the Japanese Traditional Art Metal Exhibition in Tokyo and Kumamoto along with work by Seth Gould and Andrew Meers, who have both been Penland resident artists and students of Hiroko’s. In 2017 and 2018, she co-curated, with professor Hiroki Iwata of Tokyo University of Arts (Tokyo, Japan), an exhibition of work by American and Japanese metal artists at Ginza Okariya Gallery in Tokyo. She also facilitated an invitation for American artists to study with masters and Living National Treasures in Japan, and she invited a Japanese master to teach workshops in the US in 2016, 2017, and 2019.”
–Excerpt from the Tradition of Excellence exhibition catalog, Penland Gallery (Penland, NC)