Ken Nakashima: A Retrospective 1982-2006

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Ken Nakashima: A Retrospective 1982-2006

5484 Wilshire Blvd. (rear)
Los Angeles, CA 90036
September 15th, 2007 - November 9th, 2007
Opening: November 3rd, 2007 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

M-F 7am-6pm, Sat 8am-3pm

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.