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Posts Tagged ‘Frank’s International House of Ceramics

Chawan

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Goro_Suzuki_teabowls copy
The tea bowls by Goro Suzuki that we have on display in Frank’s International House of Ceramics, Part Three attract a lot of questions from visitors. Suzuki-san works in a range of traditional and contemporary Japanese styles which can be unfamiliar to our audience. Even the titles can be hard to decipher, although they hold the key to identifying the style of each of the works. Here’s a very basic guide to some of the forms and styles you can see in our current exhibition.

Classifying these works becomes simpler once you know that their titles function as descriptions of the style and form of each piece. You might notice that the title of each tea bowl includes the word chawan. This translates simply as “tea bowl” in English, so it describes the basic function of the seven works. The words preceding chawan are specific descriptions, indicating the style in which each piece was made.

FSI102 copyFor example, Kiseto Chawan refers to a tea bowl that was made in the Kiseto style, which originated in the Mino region of Japan during the fifteenth century. Kiseto ware developed from early attempts to imitate Chinese celadon glazes, but was soon pursued for its own unique qualities. With an ideal surface texture resembling that of fried tofu, this example of Kiseto ware also features the incised iris design and splash of green glaze that are common to the style.

The work titled Yobitsugi Chawan is a tea bowlFSI103 copy that was formed in the yobitsugi, or “patchwork” style. Traditionally a method of repairing broken ceramics, yobitsugi refers to the practice of using gold or silver lacquer to combine ceramic shards of differing styles into one vessel. This patchwork aesthetic can also be achieved deliberately through the purposeful breaking and restoration of works, as is the case here.

Written by Frank Lloyd

February 19, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Satoru Hoshino: Collaboration with Clay

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FSH008_A copyAnother artist I’m happy to be featuring in Frank’s International House of Ceramics, Part Three, is the Japanese artist Satoru Hoshino. Born in the Niigata prefecture in 1945, he graduated from Ritsumeikan University in 1971. Although he had already been working in ceramics for 15 years, Hoshino experienced a turning point in his artistic practice when a landslide destroyed his studio in 1986. Witnessing the devastating power of nature led to a change in the artist’s approach to his medium.

Hoshino describes his process as a collaboration between Hoshino Installation_02 copy2himself and his materials. He does not consider clay to be a passive recipient of his actions, instead conceiving of his work as a dialogue between equal partners. Rather than imposing his own desires on earth and clay materials, Hoshino strives to bring out the inner life of the clay. In an essay for Ceramics: Art and Perception in 2000, he writes that his work “is the result of a joint effort, like that of two people in a three-legged race, between myself and the medium of clay.” His towering coils are imprinted with the mark of his thumb and forefinger, leaving a direct record of his engagement with the material.

FSH016_A copyHoshino’s body of work includes large-scale installations that can fill entire rooms as well as more intimate objects that can be held in one’s hands. Leah Ollman wrote in her Los Angeles Times review of Satoru Hoshino’s 2008 solo exhibition that his sculptures have an “air of immediacy, of raw organic matter worked by a reverent hand, of primal forces in concert.” Honoring both the physical properties of the clay and the process by which the material is transformed, Hoshino seeks to reexamine human beings’ relationship with matter and nature. We’ll have three of his stunning works from the Spring Snow series on display in our upcoming show, opening on February 9th.

Written by Frank Lloyd

January 31, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Revisiting Richard Shaw’s Studio

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Getting behind the scenes and into an artist’s studio is always exciting, and can help you get a fuller sense of who the artist is as a person. This video, produced by KQED public television for their arts education program Spark, takes viewers into the studio of Richard Shaw. Richard has lived and worked in the Bay Area for years, and this video segment really captures his laid-back attitude and sense of humor.

Written by Frank Lloyd

January 25, 2013 at 12:56 am

Everyday Beauty

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Another artist I’m happy to be featuring in Frank’s International House of Ceramics, Part Three, is Richard Shaw. Born in Hollywood in 1941, Shaw has spent most of his life in the Bay Area, where he has lived, worked and taught since the 1960s. The last time we showed his work at the gallery was for his 2009 exhibition Still Life, so it’s exciting to have new examples of his signature trompe-l’oeil arrangements.

FSW071 copy4Shaw renders the detritus of everyday life, including books, art supplies, cigars, playing cards and half-eaten apples in porcelain with overglaze decals, achieving a stunning level of realism. Leah Ollman, of the Los Angeles Times, describes his work in cinematic terms, writing that “Under Shaw’s direction, clay is the consummate actor, channeling identities with such conviction that we forget, momentarily, what’s real and what’s a different kind of real.” The works challenge the viewer to examine objects closely. Shaw intends for his art to inspire this kind of diligent looking, saying in a 2006 interview with Richard Whittaker that his work “makes you look at things. It makes you have a new experience rather than the same old experience.”

There’s something enchantingly counterintuitive in FSW068 copyShaw’s determination to reproduce real and often ephemeral objects in the demanding medium of porcelain. His still lifes have a haphazard quality, as though the objects have been set down momentarily and are awaiting the return of their owner. Maria Porges of Art in America addresses this in her review of Shaw’s 2000 exhibition at Braunstein/Quay Gallery:

“There’s a casual immediacy about Shaw’s compositions that belies the incredibly labor intensive nature of their making. What appears to be improvised is created through careful orchestration and painstaking labor in several stages. Ironically, many of his subjects are relatively ephemeral in nature and would never, under normal circumstances, last as long as their clay simulacra.”

FSW069 copyShaw skillfully combines the stuff of daily life into whimsical still lifes that appropriate mass culture while also drawing on personal experiences and memories. Michael Schwager gets to the heart of Shaw’s body of work, writing in his essay for the Richard Shaw: Four Decades of Ceramics catalogue that “it honors modesty and humility and embodies an almost Zen-like state of mindfulness, in which the artist sees beauty, simplicity, and honesty in the familiar—and often invisible—things that surround us in our everyday lives.”

Written by Frank Lloyd

January 24, 2013 at 12:56 am

Richard DeVore

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For over thirty years, Richard DeVore (1933-2006) created, fired, and edited his FDV059_Awork, reducing his final artistic output to a limited number of vessels that best expressed his emotional states and artistic intentions. Through a limited vocabulary of vessel and bowl forms, in combination with skin and earth tones, DeVore shaped a body of work that Janet Koplos, senior writer at Art in America, described as ”recognizable as a species but amazing in their variety.”

CDV016_AThe heart of Richard DeVore’s mature career centered on his continual investigation into the expressive capabilities of the vessel. While his reliance on a few basic forms might suggest a certain conservatism, DeVore pushed those shapes to their very limits, incorporating slits, dimples and rim irregularities as well as double floors and concealed interior shelves and membranes. His works expand viewers’ conception of what a vessel is, and how it functions in the world.

The shapes of his works and their surface treatments FDV060_Awere meticulously planned, and then executed. If a piece did not meet the artist’s high standards of beauty and expression, it was destroyed. In an interview with Katherine Wunderlich of the Cranbrook Magazine in 1972, Devore explained that each piece is either “a living idea and the essence of the feeling or it is not. There are no excuses.”

Whether DeVore’s work brings to mind worn, weathered skin or the roughened surface of a crater or hillside, it is the sensation or feeling evoked that is so significant. The objects DeVore references are starting points, the essence of which he captures through reductive and carefully chosen physical qualities. Barry Schwabsky, writing for American Craft, beautifully described the experience of contemplating the artist’s work, noting that:

FDV058_A“The abyss into which Richard DeVore draws my gaze does not trap me, nor is it meant to; it elicits a critical consciousness of the seduction to which I assent, and in that consciousness is the release which sends me back to the safe distance from which I enjoy these beautifully restrained forms: no longer enigmatic and troubling but once again, for the moment, severe, balanced, harmonious.”

Our upcoming show at the gallery, Frank’s International House of Ceramics, Part Three, will include several examples of Richard DeVore’s evocative work. I hope you’ll have the chance to come and see it in person when it opens on February 9th, 2013.

Written by Frank Lloyd

January 20, 2013 at 12:35 am