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Lacoste Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Jeff Shapiro
Jeff Shapiro, Sculptural Cuboid. Woodfired stoneware, 9x7x10.

CONCORD, MASS.- Lacoste Gallery announces its exhibition Jeff Shapiro: Departures from Japan from April 28 – May 26, 2018 focusing on recent works produced with new ways of glazing and firing marking a departure from traditional Japanese techniques. For some of the works, the artist challenges himself “to use new loading, glazing, and firing techniques, sometimes partially burying works in rubble from ash pits or other combustible materials.”i Also included are new sculptures made from deconstructed forms for the table and wall.

Mr. Shapiro spent many years in Japan and has a long and evolving relationship with Japan. He arrived at Kyoto for the first time at 23 studying pottery at various kiln sites throughout the country. He had the opportunity to build a house, studio and kiln on the Japanese coast financed by a patron of the arts, Kabumoto Nobuo. He lived and worked in Japan for 9 years spending the final year in Bizen furthering his understanding of the wood-firing techniques and the importance of the “character” of clay. Returning from Japan to the Hudson Valley he realized that he only knew how to make Japanese pots.

Shapiro is taking what he has learned from his time in Japan and the subsequent years after (30 years back in the US), to be able to create new works, sculpture that may have a sensibility to certain qualities of the Japanese aesthetic, yet a departure from his previous work. This exhibition at Lacoste Gallery offers a chance to show a body of his latest sculpture and forms that the artist thinks of as fine art; sculpture using clay as his medium. The solid vertical form in black with a rough textured surface is a good example of the newest series of work. Some of these new works he treats like stone, waiting until the clay is quite hard so that he can carve and chisel the material to expose the “inner” quality of the material. Each piece develops its own character as he works on it.

Although Shapiro has emphasized sculptures in this exhibition, he has made a variation on a few Japanese forms: tea bowls, sake cups and bottles. These vessels are ever elusive forms which continue to challenge him.

Shapiro has a long association with Lacoste Gallery and was instrumental in bringing many important Japanese ceramists to show here. This is his 4th solo exhibition with the gallery.

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