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Posts Tagged ‘Goro Suzuki

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

Seven Teabowls by Goro Suzuki

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The gallery’s next show, Frank’s International House of Ceramics will include seven tea bowls and two tea containers by Japanese artist Goro Suzuki. These pieces have a special history because they were brought to us by Suzuki-san in 2010 for a tea ceremony that we held at a private home in Malibu.

Suzuki-san had suggested the special event, and he made sure that everything was properly arranged. This included flying in Tea Master Souyu and her six assistants from Japan, and providing all the ceramic wares used in the ceremony from his own body of work. These nine works are only a portion of the beautiful array of traditional and non-traditional tea bowls that everyone drank from. They have never been exhibited before at the gallery, as they were brought to us specifically for the tea ceremony.

The tea bowls and containers that we’ll be exhibiting demonstrate a range of styles including Yobitsugi, Kiseto, Kuro, Shino, and Oribe. There are also examples of styles invented by Suzuki-san himself! Frank’s International House of Ceramics opens November 17th, with a reception at 5:00 pm.

Written by Frank Lloyd

November 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm

The Presentation Room

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At the gallery, we hold an average of ten exhibitions a year, presenting the work of West Coast and international artists. These shows are held in the three main rooms of the gallery, and are a mix of solo and group exhibitions that may explore certain themes, materials, or ideas.

However, a part of the gallery that is sometimes overlooked by visitors is the presentation room. Here, we feature a variety of artworks that are not part of the major exhibits. These pieces are diverse in style, size, and material, and give a fuller picture of the artists represented here. They are also frequently rotated to showcase a greater number of artists and keep visitors coming back to see what’s new.

Right now, we have on display drawings and a sculpture by Larry Bell as well as ceramics and sculptures by Adrian Saxe, Robert Graham, Sugimoto Sadamitsu, Svend Bayer, Richard DeVore, Satoru Hoshino, Georges Jeanclos and Goro Suzuki.

The presentation room also has a small viewing area, where visitors are invited to watch one of the documentaries we have, including The Cool School and Revolutions of the Wheel: The Emergence of American Clay Art. We have also begun producing video interviews with some of our artists, and these will be available for viewing.

I like to use this space to continue to raise awareness for the artists, even when they are not the subject of an exhibition at the gallery. It’s fun to improvise here, switching out works and watching how they affect visitors and the other pieces of art they are displayed with. I sometimes find relationships between works that might not have occurred to me had I not combined such a disparate collection of pieces.

International Relations

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Today I talked by phone to a consultant.  One of the topics was the variety of exhibitions at the gallery. As I look back on the shows, I can see differences in scale and medium, as well as the more obvious variety of individual artists. But one big thing stands out: it is the international scope of the ceramics exhibitions.  Over the past 15 years, I’ve brought ceramics to Los Angeles from several countries: Georges Jeanclos from France, Jennifer Lee from England (though she is truly Scottish), Wouter Dam from Holland, Gustavo Pérez from Mexico and Goro Suzuki from Japan.

Last Friday, two of those artists—Gustavo Pérez and Goro Suzuki—met for the first time.  Just before the opening, I introduced Suzuki to Pérez, and they had a brief conversation. Gustavo Pérez was extremely pleased to meet Suzuki, an artist that he greatly admires.  I stood back and looked at the two of them, and realized how proud I was to have both of them represented at the gallery.

Someday I’ll be able to count a few accomplishments of the many years of the gallery.  I expect that international exhibits will be high on the list.  Showing and placing the work of major talents from other countries has been an education for me, and an opportunity to expand my worldview.   If there are intangible benefits from running an art gallery, this has got to be one of the best.

Written by Frank Lloyd

March 24, 2011 at 1:13 am

The Tea Ceremony

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Malibu might seem like a strange place for a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.  But last Sunday, Goro Suzuki and I hosted almost 60 guests for green tea overlooking the blue Pacific—about five miles north of the famed California beach town.  With an idyllic setting on a grassy knoll, and the help of a true Tea Master, we offered a way to experience a true Japanese aesthetic ritual. It was an amazing day, and I learned a lot.

The idea for the special event came from the artist, Suzuki, and he made sure that all details were taken care of properly.  Tea Master Souyu and her six assistants were all flown to Los Angeles from Japan.  All of the ceramic wares used in the ceremony, from the cold water jar (mizusashi) to the tea bowls (chawan), were made by Suzuki.  All of the utensils, such as the bamboo whisk (chasen) and the tea scoops (chashaku) were selected by the Tea Master, and brought directly from Japan.  Even a special wood ash, (used to form a spot for the charcoal in the brazier), was selected and imported by Tea Master Souyu.

In the days before the ceremony, we witnessed some of the preparations, as the special platform was set up and the objects arranged at the gallery. Of course, if our tea had been served in a traditional Japanese tea house, we wouldn’t have seen the many behind-the-scenes tasks. But it was amazing to watch the time and care that went into preparation. Every small detail was educational for me, since I am a beginner.

Sunday arrived with perfect weather. The day was clear, warm and slightly breezy.  On top of the Malibu knoll, surrounded by the coastal mountains, we basked in the open light of Southern California. Before the ceremony began, Suzuki painted two folding fans with Kanji characters, and placed the fans in front of platforms, facing the guests. The Tea Master and her six assistants silently performed their tasks. Washing and wiping the bowl and the whisk, they carefully unfolded and folded the linen cloths (chakin). Each guest was invited to be seated, and to take some of the sweets from the serving dishes. The thick, strong green tea was served in an extraordinary array of traditional and non-traditional bowls. Every guest was served by the assistants dressed in kimonos—with a very courteous bow.

Our day was completed with a special bento box lunch prepared by Chef Hiro Nishimura. Guests gathered around tables on the south lawn, overlooking the coastline.

Written by Frank Lloyd

September 16, 2010 at 6:05 pm