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Work of the Week: Islands

Tucked underneath the spiral staircase leading to the Deering Family Galleries and European decorative arts galleries, Izumi Masatoshi’s Islands are a dark and bold complement to an otherwise pale space. A work in three parts, Islands is made out of Japanese basalt and weighs about 12,000 pounds in total. The three pieces were cut from the same stone, and their contours complement each other. Though the stones look untouched, Izumi cut and polished every surface, bringing out the yellow, gold, and brown tones hidden in the blackish-gray. In this way, the artist is able to balance his contemporary viewpoint with the traditional Japanese reverence for natural materials. Generations of the Izumi family were stonemasons, and Izumi Masatoshi began using stonecutting as an artistic medium at an early age, making a work like Islands the product of family history, Japanese tradition, and artistic impulse.

See Islands in Gallery 135.


Izumi Masatoshi. Islands (Shima tachi), 2000. Restricted Gift of Roger L. Weston and Fred Eychaner. © 2000 Izumi Masatoshi.