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Touching Stone Gallery   Santa Fe, USA


Tadashi Ito

Quintessence II

July 31 - August 31, 2009

See more of this artist's work:  2007 show2009 show2011 show 2013 show

Tadashi Ito   伊藤 正

Tadashi Ito was born in 1952 in Kamaishi, a quaint fishing village in Iwate Prefecture in Tohoku in northern Japan. The area is isolated from the large metropolis in central Japan by rugged mountains covered with deep cedar forests. To the east, a shoreline dotted with sandy beaches and unusual rock formations opens to the Pacific Ocean. This serene and beautiful setting has provided life-long inspirations for some of Japan's most creative artists.

Tadashi Ito studied geology in university, but he found no satisfaction in what he learned in school. At age 24, he went to India in search of the meaning of life. One hot afternoon, while traveling through the Decca Plateau, he was resting in the shadow of a temple when he noticed a young girl wearing a sari working in the field. She was tending a cow that was pulling a heavy waterwheel. The wheel turned around and around in an endless circle. Once in a while, the girl would kneel down to pick up a wild flower and admired it as if she had found the most beautiful treasure. At that moment, Ito understood what he wanted in his life. He was not to spend his life mindlessly just making a living. He wanted to live every moment sharing the incredible beauty of this world. He decided to be an artist.

In 1979, he sought training in ceramic in Mashiko, a pottery center made famous by the late mingei (folk art) master Shoji Hamada. However, Ito had no interest in mingei. As a creative artist, he was not excited about repeating what had been done, churning out the same dishes and vases, no matter how beautiful. Instead he was most inspired by the innovative work of another Mashiko genius, the late Shoji Kamoda. Unlike Hamada, who put much efforts into refining existing mingei, Kamoda strived for new ideas and innovations to open uncharted territories. In 1985, Ito returned to Iwate Prefecture where Kamoda worked in his later years. He built a kiln in the ancient town of Tono, a beautiful farming town rich in history and folklore. Besides providing an excellent clay, the quiet isolated environment freed Ito from trendy commercial influences to pursue his own artistic vision. Ten years later, Ito and his wife restored a 300-year old traditional farm house in a nearby town. He built his studio and kiln there and continued to create some of the most original works seen in contemporary Japanese ceramics.

Ito's vision is strongly influenced by nature's forms. One of his favorite pastime is to walk along the beach looking for seashells washed up by the tides. He is fascinated by the graceful lines and colors in seashells. Peering inside some of the shells half-exposed by erosion, he sometime feels he glimpses some hidden secrets of the universe, the quintessence of life. His work embodies those fleeting magical moments of wonder and inspiration.

Throughout his career, Ito has maintained a self-imposed discipline of not turning into a 'commercial artist'. He works deliberately, charting his own course, setting his own pace, producing a limited number of highly acclaimed works for no more than two or three shows a year.

In 2007, Touching Stone Gallery had the privilege to host the first solo exhibition in America. In 2008, Ito shared the prestigious Musee Tomo Prize in Contemporary Ceramics for the Tea Ceremony with four other leading Japanese ceramists (Masahiro Maeda, Kichizaemon Raku, Ryuichi Kakurezaki, Yuho Kaneshige), and their works were exhibited in the Musee Tomo Museum in Tokyo. The current show, Ito's second solo exhibition in the US, features a body of recent work that epitomizes the artistic vision of one of Japan's most extraordinary ceramic artists.


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Peering inside a shell half-exposed by erosion,

 I feel I'm let into some hidden secrets of the universe,

the quintessence of life.

- Tadashi Ito

Ito_Form1a.jpg (217843 bytes)Ito_Form1b.jpg (195687 bytes)

Quintessence II     No. 1

  Ceramic vase form   17.5" x 15.5" x 10.5" (2 views)




Ito_Form2a.jpg (119953 bytes)Ito_Form2b.jpg (86066 bytes)

Quintessence II     No. 2

  Ceramic vase form    28.5" x 5.5" x 6" (2 views)




Ito_Form3a.jpg (109408 bytes)Ito_Form3b.jpg (103522 bytes)

Ito_Form4b.jpg (130385 bytes)Ito_Form4a.jpg (122301 bytes)

Quintessence II    No. 3

  Ceramic vase form    9.5" x 8.5" x 6" (2 views)





Quintessence II    No. 4 

  Ceramic vase form   15" x 8" x 7" (2 views)





Ito_Form5b.jpg (152870 bytes)Ito_Form5a.jpg (106822 bytes)

Quintessence II    No. 5

  Ceramic form   11" x 10" x 9" (2 views)




Ito_Form6a.jpg (178571 bytes)Ito_Form6b.jpg (150652 bytes)

Quintessence II    No. 6

  Ceramic form   10" x 8" x 7.5" (2 views)




Ito_Form7a.jpg (198809 bytes)Ito_Form7b.jpg (180427 bytes)

Quintessence II    No. 7

Ceramic vase form   14"h x 13" x 8.5" (2 views)




Ito_Form8a.jpg (133609 bytes)Ito_Form8b.jpg (130328 bytes)

Quintessence II    No. 8

Ceramic vase form   11" x 8" x 7.5" (2 views)




Ito_Form9a.jpg (127805 bytes)Ito_Form9b.jpg (118158 bytes)

Quintessence II    No. 9

Ceramic vase form   8" x 5.5" x 6.5" (2 views)




Ito_Form10a.jpg (131561 bytes)Ito_Form10c.jpg (134464 bytes)

Quintessence II   No. 10

Ceramic vase form   11" x 10" x 7.5" (2 views)




Ito_Form11b.jpg (93724 bytes)Ito_Form11a.jpg (100677 bytes)

Quintessence II    No. 11 

Ceramic vase form    15" x 9" x 7" (2 views)



Ito_Form13b.jpg (95705 bytes)Ito_Form13a.jpg (108682 bytes)

Quintessence II    No. 13

Ceramic form   10.5" x 7.5" x 8.5" (2 views)




Ito_Form14a.jpg (135746 bytes)Ito_Form14b.jpg (111885 bytes)

Quintessence II    No. 14

Ceramic form   12" x 10.5" x 7.5"  (2 views)




Ito_Form15a.jpg (146763 bytes)Ito_Form15b.jpg (123482 bytes)

Quintessence II    No. 15

Ceramic form   10.5" x 9" x 8" (2 views)



Ito_Form16ab.jpg (69851 bytes)

Ito_Form17ab.jpg (54255 bytes)

Quintessence II   Nos. 16A, 16C

  Note: These are separate hanging vases   5.5" x 4" x 4.5" each

   16A Sold                   16C Sold



 Quintessence II    Nos. 17A, 17B

Note: These are separate hanging vases   8.5" x 3" x 2.5" each

 17A Sold          17B Sold



Ito_Form18ab.jpg (62330 bytes)

Ito_Form19ab.jpg (37375 bytes)

 Quintessence II    Nos. 18A, 18B

  Note: These are separate vases   6.5" x 5.5" x 3.5" each

             18A Sold                   18B Sold           



 Quintessence II    Nos. 19A, 19B

Note: These are separate vases    5" x 3.5" x 3" each

       19A Sold             19B Sold        



Ito_Form20ab.jpg (55536 bytes)

Quintessence II    Nos. 20A, 20B

 Note: These are separate boxes   3.5" x 3" x 3" each

20A Sold        20B Sold




This vase was shattered during transit from Japan. Ito requested that

the broken pieces be returned to the earth somewhere in Santa Fe.



1990 Gallery Pusu, Tokyo

1992 Gallery Pusu, Tokyo

1994 Gallery Pusu, Tokyo

1996 Gallery Pusu, Tokyo

1997 Toukyo Gallery, Tokyo

         Gallery Mukyo, Tokyo

1998 Gallery Pusu, Tokyo

         Meiso Gallery, Sendai

         Toukyo Gallery, Tokyo

1999 Gallery Mukyo, Tokyo

         Toukyo Gallery, Tokyo

2000 Gallery Pusu, Tokyo

         Meiso Gallery, Sendai

         Toukyo Gallery, Tokyo

2001 Gallery Mukyo, Tokyo

         Toukyo Gallery, Tokyo

2002 Meiso Gallery, Sendai

         Gallery Pusu, Tokyo

         Toukyo Gallery, Tokyo

2003 Gallery Mukyo, Tokyo

         Toukyo Gallery, Tokyo

2004 Gallery Meguro Tougeikan, Tottkaichi

         Gallery Pusu, Tokyo

         Toukyo Gallery, Tokyo

         Meiso Gallery, Sendai

2005 Gallery Mukyo, Tokyo

2006 Tousai Gallery, Tokyo

         Toukyo Gallery, Tokyo

         Gallery Meguro Tougeikan, Tottkaichi

2007 Gallery Mukyo, Tokyo

         Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, USA

2008 The Second Musee Tomo Prize, Contemporary

         Ceramics for the Tea Ceremony, Musee Tomo Museum, Tokyo

2009 Gallery Mukyo, Tokyo

         Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, USA