Oca Villamiel’s works in this exhibition take inspiration from Raku pottery. In 16th century Japan, the tea master Sen Rikyu commissioned the craftsman Chojiro to make chawan that reveled in quietness and simplicity. What came to be known as Raku ware would play a prominent part at Japanese tea ceremonies. Passed from palm to palm, the tea bowls accompany guests as they gather in an atmosphere of solemnity and order.
Raku pottery reflects this spirit of stillness, punctuated by moments of subtle intensity. During a visit to the Raku Museum in Kyoto, Villamiel admired the wares for both their form and the process of making. Raku does away with excessive ornamentation and the potter’s wheel. The form arises from a unique moment of contact, where the material of earth is warmed and molded by the maker’s hands, then graciously surrendered to fire, air, and chance.
Moved by the beauty of this process, Villamiel expresses his fascination with Raku in different moments and modes of making. Some are drawn quickly and instinctively in the silence of the Raku museum, while others are slowly painted and assembled to evoke the subtleties of Raku ware. The exhibition is an invitation to pause, to collect one’s thoughts, and to be present as we gather around a quiet earth. (Pristine de Leon)