Artist Spotlight: Hidemi Tokutake, McKnight Resident Artist

Hidemi Tokutake is from the city of Kariya in the Aichi prefecture of Japan, which is just south of Nagoya. Her ceramic research began at the Seto Ceramic School in Seto, Japan. Seto-city is one of the main centers for the production of Japanese ceramics; the history reaches back to the 13th century. It is also the site of one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan, a category developed in the post-war period to describe the most noteworthy ceramic kilns in Japan.

From this rich base, Tokutake moved to Australia, in 2013, where she studied at the National Art School, completing the Master course, majoring in ceramics, and becoming a member of the International Academy of Ceramics. As a current resident of Sydney, she is influenced by the local environment. Pulling from the environment has continued to inform her work as she travels around the globe. She explains, “During my time as an artist-in-residence at multiple locations in both Denmark and America, I searched for inspiration in the local environment. At the University of South Carolina, I found many acorns on the ground. They were huge and unusual to me but the local residents were accustomed to them. They wondered at my fascination with them. In my exhibit there, I made a carpet of acorns. As an outsider I was able to find something beautiful and unique in local nature that was uninteresting and blasé to the locals.”

Most of her work is created by using handbuilding techniques, allowing her finger marks to form the surface of her art, which echo the patterns found in nature. Each work is unique, different in softness and sensitivity, reflecting the intricacies of nature, and through this, Tokutake’s art often emotionally resonates with her audience.

She notes, “My work explores the religious aesthetic aspects of Japanese culture such as Zen calligraphy and Shinto appreciation of nature, within an overall Abstract Expressionist style. I wonder about the birth of nature, the wonder of seeds emerging from pods, the continuum of life, all of which can be likened to a woman giving birth to a child. My sculptures include functional elements, visual features resembling [female] reproductive organs, flowers, seedpods, and other natural forms. At the heart of my work, I aim to bring to focus the beauty, curiosity, and unity between plants and humans.”

Tokutake’s exhibition record includes venues in Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, China, Turkey, Indonesia, and the US. NCC is pleased to welcome her to Minneapolis. We are looking forward to seeing our world anew through her eyes. Join us on Tuesday, October 22, at 6 pm, for a free lecture on her work in NCC’s Library, where she will share deeper insights into her work and the experiences of her most recent journeys.