Frank Lloyd’s blog

Art, architecture and the people that I know.

Posts Tagged ‘Sugimoto Sadamitsu

2012: The Year in Review

with one comment

Inspired by the Getty’s holiday card – a video narrated by James Cuno outlining the Getty’s accomplishments of 2012 – I decided to take a look at the happenings of the past year here at the gallery.

Pier Voulkos Collection_Group 1_crop copyIn January the gallery opened Peter Voulkos in L.A.: Time Capsule, a show that critic Peter Frank hailed as “…the kind of show Pacific Standard Time has been all too short of: an intimate look at the taste and thinking and working methods of an influential figure. Everything in the show, drawn from the artist’s daughter’s collection, was small in scale and dated from the later 1950s…” in the Huffington Post.

Also early in the year, Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price, clays_bookPeter Voulkos, 1956—1968 debuted at Scripps College. I contributed to this major Getty-sponsored exhibition by serving as co-curator and lead essayist for the show, which was singled out by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp on Artnet as “…something of a model for what PST has accomplished, putting into relief the important contributions made by California-based ceramicists during the ‘50s and ‘60s.” By year’s end, Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight recognized the show in his “Best of 2012” list of art museum exhibitions, writing that: “Together, ‘Common Ground: Ceramics in Southern California, 1945-1975’ … and ‘Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price and Peter Voulkos, 1956-1968’ … made for the most thorough telling of the tale of a distinctive revolution in postwar art. One laid out the rich panoply of modern ceramic conventions, the other cheerfully smashed them.”

FSU024_A copy2Drawing on Japan’s significant history with ceramics, the gallery presented Sugimoto Sadamitsu’s work in February. Sugimoto-sensei is regarded as the greatest living master of the Iga and Shigaraki styles, and his work was highlighted in a 1989 exhibition that celebrated the 400th anniversary of the death of Sen no Rikyu, the legendary early master of the Tea Ceremony. Sugimoto-sensei’s work represented Shigaraki and Iga masterpieces of the Momoyama period for use in the movie made in that year titled Rikyu, a well-received treatment of the life of this master of the Tea Ceremony. Our show was the first appearance of Sugimoto-sensei’s work in the western United States.

We also brought an unprecedented Numbers_Installation7show of paintings from the late 1980s by Craig Kauffman to the L.A. audience in April. Never exhibited together in the artist’s lifetime, these paintings showed Kauffman’s interest in unorthodox application of paint and his love of the physicality of painting, accompanied by his brilliant color sense. Kauffman considered the 1989 works, which became known as the Numbers, to be a continuation of his use of calligraphic line, and an integration of sensuous color with architectural form. It was a memorable show.

FJL053This summer we mounted Jennifer Lee’s fourth solo show in Los Angeles. Jennifer Lee’s pottery is carefully colored with oxides incorporated into the stoneware body of the vessels, so that the interiors and exteriors work together. Referring to her unique pigments, Sir David Attenborough noted: “Because she does not use glaze, her subtle colours and misty shades come not from a veil draped over the pot but from within its very substance, as in the face of a cliff.”

The quiet elegance of her pots never fails to make an impact on viewers. Indeed, Leah Ollman of the Los Angeles Times wrote in August that, “For all the calm they invoke, the pieces are charged with the motion of the swirls that encircle them…Their implicit movement suggests the shy whirl of demure dervishes.”

In the fall, the LACMA retrospective of the late Ken Price was a landmark CPE052 copyexhibit for the artist. In every way, from the innovative design of the exhibition to the superb publication, the tribute to Ken Price signaled the significance of ceramic sculpture in the development of contemporary art in Los Angeles. In a related exhibit, the gallery presented a show of small works, which was described by David Pagel of the Los Angeles Times as a “dazzling solo show at Frank Lloyd Gallery.”

Sensual_Mechanical_cover copy3November brought the release of the gallery’s major monograph on Craig Kauffman, entitled Sensual Mechanical. Written by biographer Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, the publication was praised by Christopher Knight in the Los Angeles Times as “…a gorgeously illustrated and highly informative monograph published by Frank Lloyd Gallery, which represents the artist’s estate. Hunter Drohojowska-Philp’s 2011 book ‘Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s’ sketched the city’s first flush of artistic maturity. Here she chronicles for the first time and in illuminating depth Kauffman’s life and the complete evolution of his luminous art.”

Iga and Shigaraki

leave a comment »

FSU012_A copyPart two of Frank’s International House of Ceramics, opening January 5th, will feature the work of Sugimoto Sadamitsu. Regarded in Japan as the greatest living master of the Iga and Shigaraki styles, he has received numerous honors in his home country. The gallery hosted the first comprehensive exhibition in the United States of Sugimoto-sensei’s works in February, 2012.

Sugimoto-sensei’s Tea Ceremony vessels were highlighted in a 1989 exhibition FSU007_A copy2commemorating the 400th anniversary of legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu’s passing. His work was then selected for use in the movie Rikyu, about the life of the revered tea master. This honor is significant; it was through the teachings of Sen no Rikyu that the Tea Ceremony came to be a highly studied aesthetic ritual and a way of life. Over four centuries old, the Japanese Tea Ceremony is at the basis of traditional Japanese culture, and epitomizes its highest cultural values.

FSU011_A copyBoth the Shigaraki and Iga traditions are contingent on long firings at extremely high temperatures. Because no glazes are applied to the pieces, the surface variations are the result of wood ash settling on the ceramics in the hot kiln. The Shigaraki works we are presenting are characterized by their ashy surfaces, while the works in the Iga tradition feature glassy green drips – a hallmark of their outstanding quality. Both styles have a rugged presence, and the finished works illustrate the unpredictable nature of their processes.

Written by Frank Lloyd

December 15, 2012 at 1:31 am


with one comment

The sight of a big yellow school bus reminds me of field trips.  From elementary school forward, growing up in South Pasadena, I went to many museums and galleries. These ranged from the Southwest Museum in nearby Highland Park to the old Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science and Art.

Now I find myself on the other end of the story. Here at the gallery, we often host school groups, college students, and adult education classes. Some students are just kids, some are middle aged, and we’ve often hosted a van from a retirement home. We also provide (free of charge) lectures, artists’ talks, and exhibit walk-throughs. Many museum groups from out of town come to see our shows. We even coordinate tours for those groups.

Is this all about commerce? No, it’s a public service: free arts education.

Today we welcomed a class on “The Fine Art of Art Collecting” taught by Edward Goldman, a host of the show Art Talk, on KCRW. His dozen students got to spend quite some time looking closely at our show of new work by Jennifer Lee, while learning about her background and artistic process.

Another example of the educational nature of the gallery is the short lecture given by Robert Singer in February, at the opening reception for Sugimoto Sadamitsu’s exhibition. Mr. Singer is a well-known expert in Japanese ceramics, and his knowledge was extremely helpful in explaining the subtleties of the shigaraki and iga styles in which Sugimoto-sensei works.

Galleries provide a much-needed educational resource, and many teachers and professors use the gallery as a teaching venue. We welcome the visits from USC, UCLA, Loyola, Santa Monica City College, Crossroads, and dozens of other schools. Our artists are also on the faculties of several major universities, including UCLA and Cal Berkeley.

Here at the gallery, we really believe in the value of an education that includes the fine arts. I’m happy that, through the gallery, I’m able to make this kind of experience and knowledge accessible to the general public.

Written by Frank Lloyd

July 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm

The Presentation Room

with one comment

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.