Whereas I closely follow the work of established ceramics artists here in Japan, it is especially exciting to meet a young, talented person who is in the process of becoming recognized. I met highly talented ceramic artist, Ogawa Nobuyuki, a few years ago, at the art gallery at Takashimaya in Kyoto. Japanese department store art galleries are prestigious venues for artist solo shows. While the inside gallery is used for named artists, Ogawa-san’s stunning work was displayed in the outer gallery that is set aside for solo shows of young, up-and-coming artists. During that visit, my friends bought several pieces and we asked him if we could visit his studio.
On a visit later that year to Ogawa-san’s studio, I got to see the amazing breadth of his work. Though he comes from a multi-generational family of potters working in traditional Kyoto-style porcelain, Ogawa-san’s work is both delicate and bold and very original. His bowls sit on tiny bases and seem to float above the table. His meticulous, repeated firings produce multi-surfaced pieces such as rich celadon with a black, rough-textured underside, or eggshell white porcelain striped with highly innovative bands of beaded, silver or gold contrasting with a rough textured underside with a raised, geometric pattern of bumps.
His cutting edge, paper thin, asymmetrical tea bowls and sake flasks are particularly exciting. It is amazing how well his highly refined works blend so beautifully when placed together with rough-hewn stoneware on our dinner table.
- Allan West: Nihonga Artist
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