Bespoke Gallery is pleased to present “MONOHANAKO”, pottery by Hanako Nakazato. A reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, July 12th, 2007 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. A talk between the artist and writer Harris Salat will commence at 7 p.m.
In her first solo exhibition in the United States, Japanese potter Hanako Nakazato will introduce eleven different table settings.
Viewers are encouraged to ‘eat’ their way through the exhibition by walking around each segment of the four-piece table mounted on the gallery’s walls. Nakazato’s plates, bowls and cups are sculptural and functional displays of her superb technical skill.
Nakazato’s table settings explore her Japanese cultural heritage while demonstrating her creative independence from the constraints of traditional Japanese pottery techniques. Nakazato’s pottery is at once pure in form, yet modern and distinctly of her own hand.
Nakazato states, “Everything revolves around food. How we eat makes us who we are. Japanese eating culture is so unique. Whereas in the States, every dish matches like a uniform, in Japan we combine different kinds of dishes on the table.”
While Nakazato trained rigorously in the Karatsu tradition, she is intent on maintaining her artistic independence. “Tradition is something to learn from, not to copy,” she says. “Karatsu is not modern. I like the structure and bones [of Karatsu pottery]. It’s gutsy. The structure [of my work] is Karatsu, but in terms of surface and shapes, I’m interested in modernism, form and function. Scandinavian designs inspire me.”
Nakazato’s pottery evidences her talent and individuality, but also the influence of her formative training as a potter in the United States and Japan. Her creations are at once forward-thinking, distinctive, and functional. They pay homage to her family’s centuries-old legacy and at the same time embody the harmonious elements of two distinctly different cultural and artistic traditions.
Hanako Nakazato, native of Karatsu, is the fourteenth generation potter in her family. At age 16 she left Japan for the United States to attend high school, and subsequently she studied at Smith College. In her early twenties, she apprenticed for two years in Vermont with the American potter Malcolm Wright, who had trained under Nakazato’s grandfather. She later returned to Japan to work in her father’s pottery workshop and studio in Karatsu. After living in Upstate New York for the past few years, last January Nakazato founded her own studio in Karatsu, where she is now producing pottery under the Monohanako moniker.
Nakazato has ten solo exhibits scheduled throughout Japan this year.