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1/5/2015 | Weekly Highlight : SUZUKI Goro

ANIMAL KINGDOM

SUZUKI Goro

     Ceramicist Suzuki Goro continues to delight and surprise us with his playful works.  Here are horses in the 16th century Momoyama Oribe style that have been painted with original contemporary patterns. Goro calls these style Los Oribe, in reference both to the traditional Japanese Oribe style in which they were created and to the city of Los Angeles that serves as his inspiration. While visiting his daughter in southern California, Goro was struck by the vital energy of Los Angeles. 

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The white horse depicts the automobile traffic that is so ubiquitous in that city. The cars are drawn in a precise and playful style, revealing Goro's great drawing skill with line. This horse also features the crow stamp that can be found on much Japanese paintings and pottery, marking it as Japanese in origin. Embodying travel, transport, and two diverse cultures, one wonders where this horse will take us to.  

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The second horse pays homage to Goro's close friend Jun Kaneko, an artist from Goro's hometown, Nagoya; who established in the United States. The polka dot is Kaneko's signature, and here Goro appropriates this motif and adds images of traditional Japanese lamps. Both of these delightful pieces incorporate elements of old Japanese culture and style into highly original and modern compositions. 

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The horse itself has an interesting history in Japan. Used for practical purposes since ancient times, horses began to be ridden in Japan in the 5th century and soon became important status symbols. To have a fast horse of good build was a display of wealth and power, and horses were prized and decorated accordingly. The respect given to horses led to their depiction in the arts, both in two and three dimensions. Horses were also used as religious offerings, a tradition that remains in the form of the Shinto votive plaque ema - literally "painted horse."(絵馬) Goro's addition to this long tradition of horse imagery is yet another great example of his playful relationship to Japanese art history.  Take these beautiful pieces home for good luck in the New Year!


White horse with cars 

H: 11.5 x W: 10.5 inches

With signed wood box

 

Black horse with polka dots

H: 9.5 x W: 10.5 inches

With signed wood box 

C.S. Jiang