Anise Stevens, Artillery: Mineo Mizuno

Review: Mineo Mizuno at Samuel Freeman

By Anise Stevens
March 4, 2016

For Mineo Mizuno’s 2015 exhibition “Current,” the artist presented a body of work that marked a definitive shift in his practice. Unlike his earlier works which feature bold and brilliant glazes, the pieces he made for last year’s show included a selection of unglazed porcelain vessels, which he paired with supports made from Oak, shed of its bark. Revealing of the tree’s pale, underlying smooth skin, the waist-high pedestals didn’t only illuminate the raw material from which porcelain is made. They urged viewers to contemplate the interconnectivity between the artist’s intention and nature’s organic beauty, a theme that resounds throughout Mizuno’s newest exhibition, “Mineo Mizuno,” now on view at Samuel Freeman Gallery.

Along with two slender cylindrical vessels reminiscent of those featured in “Current,” Mizuno’s newest ceramic works include ten amorphously shaped “vases” that bring to mind Alyson Shotz’s ceramic series, “Recumbent Folds.” Prominently displayed on a large wooden table and a single wall shelf, these innovative formations appear like white sheets of rolled fondant, loosely crumpled together.

Seemingly unintentional, the various folds, tucks and turns in FMR series 026 (all works 2016), for example, harmoniously commingle with an unexpected albeit nuanced ease that supersedes any preconceived notions about porcelain’s potential. 

The exhibition also features twenty-plus porcelain ears that hang along the gallery’s back wall, randomly interspersed from floor to ceiling. Ranging in size from eight to ten inches in height, these modest works, constructed from remnants cut from Mizuno’s “vases,” collectively call attention to the exhibition’s largest work, FMR series 039, situated in the gallery’s courtyard.

Fabricated from the trunk of a 2,000 pound Oak tree, the site-specific installation spanning 108 inches across lies on its side like a massive log, its scaly bark intact in its natural state, mottled with knots along with samplings of green moss. Of particular note is a rectangular insert that Mizuno cut into the trunk’s exterior. Just large enough to house one of his twelve-inch-tall “vases,” this detail doesn’t just challenge the conventional, age-old relationship between sculpture and support, but it beautifully articulates the harmonious interplay that can ensue when artist and nature merge forces.

Mineo Mizuno, “Mineo Mizuno,” April 9 – May 14 at Samuel Freeman Gallery, 2639 S. La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90034,