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Yoichi Ohira

Japanese  •  b. 1946

Biography

Glass art – hard, fragile, cold and often heavy – is not typically designed to be handled. Yoichi Ohira's luminous blown glass vessels, however, offer an exception to this trend. They are small and light enough to be turned in one's hands like a Wunderkammer specimen, inviting the viewer to admire his abstracted design vocabulary of gemstones, polished ivory, veined rocks, shimmering water, agate, moss and lichens. Ohira has been compared to Emile Gallé for his ability to emulate the natural world in glass. Comparisons may also be drawn to Jean Dunand's bronze vessels, Japanese rokusho patina and Otto Natzler's volcanic glazes – an impressive range of media to be translated into glass.

Yoichi Ohira graduated from the Kuwasawa Design School, Tokyo in 1969. Shortly thereafter he took up a glassblowing apprenticeship at the Kagami Crystal Company, Ltd. In 1973 Ohira moved to Venice to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti; he graduated in 1978 earning the highest possible grade for his thesis, "The Aesthetics of Glass." In the late 1980s Ohira began collaborating with Murano glassmakers, earning the "Premio Selezione" of the Premio Murano in 1987.

Insights

  • Major collections featuring Ohira's work include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Corning Museum of Glass and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

"If I might compare myself to a composer...I could then compare Murano glassmakers to singers or instrumentalists."

Past Lots

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