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Curating a Japanese Glass Art Exhibit

Currently I’m acting as curator for a Japanese glass art exhibition next year in Portland. Five artists are interested so far and all are past students at Aichi University of Education near Nagoya where I taught for 11 years before returning to the USA. One of the artists in this group Masahiro Sasaki has just started teaching at AUE this fall as head of the glass program there. The other artists are also all very active in the field, Masayo Odahashi, Hiroki Niimi, Megumi Esaki and Koichi Matsufuji. I would like to introduce these artist’s work as I continue to work on this project. I’ll be more specific as to where and when as soon as details are firmed up.

First I’ll introduce Koichi Matsufuji. Koichi lives in Nagoya and is an instructor at Nagoya University of the Arts. Koichi is preparing for an exhibit now at Aichi Prefectural Art Museum in Nagoya. He works primarily in cast glass and enjoys creating or using unusual installation spaces to put his figures within a broader aesthetic context. Check out his website at

Koichi Matsufuji

Masayo Odahashi

Masayo Odahashi is known for her cast glass figurative work with muted polychrome fired on enamels. Her figures reflect complex interior states of mind through simple gestures. Quiet and reverent these figures seem to whisper to the viewer.

Hiroki Niimi is an instructor at Nagoya University of the Arts. Hiroki has an extraordinary material sensibility. His feeling for materials as well as finely honed sense of surface, form, mass and volume as articulated by light allows him to engage a wide range of human emotions from a nostalgic sense of longing to introspective contemplation. His works have the ability to transport the viewer to distant points of their memory.

Megumi Esaki current works at Utatsuyama Crafts Workshop in Kanazawa. Her delicate cast glass floral wreaths evoke the simple pleasures associated with an intimate appreciation of nature as a garden. In her work the act of being in nature, collecting natural elements such as flowers and leaves and forming the symbolic shape of a ring or circle suggests our essential place as human beings within nature. Esaki’s symbolic language speaks of purity, innocence and a reverence for our fragile relationship with nature.

Masahiro Sasaki has just begun to head the Glass Program at Aichi University of Education near Nagoya a national university in Japan. Sasaki has focused on atypical applications of traditional techniques to arrive at surprising new glass forms. Weather installation or individual object Sasaki applies a focused investigation of his subject matter that is objective and detached. It is as if scientific methods were adopted to offer macroscopic and microscopic views of the object. In this way the internal logic of the object is revealed through a cross examination and comparison of the parts to the whole. Process in this case indicates invisible systems rendered visible.