Traver Gallery is pleased to present Meditation/Mediation, a gallery artist group exhibition.
This show, featuring the work of 27 artists, brings together a diverse group of sculptures and paintings that highlight different approaches to medium and artistic process. The title of the show, Meditation/Mediation refers to the artists’ conceptual practice and material manipulation, and it refers to the experience of the viewer, as they observe, think about, and are shaped by their interaction with the artworks. This show seeks to prompt the viewer to consider how these artworks came into being, the person who created them and why, and how the physical and conceptual space that they occupy is uniquely potent.
Exhibition includes works by: Mark Bennion, Heike Brachlow, Squire Broel, Mel Douglas, Tom DeGroot, Tim Edwards, Justin Ginsberg, Jef Gunn, Jun Kaneko, Tori Karpenko, John Kiley, Malcolm Martin & Gaynor Dowling, Anna Mlasowsky, Eric Nelsen, Jane Rosen, David Ruth, Cordy Ryman, Preston Singletary, Ethan Stern, April Surgent, Matthew Szosz, Cappy Thompson, Jamie Walker, Lynn Whitford, Ann Wolff, Hiroshi Yamano, Jiro Yonezawa.
Mark Bennion (b.1948 Seattle, Washington) is a painter and sculptor who has shown his work across the United States, Canada and Europe since 1968. He lives and works on Vashon Island, near Seattle, Washington.
Over the past 25 years he has developed a unique painting process, which he calls fresco, using oil, dry pigment on plaster and paper on a panel or canvas. Strongly encouraged by mentor William Ivey (1919-1992) Bennion sees his “frescoes”– oil and dry pigment on plaster on paper on panel–as a confluence of eastern and western techniques. This process, which the artist began over 30 years ago, lends itself to many of his interests. Ancient walls and the decay of structures are juxtaposed with the markings and shapes of the mythology from many cultures. There is a silent knowing in these markings. An ancient innocence that becomes familiar. The work on plaster is painted and sanded, and painted over and over, sometimes 4 or 5 layers but often up to 10 or 12 until the work is complete. Bennion is also a sculptor exhibiting large scale geometric welded steel pieces and has numerous outdoor installations.
Bennion’s March 2015 exhibition of new works in fresco, collage and steel marks his 8th solo exhibition with Traver Gallery.
Born and raised in Munich, Germany, Heike Brachlow received her BA in glass 2004 from the University of Wolverhampton, her MA in 2006 and her PhD in 2012 from the Royal College of Art in London. She primarily works as a self-employed artist from her studio at Parndon Mill, and as an educator and lecturer. She has taught at the Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, Pilchuck Glass School, and Penland School of Crafts. Heike’s often precariously balanced sculptures aim to physically engage: the viewer becomes toucher – invited by words or form, boldly or guiltily. Colour is an important part of her work: the exploration of the interaction of colour, form and light in solid transparent glass during her PhD research has led her to producing her own glass colours, adding metal oxides to the glass batch during the melting process. This enables her to create a personal palette, which consists mostly of subtle tones and polychromatic colours, that is colours that change in different types of light. Her work reflects her attraction to movement and transformation, both in colour and form.
Squire Broel’s visual language gives shape to his encounters with both the visible world and the invisible world. Nuances, commonly overlooked in the midst of a frenetic, culturally driven reality provide much of the inspiration for his work. Through series and repetition Broel delves deep into his creative process; ever-working to distill the spirit of his subjects. Through his quest for the “essential” Broel explores the many expansive possibilities inherent to the search.
Mel Douglas is a graduate from the Australian National University, School of Art, Glass Workshop. Douglas has exhibited in many group and solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally including the United States of America, Singapore and Italy. Douglas has been featured in numerous publications and her work is held in permanent collections such as the National Gallery of Australia and the Corning Museum of Glass.
Her delicate, subtle work comes from the slow and considered process of engraved mark making. This process of mark making is influenced by the objects physical and linear relationships. Douglas’ mastery of her craft is highly regarded and has earned her many awards including the 2014 Tom Malone Prize, 2007 International Young Glass Award, Ebeltolft, as well as the 2002 Ranamok Glass Prize.
Tim Edwards’ new body of work explores how the use of line can at once define, describe, and distort our perception of form in two and three- dimensional space. A child of the 70’s and 80’s media culture, Edwards has a deep-seeded interest in how we understand, and consume images and graphics in our modern lives. He is also a passionate drawer, filling his sketchbooks with line drawings of everyday objects, patterns, and shapes. Edwards’ passion for illustration and graphics has long been at the core of his sculptural work in glass, but this most recent body of work precisely highlights how blown glass and drawing can work together to define and contort both form and our perception of it
Originally trained in ceramics, Edwards has devoted himself to glass art since 1997. From 1992 to 1996, he served as the Associate Designer of ceramics and glass at the Jam Factory in Adelaide, AU. In addition to Traver Gallery, Edwards’ work has been exhibited at SOFA Chicago, The Institute of Science and Arts in Venice, Italy, The Mitsukoshi International Glass Art Festival in Taiwan, and many more internationally known institutions. In 2006 Edwards was the recipient of the prestigious Rakow Commission from the Corning Museum of Glass in New York.
Justin Ginsberg was born and raised in Dallas Texas, before traveling the country learning from practicing artists before returning to his home city. Since 2013, he has been the head of the glass area and assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, while also pursuing his own creative practice and research. His work focuses on the systems and structures we use for understanding the world around us. He questions the known and orderliness, while also bringing context to the unknown and chaotic. He considers process and action as he explores the perceived boundaries of materials and the presumed nature of things.
Justin shows his work nationally and internationally, including a solo exhibition in Berlin Germany at Berlin Glas eV. In 2013. He has been included into New Glass Review five out of the last six years, and recently the Kunstpalast Museum in Dussledorf Germany acquired one of his works for their permanent collection. In 2015, he completed residencies at West TX A&M, The Corning Museum of Glass, The Tacoma Museum of Glass, and Wheaton Arts. He looks forward to a solo exhibition at the Traver Gallery, and teaching at the Toyama City Institute of Glass, later this year.
Since his early career, Gunn has made use of found materials. Seeds and nutshells, stones, wood, and bits of iron all hold the opportunity to create marks in ink onto fine Chinese papers. This intuitive, repetitive and meditative process evolves into final compositions. The resulting papers, rice-pasted or waxed to panels, echo the traditional mantras that are expressed in his forms.
As a long time practicing and self-described “lay Buddhist”, Gunn’s core motivation for this current body of work is the Lokeshvara – the meditations of the bodhisattva. For followers of this tradition, Lokeshvara is considered the embodiment (or expression) of the supreme principles of the world. It refers to the practice of seeing the distress of each being in the world and radiating loving kindness, transcendent compassion, and joy in order to release the particular suffering. This acute awareness seems to be particularly timely and comforting considering our current global humanitarian concerns.
Jun Kaneko was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942. He studied painting with Satoshi Ogawa during his adolescence – working in his studio during the day and attending high school in the evening. He came to the United States in 1963 to continue his studies at Chouinard Institute of Art when his introduction to Fred Marer drew him to sculptural ceramics. He proceeded to study with Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, and Jerry Rothman in California during the time now defined as The Contemporary Ceramics Movement in America. The following decade, Kaneko taught at some of the nation’s leading art schools, including Scripps College, Rhode Island School of Design and Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Based in Omaha since 1986, Jun Kaneko has worked at several experimental studios including European Ceramic Work Center in The Netherlands, Otsuka Omi Ceramic Company in Japan, Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia PA, Bullseye Glass in Portland OR, Acadia Summer Arts Program in Bar Harbor ME, and Aguacate in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Over the course of his career he has partnered with industrial facilities to realize large-scale, hand-built sculptures. The first was his 1982-1983 Omaha Project at Omaha Brickworks. Later sculptures include his Fremont Project, completed in 1992-1994 in California, and most recently his Pittsburg Project completed in 2004-2007 in Kansas. Both of these later series of sculptures were created at Mission Clay Products. This past spring, his exhibition Myths, Legends and Truths opened at Millennium Park in Chicago. The exhibition features thirteen nine-and-a-half foot tall Dangos and twenty-three of his Tanukis. This new body of work by Kaneko draws upon the myths and legends of the tanuki figure.
His artwork appears in numerous international and national solo and group exhibitions annually, and is included in more than seventy museum collections. He has realized over thirty public art commissions in the United States and Japan and is the recipient of national, state and organization fellowships. Kaneko holds honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska, the Massachusetts College of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art in London.
Kaneko is increasingly drawn to installations that promote civic interaction. He has completed over fifty public art commissions, including his two three hundred and fifty foot long Tile Walls at Aquarium Station in Boston, MA (1993-2000), a 3-story high wall in the Biology library at The University of Connecticut (1997) and at the the Mashima Sports Arena in Osaka Japan (1994); permanent plaza installations in Council Bluffs and Des Moines, IA (2007 and 2013), at Bartle Hall and Convention Center in Kansas City, KS (2006), and at the International Finance Center in Shanghai, China (2012). In 2014 his fifty-six foot tall Glass Tower, Plaza Design, and Tile Wall will be permanently installed in Lincoln, NE.
Jun Kaneko’s new design for San Francisco Opera’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute is currently touring the United States. It opened in San Francisco, Omaha, Kansas City. Its final performance will take place at The Washington National Opera at The John F. Kennedy Center. His production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, which premiered at Opera Omaha in March 2006, will open in June 2014 at the San Francisco Opera.
In 1998, he and his wife Ree Kaneko formed a non-profit cultural organization in Omaha Nebraska called KANEKO that explores and encourages the process of creativity. KANEKO is headquartered in landmark, turn-of-the-century warehouses in the Old Market District of Omaha, Nebraska. Jun Kaneko continues his dedication to life as an artist and as a cultural catalyst for the region.
Tori Karpenko received his BFA from Drake University, where he majored in Painting and graduated cum laude. During his sophomore year, he attended the Lorenzo de Medici Institute of Italian Studies in Florence, Italy.
Since moving to Washington in 2000, Tori has exhibited his work regionally in the Pacific Northwest. In 2001, Tori joined the Confluence Gallery and Art Center’s Board of Directors, and he was elected Chairman in 2002. Since 2003, he has been active on the Methow Arts teaching roster, where he has led several dynamic learning experiences in the public school system. Since 2008, he has served as a regional ambassador for Artist Trust.
In 2011, Tori began working for TwispWorks, a community inspired project that is repurposing a 6.5 acre, multi-building complex formerly used by the US Forest Service. This complex will be transformed into a hub for creative enterprise. As Director of Campus Operations, Tori manages the building renovations, oversees the Artist in Residence Program, develops a destination education program, and directs numerous cultural events throughout the year.
Tori received funding from Artist Trust through the Grants for Artists Projects to transport and show The Lookout at Traver Gallery. The Lookout is a cathartic work from a time of personal crisis when Tori found solace in mountain solitude. The result of his studio practice during this time of healing is twenty paintings that explore the transformative power of solitude and quiet contemplation in raw wilderness.
Seattle native John Kiley began his professional career at the age of 19 at The Glass Eye Studio. Promoted to Gaffer on Dale Chihuly’s chandelier team at the age of 21, he traveled to Finland, Ireland, Mexico, and Italy as part of the Chihuly Over Venice Team. He was a principal member of Lino Taglipietra’s team for sixteen years until 2011 when he became the Glass Director at the Schack Art Center in Everett, WA. In addition to his work with Chihuly and Tagliapietra, John has worked with Dante Marioni and Benjamin Moore and has been a teaching assistant to Lino Tagliapietra, Dante Marioni, Benjamin Moore, Richard Marquis, Josiah McElheny, & Checco Ongaro. He has been a visiting instructor at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland, The Bezalel Academy of Art And Design in Jerusalem, Israel, The Pittsburgh Glass Center and Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, WA. He has worked and demonstrated in Finland, Ireland, Mexico, Italy, Japan, Bulgaria, China, Australia, Brazil, and Turkey. John Kiley’s work has been exhibited at galleries and museums around the world.
Martin and Dowling have worked together since 1997, their collaborative pieces straddling the fields of sculpture and craft. The artists comment that their work is, about the encounter of hand, wood, and chisel, where pattern and texture emerge from the repetitive nature of the act of carving itself.
Their different backgrounds – Martin studied sculpture before going on to the Royal College of Art, while Dowling trained as a textile artist – spark their collaboration, bringing the fluidity and rhythm of textiles to this least fluid of mediums.
In their most recent work, the black abstract forms evoke a human presence through their scale and posture. Scale has always been important to their work, whether it is the intimacy of a piece to be held in the hand or the architectural scale of their public art pieces. Even in their well-known vessel pieces, a sense of the figure is rarely entirely absent, as the artists state, Our forms hover somewhere between imagined vessels and the memories of bodies.
Born 1984 in Germany Anna Mlasowsky received her BA in Glass from the Royal Danish Academy in 2011 and an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Washington in 2016. Anna has received numerous awards and nominations for her experimental work. She has been an artist in residence at The Creative Glass Center of America, The Toyama City Institute of Glass Art in Japan, The Corning Museum of Glass, Pittsburgh Glass Center and The National University of Sunderland to name a few. Her work has been shown in international competitions and has been included in various Museum collections such as The Corning Museum of Glass, The European Museum of Modern Glass Art and the Glasmuseum in Ebeltoft. She won the UK Glass Prize in 2013, the Otto Waldrich Preis and the Emerge Silver Award in 2014.
In the same year did she give the prestigious Page Hazelgrove lecture at MIT.
Anna received an Artist Trust Fellowship, was one of the Emerging Voices in Craft Award recipient and is soon to be starting the Emerging Artist residency at Centrum. Anna has recently completed the Specialty Glass Residency at the Corning Inc. Science Center.
Jane Rosen has the unique ability to evoke both enigma and precision with her work. Her chosen subjects–animals wild and tame–are used as vehicles to explore their instincts and natural intelligence. For Rosen, understanding animal nature is a key to understanding human nature. She is fascinated with cultures such as the Eskimos, Native Americans, and Egyptians. Rosen excels across several different mediums including sculpture, painting, and drawing, and traces of all three can be found in each artwork; upon close observation a sculpture has been painted or a drawing has had several layers of wax sculpted onto its surface.
Rosen was born in New York City where she grew up and began her career as an artist. Despite finding early success in galleries and a prestigious teaching position in the city, Rosen found herself captivated by the accessibility of nature on a visit to the West Coast. She eventually relocated permanently to San Gregorio, California, where she keeps her studio and resides on a horse ranch frequently visited by the birds you see in her work.
Rosen was recently selected by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for inclusion in their prestigious 2014 Annual Invitational in New York. Rosen has taught at numerous elite institutions including the School of Visual Arts and Bard College in New York, LaCoste School of the Arts in France, Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. Rosen’s work has been reviewed in the New York Times, ArtForum, Art in America, and Art News. Her work has been exhibited across the United States and is in numerous public and private collections including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Aspen Art Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Chevron Corporation, the collection of Grace Borgenicht, JP Morgan Chase Bank, the Luso American Foundation, the Mallin Collection, the Mitsubishi Corporation, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. She exhibits in galleries around the United States.
Engaging in an astute dialogue with minimalist and constructivist ideologies, Cordy Ryman’s (b. 1971, New York) work oftentimes operates both architecturally and organically. By employing elements of site-specificity, shadow, raw materiality and dimension, he masterfully creates “specific objects” that utilize environment as an extension of surface. Paint, wood, Velcro swatches, staples, metal and debris playfully conjoin as self-referential qualities that allude to process and materiality, while a deliberate use of tonal planes and gradation bespeak a progressive variation of color-field aesthetics.
The art of Preston Singletary has become synonymous with the relationship between European glass blowing traditions and Northwest Native art. His artworks feature themes of transformation, animal spirits, and shamanism through elegant blown glass forms and mystical sand carved Tlingit designs.
Singletary learned the art of glass blowing by working with artists in the Seattle area including Benjamin Moore and Dante Marioni. As a student and assistant, he initially focused on mastering the techniques of the European tradition. His work took him to Kosta Boda (Sweden) where he studied Scandinavian design and met his future wife. Throughout his 30+ years of glass blowing experience, he has also had opportunities to learn the secrets of the Venetian glass masters by working with Italian legends Lino Tagliapietra, Cecco Ongaro, and Pino Signoretto. In 2010, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Puget Sound. Now recognized internationally, Singletary’s artworks are included in museum collections such as The British Museum (London, UK), The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), The Seattle Art Museum (Seattle WA), the Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY), the Mint Museum of Art and Design (Charlotte, NC), the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), and the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC).
Singletary maintains an active schedule by teaching, lecturing and exhibiting internationally. In 2009, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, launched a major mid-career survey of his work, entitled “Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows”. In 2018, he will launch a new traveling exhibition with the Museum of Glass, titled “Raven and the Box of Daylight”, which will push the boundaries of glass as a medium for storytelling.
Born in Ithaca, New York, Ethan Stern currently lives in Seattle, WA. He earned his Associates degree in Ceramics at TAFE College in Brisbane Australia and his BFA in Sculpture and Glass from Alfred University. Stern’s work is widely exhibited and is held in the collections of The Museum of Glass in Tacoma Washington, The Eboltoft Glass Museum in Denmark, The Museum of American Glass in New Jersey and The Palm Springs Art Museum. Ethan has taught sculpture at the University of Washington, Pilchuck Glass School, Pratt Fine Arts Center, The Penland School of Craft and the Pittsburgh Glass Center.
Pushing glass beyond the anatomy of the vessel, Ethan Stern’s work is an ongoing exploration of abstraction, color, texture and light. While glass typically reflects light and has an inherently shiny and dense appearance, He is drawn to a richer, more luminous effect that can be achieved by carving and engraving the surface. These engraved marks, like the stroke of a paintbrush on canvas or a finger pushed into clay; leave evidence of the Artists hand and are undeniably connected to his process and the nature of the material itself. The imagery employed on the surface of Ethan’s works stands as a fictitious but recognizable deconstruction of landscape, topography and coastline, familiar only in its similarity to existing vistas and eroded urban geography.
April Surgent started working with glass in 1997, at open access hot shop studios in her hometown of Seattle, WA. She went on to study at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia where she graduated with honors in 2004. In 2003, she changed her focus from blown to wheel engraved glass after studying under Czech master engraver Jiri Harcuba at the Pilchuck glass school. She has been engraving for 14 years, interested in contemporary approaches to the traditional craft of wheel engraving. Notable recognitions for her work include a 2009 Behnke Foundation Neddy Fellowship and a 2016 USA Ford Fellowship.
Surgent’s interest in applied conservation science led her to Antarctica in 2013, with the National Science Foundation’s, Antarctic Artist and Writers Program. Her research there focused on remote conservation fieldwork and the effects of anthropogenic impacts on vulnerable ecosystems. Currently, she is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s, Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program continuing that research. She lives and works on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.
Matthew Szösz is known for his innovative use of materials and developing new sculpting processes, as well as video work that documents the excitement of making.
Born in Rhode Island, Matthew Szösz has received 3 degress including a Masters in Glass from Rhode Island School of Design. He began producing his own work a decade ago, and has received several awards, including the Jutta Cuny-Franz, a Tiffany Foundation grant, and the Borowsky Prize. He has been an artist in residence at university and arts programs across the US, as well as Denmark, Japan and Australia, and has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Washington, Toyama, Penland, Pilchuck, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and Public Glass in San Francisco, where he was executive director. He has exhibited at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, GlazenHuis (Belgium) and the Museum of Art and Design in NYC, among others.
In 2010 he founded Hyperopia Projects, curatorial/ project group based in the USA that advances cross-genre material based sculpture and critical thought. He currently lives and works with his wife, Anna Mlasowsky, in Seattle, WA.
Cappy Thompson has been painting glass since 1976. She started her career as a stained glass painter and became internationally recognized for her reverse-painted narratives on glass using the grisaille (or gray-tonal) painting technique. Her works have been shown and collected internationally. Recent works include architectural-scale public art installations in painted glass.
Jamie Walker is a professor at the University of Washington where he holds the Wyckoff Milliman Endowed Chair of Art and was appointed Director of the School of Art + Art History + Design in 2014. He was the recipient of the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008. Walker studied at the University of Washington where he received a BA/History and a BFA/Ceramics before receiving his MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been featured in 24 one-person exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions throughout the U.S. and Europe. Collections include the Seattle Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, Racine Art Museum, International Museum of Glass, and the Museo del Vino, Torgiano Italy. Reviews of his work have appeared in Ceramics: Art and Perception, Sculpture, New Art Examiner, Ceramics Monthly and American Ceramics. In 2005 he was honored with a Flintridge Foundation Artist Grant and in 2010 completed a three-piece outdoor commission for Vulcan Inc., located at the Amazon headquarters in Seattle.
I have now been doing hollowware – hammering 3D forms out of flat sheet metal – for nearly 30 years. It is a very slow process but satisfies my need to do something expressive, which involves both mind and body in a kind of conversation. What has remained constant in my work is an interest in the beauty of ordinary objects, and in the way objects can seem to have a life of their own and to connect us to fragments of our history. I usually conceive of the bottles in relationship to one another: as we are highly social, so are they. Some are explicitly stand-ins for humans, others less so. What is different in this new work is the addition of words to many of the bottles. The relationship of objects and language has always interested me, but the only evidence of this in my work was in the titles.
As one of the founders of the international Studio Glass Movement, Ann Wolff was at the center of attention as early as the end of the 1960s. In her 50-year career, the sculptor has repeatedly created works that make people think. Especially because the glass, on the one hand, is transparent, yet is a solid material. The translucency intensifies the sensual perception. There is no other material that will allow you to look at it and at the same time through it.
The artist has dealt with glass all her life. With glass, she has allowed the world a glance at her esthetic sentimentality, and she has created homogenous objects. Ever recurring themes predominant in her works are womanhood and habitation. Her objects are mostly monochrome, often kept in warm earthy tones. They radiate calmness and strength. Ann Wolff wanted more than shaped surfaces; she processed the material in several different aggregate phases, shaped it, cast it, painted it. Sometimes abstract objects emerged, sometimes figures that tell stories. What makes me strong? When does something become art? All these questions keep Ann Wolff moving. To her, movement and dance are important. In dance-theater, she was allowed to experience rehearsals with Pina Bausch, made views from it and then formed glass objects.
Ann Wolff was born in Lübeck, Germany in 1937, studied at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (University for design and art) in Ulm, Germany, then she worked as a designer in Sweden. Between 1993 and 1998, Ann Wolff worked as a professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (University of arts) in Hamburg. Today, she works as a freelance artist in Sweden and Berlin. The Swedish Royal family has acquired several of her works.
She has been awarded numerous international awards, among them the renowned Coburger Glaspreis (1977), the Bayerischen Staatspreis (1988), the Jurypreis of the Toledo Museum of Art (2005), and the Award of Excellence of the Smithsonian Renwick Collection, Washington, USA (2008). Her works have been repeatedly exhibited in several solo exhibitions worldwide.
One of Japan’s leading figures in glass art, Hiroshi Yamano is known for his diverse skills and innovative surface applications. Drawn to nature, specifically near his home in the countryside, Hiroshi uses the fish as his personal symbol to describe his journeys from Japan to America, traversing the oceans. Most recently he has been focusing on his homeland and has included native birds to complete his his Scenes of Japan. Hiroshi is co-founder of Ezra Glass Studio in Japan and chairman of the glass department and head of the craft department at Osaka Art University. Mr. Yamano’s work is exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad and is included in many museum and public collections.
Jiro Yonezawa has been a bamboo craftsman and artist for almost 40 years. He trained at the Beppu Vocational Arts Training Center in 1981 and spent a year as an apprentice to Masakazu Ono. He continued his training at the Oita Prefectural Beppu Industrial Art Research Institute. In 1989 he moved to the United States and lived and worked there for almost 20 years. While in the US, his work became bolder and larger and he started making sculptural pieces influenced by art he saw there. In 2008 he returned to his hometown in Japan and built a new studio in Saiki City, Oita Prefecture. Since his return he has been active in the Japanese New Art & Craft (Nihon Shinkogei) organization and has received several national awards. He has also shown in Nitten, the annual National Fine Arts Exhibition.
He has had numerous solo exhibitions and has shown in group exhibitions internationally. His work is in many public and private collections such as the Microsoft Corporation in Seattle, the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. He is one of the bamboo artists selected to participate in an exhibit of Japanese bamboo art at the Musée de quai Branly in Paris this coming November.