Erin Yuasa and Mark Mitsuda: Artful Eating

Sep 28, 2018

Erin Yuasa. Stoneware cups with inlay and glazed interior. On view at Louis Pohl Gallery on Bethel Street through Saturday, September 29, 2018.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

Interesting cups, plates, bowl and glasses can make eating much more pleasurable.  An exhibition at the Louis Pohl Gallery in Chinatown offers art for everyday appreciation: paintings by Lauren Okano, glass by Mark Mitsuda, and ceramics by Erin Yuasa.

Mark Mitsuda. Glass.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

Find fine arts you can use by ceramic artist Erin Yuasa, painter Lauren Okano, and glass artist Mark Mitsuda at the Louis Pohl Gallery through  Saturday, September 29, 2018.

Educator, ceramic artist, Erin Yuasa makes functional and sculptural work in clay.  Often the pieces are challenging, or humorous, and many reflect a Japanese sensibility toward materials and process.  Yuasa says the things in the current show at Louis Pohl Gallery sprang from recent experiments.

Erin Yuasa. Ceramic.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

Yuasa:  A lot of the things I was playing around with and thought, Hmm, this seems to be going okay, I wonder how much more I can push it?  What’s in the gallery are the better results of these experiments.

Yuasa says she was playing with different type of shapes and textures, limiting the palette to only three colors of glaze –though you wouldn’t guess it!

Yuasa:  It was a lot of getting looser with the forming methods and experimenting with accidental things that happened during the forming process.

For example, rather than rolling a typical slab of clay and assembling pieces into something precise and preplanned, she took a different approach.

Mark Mitsuda. Glass.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

Yuasa:  I had a general idea of where it was going, but not a precise outcome that was going to be the same very time.  For instance, rolling out oval shapes, and not just placing, but throwing or slapping it onto a slump shaped form and letting the edges wrinkle or do as they may, and working with the form from there.

Yuasa:  So doing a certain amount of letting go of the process, and just trying to create some sort of balance between control that I exert, and control the clay exerts on me.

Asked how she would describe her esthetic, Yuasa notes, developing some signature “style” has not been her objective.

Yuasa:  My work is more evocative, rather than illustrative. Mostly trying to evoke and maybe even provoke a reaction rather than illustrating a narrative or story in that way.  So images that are not likenesses in any way.   Realistic people for example, or images of familiar objects, that’s not usually where I go.

Erin Yuasa. Ceramic.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

Yuasa:  I wanted to make something that is more multi-purpose, and would involve the user more.  It’s not like I’m putting out a finished piece and what I say is the way it is.  It’s more like the identity of the ceramic object is “finished” by the way the user chooses to use it.  It’s open ended.

Yuasa:  Before the making comes the observing and listening and paying attention to, not just what people gravitate toward visually, but what people use at potlucks!  What people respond to as far as the dishes and other wares at dinner parties.  Just paying attention in non-making moments to what people are doing, then remembering that as I’m making.

Above, paintings by Lauren Okano, one of the artists represented by Louis Pohl Gallery. Glass works below are by Mark Mitsuda.
Credit Noe Tanigawa