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Yasumitsu Morito's sculptures on view at Bill Hodges Gallery
Potter, 2009. Ceramic, 25 × 13 × 10 in.

NEW YORK, NY.- Yasumitsu Morito stoops down on a mountainside just outside of Mashiko, Japan. He digs his hands into the earth and feels a connection to the world, all people, and the universe. He pulls out a handful of clay. Clay that he believes is more pure, more beautiful, than anything that can be purchased at an art supply store. His hands will later sculpt this clay into ceramic masterpieces.

The Bill Hodges Gallery announces its exhibition, Morito. Several of Yasumitsu Morito’s sculptures will be on display from August 25, 2012 until September 18, 2012. The gallery will hold an opening reception on Saturday September 8, 2012 from 4 PM to 6 PM. This is Morito’s first solo show at the gallery. His work was previously included in the Curate NYC exhibition in 2011.

Morito is able to skillfully unite Western and Eastern ideas through his sculptures. His figures are usually posed in classical Western positions. They are male and female, young and old. Some stand while others are seated. A few are at rest and others seem to have been caught in mid-action. The figures are often accompanied by traditional Eastern pottery such as vases, teacups, and plates. The diversity of the sculptures included in this exhibition attest to Morito’s astounding ability.

Inspired by stories passed down by village elders, the Potter (above) stands barefoot in the classical contrapposto position. The majority of his weight is on his left leg leaving his right leg relaxed and slightly bent. The potter’s right hand rests casually on his thigh. A tray, which potters used to bring their work to and from the kiln, is balanced across his left hand and shoulder. It holds typical Japanese tableware such as a choko (small cup) and hanaire (vase). The figure’s feet, cap, and pottery are glazed a deep green. High cheekbones protrude from his narrow face. The pronounced tendons in the figure’s feet along with his rigid muscles are evidence of years of labor.

In Crouching Nude, a male youth sits slightly crouched over atop a jug that is lying sideways. His muscles are lean and his bare skin is smooth. His hair is swept innocently to the side to reveal a young, worry-free face. The figure prevents the jug beneath him from rolling by placing one foot slightly in front of the other. He maintains his balance with his arms taut on either side of his body, his hands rolled into loose fists. However, with his eyes closed meditatively, the young man’s ability to steady himself appears effortless.

Yasumitsu Morito was born in the historic pottery town of Mashiko, Japan. In recognition of his dedication to their craftmanship, the prefecture of Tochigo, Japan recently appointed Morito the Cultural Ambassador of Mashiko Ceramics. Morito’s works have been exhibited in galleries throughout New York, Japan, and El Salvador.

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Yasumitsu Morito's sculptures on view at Bill Hodges Gallery

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