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SHIZUE IMAI (Japanese, b. 1948)

Coral Flower, 2024

Glazed stoneware

17" H x 20.5" W x 8" D

Shizue Imai (Japanese, b. 1948) is a Brooklyn-based sculptor whose large-scale, roughly textured ceramics incorporate curvilinear forms shaped by hand, often overlaid with numerous coats of clay slip and textured glaze. Upon moving to the United States from Osaka, Japan, in 1989, Imai left a career in fashion to explore the alchemy of clay. Her ceramic creations take on oneiric and oceanic resonances; their ossified surfaces and organic silhouettes form philosophical ties to ancient cultures and the archaeological artifacts that speak across centuries. In Imai’s work, we are submerged in an aquatic unconscious: her vessels and sculptures recall the mud-caked accretion of matter on anchors, ropes, coral reefs, and the bleached, indefinable remains found in brackish, mineral-rich waters. As with the Surrealist-inflected science documentaries of Jean Painlevé in which the geometries of diatoms dazzle and one might glimpse the diaphanous white-hemmed tentacles of an octopus in passing, Imai’s Coral Flower series makes visible the wonder and occult sensation of the ocean’s depths, asking us to take notice of the otherworldly occurrences at the intersection of science and fiction.

Imai studied ceramics at the Greenwich Pottery House in New York, from which she received the Madelaine Sadon Award in 2000. The following year, she was selected for the 10th Annual Artist on their Own Award at the Jane Hartsook Gallery. Imai has exhibited in Paris, London, Osaka, New York, and numerous other locations in the United States. She works from her studio in Brooklyn, NY. 

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