Galleries | Cate McQuaid

Niho Kozuru’s colors dazzle at the Society of Arts + Crafts

Image courtesy of the Society of Arts and Crafts.

Niho Kozuru comes from a long line of Japanese ceramicists. She has seen a bowl or two thrown. Her sculptures originate, conceptually if not practically, on a wheel. Spun metal and turned wood objects, such as finials and gears, appear as candy-colored rubber casts. It’s a gummy-bear extravaganza of utilitarian circles.

In “Infinite Vibration,” her show at the Society of Arts + Crafts, Kozuru flattens her rounded forms, twists them, stacks them, and wears them down.

That primal circular shape could be a mortal on the wheel of life, intact or broken open, ever turning. Her use of molds and casts adds a playful tension between inside and outside, as if she’s peeling away an outer shell to find the tender, light-filled soul beneath.


In “Liquid Sunshine: Lotus,” a totem of translucent gold and orange casts of cogs, domes, and disks, the artist inflects traditional forms with a Pop Art cant, alchemizing cast multiples of ordinary tools into an ebullient shrine.

Kozuru also works in glass, blowing it into plaster molds to make “Lantern Columns.”  Each of seven columns, up to 7 feet tall, features colorful stacked rounds strung like beads over a steel armature.

They recall Japanese floating lanterns that usher the dead into the spirit world. The plaster molds erode as Kozuru uses them repeatedly; creases and knobs soften, and the resulting glass appears to wear or decay, as if growing old. The columns mark a moment of passing, but they also represent time’s passage.

Most recently, the artist has reshaped her rubber casts on panels and poured on a new, thin coat of sparkly rubber. She removes the casts to reveal flat, painterly squares in which brilliant blues, yellows, and reds arc and curl. She makes several passes, resulting in similar panels with variant colors.

In “Infinite Bloom” and “Deeper Reflection,” Kozuru puts panels together in grids, creating bubbly explosions of pattern. Is it eye candy? Absolutely: rainbow candy, bursting from a modern-day take on a centuries-old tradition.



At Society of Arts + Crafts, 100 Pier 4 Blvd., through Sept. 29. 617-266-1810, www.societyofcrafts.org

Cate McQuaid can be reached at catemcquaid@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @cmcq.