At first glance, Ken Nakashima's exquisite pottery does not appear to fit the mold
of what one has come to expect at a Concrete Walls Gallery exhibition. But we have
chosen Nakashima's work as the gallery's first mid-career artist retrospective,
precisely because it fits our desire to exhibit visually and intellectually rigorous
works that expands and/or refines a genre.
Nakashima's ceramics acknowledges traditional Japanese pottery, while he
simultaneously explores his own road. His forms are perfectly matched to his
stunning and often idiosyncratic glazes. His glazes are created by his own odd mix
of chemistry mixed with a unique manipulation of architecture within the kiln. His
obsessive, almost fanatical experimentation with glazes and forms creates sometimes
subtle, but always brilliant differences from similar glazes and shapes.
Nakashima's many years as a teacher and co-owner of the renowned Potter's Studio in
Los Angeles, has left his imprint on a legion of ceramicists. In recent years,
Ken's physical limitations due to a stroke, have allowed him to begin re-imagining
his work process in new ways. The Concrete Walls Gallery is thrilled to unveil some
of his most recent pieces.
The list of respected artists who work in clay is a short one. The list of
well-known artists who have made careers out of ceramics is even shorter: in the
United States, Peter Voulkos and Ken Price come immediately to mind. Voulkos and
Price are part of the post-modern tradition. Nakashima is more closely related to
an older tradition, but his work is decidedly contemporary because it respectfully
adapts technique to an ancient art and the present aesthetic. Like Frank Gehry or
Richard Serra's architectonic work, it is decidedly dramatic yet alluringly aloof,
but in all cases undeniably consecrated by beauty.