Liner Notes June 2013

Preface: Liner Notes originally appeared on the cover of  record albums to tell the story of the band and the genesis of the recorded music. Liner Notes in this context is used to denote samplings of the artist’s creative, fluid thought process.


Featured Ceramic Artist: Noriko Kuresumi

I was truly taken by Ms. Kuresumi’s ceramic artwork which I saw initially at the Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center in Long Island City, New York.










Sea of Memory by Noriko Kuresumi  – Porcelain  2013                           Photo Credit: Shin Ono

She kindly granted me an interview so that I could better understand her journey in becoming a New York based ceramic artist. There was something delightfully refreshing to learn that she was mostly a self-taught artist. In her young adult life in Japan, in the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, Ms. Kuresumi did not study art in school but awoke to art through the inspirational readings of Gurdjief.  Earlier in her life, after visiting galleries and museums, and then developing her initial style as an abstract painter, she found immediate success in Japan. An affluent Japanese business patron acquired some of her early paintings, after which the Ginza Gallery immediately arranged for a one-woman exhibit of her two-dimensional work. This subsequently led to a series of commissions for her paintings by commercial clients.

True to her independent spirit however, Ms. Kuresumi left those favorable circumstances to venture to the United States, originally settling in Florida.  Her art work changed direction when she moved to New York City in the late 1990s.  She began working in a private ceramic studio located in Manhattan that served the Japanese community. Never a fan of heavy equipment or machinery, Ms. Kuresumi preferred direct hand building techniques. Her work seen here is made of porcelain that has been hand-mixed with pure white paper for support, flexibility, and purity. It is fired in electric kilns at a mid-range temperature (Cone 6) in an oxidation environment.

Sea of Memory by Noriko Kuresumi – Porcelain  2013                    Photo Credit: Shin Ono

While her ceramic work appears to make overt reference to organic sea life, flowers, and female reproductive organs; the work is more about expressing harmony and elegance. Ms. Kuresumi does not rely on external visual reference for her iconography.  In the studio, she works for extended hours becoming completely immersed in a fantasy world of imagination under the sea, touched by moonlight, at one with the natural world.

Enveloped by this reverie, she produces an initial three dimension form. From there, a dialogue begins between the three dimensional object and the artist, which leads to a delicate thin shape lifting and bending in one direction or curving in another. Simplicity and complexity are interwoven in one.

Ms. Kuresumi’s three-dimensional work speaks for itself. Given that everything she creates sells, I found it particularly surprising to learn that she is not represented by any gallery nor is her work, to the best of my current knowledge, found in any museum.  This gap is all the more remarkable, given the fact that she recently won the Grand Prize at the 14th Tokyo-New York Friendship Ceramic Competition and has a consistent record of selling all of her three-dimensional work through competitive exhibits. On average, she makes between 12- 14 pieces per year.

In terms of her aspirations, Ms. Kuresumi wishes at some point in time to make large scale porcelain pieces three to four feet across. Also, since she holds down a part-time “day job” like so many other New York City artists, she would love to be able to make art on a full time basis. This would mean she could return to her painting while continuing to produce three-dimensional sculpture. As far as I am concerned, I certainly hope this comes to pass. I wonder what she might do in both clay and painting.

Finally, given her success in the past as a painter, her success in ceramic art competitions, the inherent aesthetic quality of her work, I believe that those who acquire contemporary ceramics for museums should take a closer look at her work in person. For further information:

Original copyright © 2013 by Andrew Buck. Revised Edition 2017

Art work and photographs Copyright © Noriko Kuresumi 2013. Used with permission.