April 24, 2012
A master in clay: Beach Museum exhibition features University's internationally acclaimed ceramic artist Yoshiro Ikeda
The newest exhibition at Kansas State University's Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art features the work of one of the university's own: Yoshiro Ikeda, the award-winning, internationally recognized ceramic artist and educator.
"Quiet Symmetry: The Ceramic Art of Yoshiro Ikeda" is now on display through Sept. 2 at the Beach Museum. The exhibition features work done by the university distinguished professor art over the last three decades, including his signature colossal teapots encrusted in trailings of glaze and the sculptural vessels inspired by the seasonal colors of the Flint Hills, the geological formations of the American Southwest and the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state.
"Ikeda's quietly expressive art has been exhibited in hundreds of venues nationally and in countries as diverse as Korea, Brazil, Scotland and New Zealand," said Glen Brown, professor of art at K-State and guest curator of the exhibition. "Despite his fame as an artist, Ikeda is proudest of his legacy of mentoring generations of ceramists who received their degrees from the university."
Linda Duke, director of the Beach Museum of Art, said the exhibition also will showcase the power of Ikeda's teaching.
"During this exhibition the museum will display works from our permanent collection done by some of Ikeda's most successful former students," she said.
Ikeda brings a global influence to his work. He was born in Kagoshima, Japan, and received instruction in Zen meditation and calligraphy before immigrating with his family to the United States. After a brief period in California, the family moved to Portland, Ore., where he attended high school, competed as a champion wrestler and became a U.S. citizen. After two-and-a-half years of studying architecture at Portland State University, Ikeda changed his major to art when he discovered his talent for working in clay.
With the help of a scholarship from Japan's Ministry of Education, Ikeda returned to his native land in 1970 to study with the famous ceramic artist Yagi Kazuo at the Kyoto Geidai, or the Kyoto City College of Fine Arts.
Kazou's energetic use of clay to produce sculptural vessels left a lasting impression on Ikeda. Soon the student was throwing large, asymmetrical forms on the wheel and enhancing their expressive properties by texturizing their surfaces and covering them in glazes mixed with odd ingredients such as soy sauce.
Returning to the United States in 1973, Ikeda accepted a one-year teaching position at Utah State University, then entered graduate school at the University of California, Santa Barbara. After earning his master of fine arts degree in 1977, he sought a teaching position to support himself, his wife and their growing family. A telephone interview was enough to convince Kansas State University's search committee of Ikeda's potential as an artist and teacher.
Ikeda earned the university's highest academic ranking of distinguished professor in 2004. In 2010 he received the top teaching award from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. Ikeda's work has been discussed and reviewed in many national and international ceramics periodicals and publications, and has been published in numerous prestigious books and in international and national newspapers and magazines. His work also has been part of major public and private collections on at least four continents.
A full-color catalog accompanies the Ikeda exhibition and can be purchased for $10.
The Beach Museum of Art is on the southeast corner of campus at 14th Street and Anderson Avenue. Free visitor parking is available next to the building. Normal museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The museum is closed Mondays. For more information, call 785-532-7718.