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Tokyo-forged ceramic artist and designer Yuko Nishikawa just wrapped her debut solo exhibition “Petrichor” at Hot Bed Gallery in Philadelphia. It was one of a handful of shows curated by local outfit Olio Projects. | Image: Nico Schinco

It was the smell of fresh rainfall that served as inspiration. 

Yuko Nishikawa and the ceramic creations that inspired “Petrichor,” the artist’s solo exhibition curated by Olio Projects (723 Chestnut St.), transformed the micro space of Hot Bed Gallery into a place where emotions and feelings were given freedom to exist in a world addicted to logical explanations. 

Nishikawa’s work was just one of many exhibits that were curated by Olio Projects’ director William H. Felinski, but it was the light and form of the pieces from this Brooklyn-by-way-of-Japan sculptor that left you not wanting to leave. 

Last Sunday was the final weekend of the Philly exhibit for an artist who hopes her work was able to leave an indelible mark on the collective psyches of those that walked through the transformed gallery.

The show's name arrived from a moment during the installation of Nishikawa's work when it began to rain. On her own website, Nishikawa notes how the smell of fresh rainfall created the sense that the “pieces began to feel like dozens of droplets” or “vapor released from the earth,” — all of which is reminiscent of a rainstorm captured in a single moment.

While she may create her work in NYC, Nishikawa originally moved from Japan to Philadelphia, where she got her start in the United States. Now, working full time as a ceramic artist and designer, Nishikawa has worked at some of NYC’s leading interior design studios and companies, designing furniture, lamps and more. Additionally, she runs her own design and art company, which specializes in sculptural lighting and installations.

For Nishikawa, “Petrichor” marked her debut solo exhibition. She noted that it was important for her to have it in Philadelphia as her goal was to represent a “new approach to the iconic chandelier.”

Make no mistake, during her time here in Philly, Nishikawa did exactly that. 

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