Michael Fujita's work captures memory and the passing of time. His sculptures serve as a repository of his environment, his experiences with others, or of a brief moment in time. The work included in his current exhibition, Artificially Flavored, grows out of his having lived in Philadelphia this past year as The Clay Studio's 2009-2010 Evelyn Shapiro Foundation Fellow. This one-year Fellowship, which alternates annually between potters and vessel makers and sculptors/installation artists, provides a monthly stipend, free studio space, materials, firing allowance, and a solo exhibition.
In writing about the work in this show, Fujita states, “This show is a product of my first year of living, looking, and working in Philadelphia. Visual instances that triggered personal interest and curiosity served as beginnings of pieces. Through various processes, materials, and the element of time, those visual triggers take on new meaning and identity as objects.”
Fujita's method of making is labor intensive, arduous and time-consuming. Each work is composed of hundreds of parts, almost all hand made by Fujita. Whatever isn't, are bits and pieces of ceramic works, deemed unsuccessful and broken apart, by his friends, their makers . Fujita uses these parts to record his history, his current life experiences and interactions, placing them all into his work. These shards, in combination with numeourous forms he creates - domino like blocks, perforated spheres, and discs - are all layered into molds, of Fujita's making, directly into the kiln. Each object is glazed and then placed into the mold, layer upon layer. Upon completion of the firing, the multiple parts have fused together, the actual form of the finished work, dictated by the shape of the mold. This manner of making and layering, serves not only as a record to specific moments in his life but also the accumulated time of the making of each of his pieces.
Fujita received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University. A native of Portland, OR, Fujita will remain in Philadelphia as part of The Clay Studio's Resident Artist Program.
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