Kitamura Tsuruyo (b. 1957)
A teacher of ceramics in the idyllic surrounds of a traditional Japanese garden and lake in the art centre of Kanazawa, Kitamura Tsuruyo has taken the traditional path of submitting works for selection to Nitten, The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition. Established in 1907 under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, this vetted exhibition is still one of the preferred paths towards recognition for some artists.
Japanese public exhibitions offer artists a rare opportunity to display their talents on a grand canvas, unrestricted by the demands of function usually associated with ceramics. Kitamura’s works are accordingly large in scale. Using an electric kiln and sandblasting the surface of the work, Kitamura has developed a textured glaze that she calls ‘shark skin’ glaze. She plays with texture and colour, and explores the infinity of horizons, both physical and metaphysical.
Kitamura Tsuruyo is a dedicated teacher not a commercial ceramic artist…her mastery is shared and disseminated. Her works have been regularly selected at Nitten and other similar vetted exhibitions in Japan since the early eighties. She has also won a number of Grand Prizes and other awards at a variety of art exhibitions all around Japan. As the preferences of the vetting committee increasingly overshadow individuality, Kitamura’s work is conspicuous for its originality.
In searching for contemporary works of art of note and potential, Kitamura’s work was ‘discovered’ at the Kanazawa Art and Craft Exhibition some years ago. It took nearly two years to arrange an introduction to her.
Surprisingly, no-one had ever asked previously to purchase her work. Under strict conditions, Kitamura has allowed Lesley Kehoe Galleries to offer her work publicly. She will only create works for submission to the vetted shows mentioned above. She does not create work for commercial purposes. Thus her work is limited in production and not easy to acquire.
Kitamura’s work is now in several private collections in America and Hamilton Art Gallery in Victoria, she was recently featured in a ground-breaking exhibition of female ceramic artists at Smith College Gallery of Art, New Hampshire.