Mari Tanimoto


10 1/2 X 10 1/2 X 9 1/2 inches; 10 1/2 x 10 x 9 1/2 inches

In a delicate visual style, Mari Tanimoto paints dreamlike scenes directly onto her ceramics, seen here in the dense natural settings where animals slumber and trees have faces. Both the object and her paint application are deliberately imperfect, adding a quiet vulnerability to the form. Tanimoto says about her approach to ceramics:

I didn’t study pottery. Most of my methods are self-taught. The first time I used glaze, I drew a picture with the glaze on the surface of a small cup. When I fired it, the glaze ran off and the painting dripped, making it impossible to tell what was originally painted. Seeing that phenomenon, I didn’t think I had “failed.” Rather, something interesting happened! I was so excited. […] I am experimenting with painting with different glazes. Recently, I’ve been using a traditional underglaze called Gosu, and I think I’m using it more freely and more like paint than other potters. I wonder if there are few restrictions because I haven’t learned properly. I think so.

Though comprised of two separate objects, Tanimoto painted each vase in Sleeping Eyes with a large animal eye so the vases could stare at each other if arranged just so. Born in Hyogo, Japan, in 1986, Tanimoto graduated from Kyoto City University of the Arts with a Master’s in Sculpture. Her work has been shown at venues such as Yokohama Gallery Azamino; Finch Arts, Kyoto; and Kayokoyuki, Tokyo.