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Shio Kusaka Biography

Light-hearted and serene, Shio Kusaka's ceramic works prompt reflections on the histories of ancient sculpture and modern abstraction.

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Shio Kusaka's work manifests multiple influences, from traditional Japanese tea ceremony to the geometric abstractions of the 20th-century artists Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, and Josef Albers. The imperfect forms that characterise her ceramics recall the utilitarian shapes of Yayoi pottery (part of the Japanese Iron Age), and reinterpret the shapes of ancient vessels with contemporary sensibilities, as seen in such works as Untitled (strawberry 39) and Watermelon (both 2015).

Based in Los Angeles since 2003, Shio Kusaka shares her studio with her husband the painter Jonas Wood, whom she met while studying at the University of Washington in Seattle. A mutual influence is visible in both artists' work: Kusaka often incorporates Wood's motifs into her vessels, while Wood frequently portrays Kusaka's vessels in his paintings. Kusaka also makes her small animal sculptures—such as those present in her solo exhibition at greengrassi, London (2014)—together with her children.

Shio Kusaka held her first solo exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery, New York, in 2008, and gained further critical attention after her participation in the 2014 edition of the Whitney Biennial. Among the 39 porcelain and stoneware works she exhibited at the Biennial was Dinosaur 2 (2013): a black-and-white vessel recalling an ancient Greek pot, with two brachiosauruses on it.

In a 2020 project curated by Hanneke Skerath and Douglas Fogle, Kusaka filled the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, with her ceramics and textile designs. Formerly home and studio to the Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra, the building's modernist design was complemented by Kusaka's works, which included clusters of vessels and her small animal sculptures.

Shio Kusaka Solo Exhibitions include:

Shio Kusaka, Gagosian, Rome (2018); Shio Kusaka & Jonas Wood, Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands (2017); Shio Kusaka, The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2016); Shio Kusaka, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (2016); Shio Kusaka, greengrassi, London (2011); Shio Kusaka, Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago (2009).

Shio Kusaka Group Exhibitions include:

Frieze Week Los Angeles (2020); Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950—2019, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2019); Close at Hand: Modern and Contemporary Sculpture, Gagosian, San Francisco (2018); Hill People, Darrow Contemporary, Aspen (2017); Please Have Enough Acid in the Dish!, M+B, Los Angeles (2016); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020

Shio Kusaka
featured artworks

carved III by Shio Kusaka contemporary artwork ceramics
Shio Kusaka carved III, 2016 Stoneware
65.4 x 36.8 x 36.8 cm
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David Zwirner contemporary art gallery in New York: 19th Street, United States
David Zwirner Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris
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