「Dear Friend」

Dan McCarthy & Takuro Kuwata
5/March/2022 - 9/April/2022

KOSAKU KANECHIKA is proud to present “Dear Friend”, a duo exhibition by Dan McCarthy and Takuro Kuwata from March 5 to April 9, 2022.

In the global art scene, contemporary ceramic art is said to have reached its peak around 2014, a time when many artists began to incorporate ceramics in their practice and long-time ceramic artists were rediscovered. This trend has remained vibrant since 2014, with ceramic art becoming established as a field of its own in contemporary sculpture.

Since the beginning of this trend, the art of Dan McCarthy and Takuro Kuwata has continually garnered attention, attaining iconic status. The vivid colors and playful forms – as seen in McCarthy’s Face Pots and Kuwata’s bold artistic expression achieved with glaze in his tea bowls made using the kairagi ceramic technique – fascinate viewers. On closer examination, one notices the technical refinement underpinning the appeal of their art – the application of ceramic techniques such as experimentation with glazing, the method of firing, and other methods such as kintsugi and ishihaze. However, what these two artists share in common is not so much their pursuit of technical mastery per se as how they both bring out the characteristics of the material while showing their respect for it, but also view it objectively from the perspective of different cultures and generations, and in so doing, expand the context of ceramic material and pioneer a new realm of ceramic art. The art of McCarthy and Kuwata, in which the artists both revere and enjoy the inherently primitive process of creating ceramics, which entails not knowing the end result until the work is fired in the furnace, provides many insights for achieving freedom.

McCarthy, who will be presenting his works in Japan for the first time, provided the following statement about the exhibition.

Intuition is where I begin
Describing a vessel as a container of something
Vessels take shapes for the things they might contain

the making is created from an inquiry
starting with what a container is and what it might contain
made by hand it arises without my thought

an inquiry as to what’s possible
wet clay dries, gets coated in glass, stone like
the freedom in the making describes possibilities

the making calls only for actions
The artwork is finished when it becomes whole and complete
the vessel becomes a shared experience

containing something for someone
A ceramic object that could inspire or point the future
An object whose making would create freedom for myself and others.

Dan McCarthy
Jan. 18, 2022

Dan McCarthy
Lidded Fruit Sticker Facepot, Pepito
2018
Ceramic clay, glaze, ceramic decals, gold lustre, silver lustre
h.76.2 x w.38.0 x d.40.5 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Sour Licorice
2020
Ceramic clay, glaze, gold lustre
h.71.0 x w.39.5 x d.41.0 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Vanilla Loaf
2021
Ceramic clay, glaze, gold lustre, silver lustre
h.71.0 x w.39.7 x d.47.0 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Safflower Sunflower
2016
Ceramic clay, glaze, enamel paint, gold lustre, silver lustre
h.56.0 x w.35.5 x d.31.0 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Strawberry Ice
2018
Ceramic clay, glaze, gold lustre, silver lustre
h.50.8 x w.33.0 x d.35.5 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Butternose
2016
Ceramic clay, glaze, gold lustre, silver lustre
h.53.3 x w.35.0 x d.30.5 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Lemon Head
2016
Ceramic clay, glaze, silver lustre
h.45.7 x w.37.8 x d.38.7 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Aerosmythe
2016
Acrylic, marbleized gesso on canvas
h.57.0 x w.83.8 x d.4.0 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Tea bowl
2021
Porcelain, glaze, steel, pigment
h.51.5 x w.62.0 x d.57.5 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, glaze, pigment, platinum, steel
h.46.5 x w.49.0 x d.46.0 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, glaze, pigment, gold
h.44.5 x w.40.0 x d.40.5 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, glaze, pigment, steel
h.37.0 x w.43.0 x d.43.0 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, glaze, pigment
h.34.5 x w.44.5 x d.44.5 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, glaze, pigment
h.54.0 x w.31.5 x d.30.5 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, glaze, pigment, steel
h.56.0 x w.38.0 x d.38.0 cm
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The idea for this duo exhibition came from Kuwata, who felt that, while McCarthy’s art shared similarities with his own, the approach McCarthy took was completely different. One can imagine how these two artists, who create art through dialogue between the material and environment, have come to understand each other’s work. Bringing the works of both artists physically together at this exhibition allows the artists’ creations to begin a more intimate dialogue – in a language that can perhaps communicate more subtly than words allow. Viewers will witness, and at times mediate, the encounter. Kuwata expects this exhibition to be an important starting point for exploring the direction in which he takes his own work. This show is also likely to prove significant for future trends in contemporary ceramic art.

Please join us for “Dear Friend,” which presents 15 works, including paintings, by McCarthy and 10 works by Kuwata. The exhibition space was designed by Tokyo-based architect Kentaro Ishida.

Dan McCarthy
Blue Check
2014
Ceramic clay, glaze, glaze pencil, gold lustre
h.50.0 x w.33.0 x d.38.0 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Gold Bead
2021
Ceramic clay, glaze, gold leaf, silver leaf
h.45.7 x w.30.0 x d.30.5 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Silver Mask
2015-2020
Ceramic clay, glaze, gold lustre
h.40.6 x w.28.0 x d.30.5 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Beach Fire
2021
Ceramic clay, glaze, silver lustre
h.45.7 x w.28.0 x d.33.0 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Chiffon
2021
Ceramic clay, glaze
h.50.8 x w.28.0 x d.31.0 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Soap
2021
Ceramic clay, glaze
h.45.7 x w.29.5 x d.30.5 cm
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Dan McCarthy
The PCH
2016
Acrylic, marbleized gesso on canvas
h.33.0 x w.67.3 x d.3.8 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2021
Porcelain, glaze, pigment, platinum leaf
h.42.5 x w.39.0 x d.40.0 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2021
Porcelain, stone, glaze, pigment, platinum leaf
h.47.5 x w.36.5 x d.37.0 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, stone, glaze, pigment, gold leaf, platinum leaf
h.48.0 x w.43.5 x d.57.0 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, stone, glaze, pigment, gold, platinum, gold leaf, platinum leaf
h.54.5 x w.43.0 x d.30.0 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, glaze, pigment, gold, platinum leaf
h.41.0 x w.36.0 x d.37.0 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, stone, glaze, pigment, gold, platinum, gold leaf, platinum leaf
h.41.0 x w.37.0 x d.37.0 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2022
Porcelain, glaze, pigment, steel, gold, platinum
h.35.0 x w.31.5 x d.31.5 cm
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Takuro Kuwata
Untitled
2021
Porcelain, stone, glaze, pigment, gold
h.78.0 x w.61.0 x d.62.5 cm
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Dan McCarthy
Dan McCarthy was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1962. He studied painting and ceramics at the San Francisco Art Institute where he received his BFA in 1984, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include “BirdPots” (Baldwin Gallery, Colorado, 2022), “Rainbow paintings & ceramics” (Rodolphe Janssen, Belgium, 2021), and “7 Bangers” (Anton Kern Gallery, New York, 2019). He has also exhibited works in group exhibitions, including “Show 1” (Airfield Gallery, New York, 2021), “Pacific Coast Ceramics” (Galeria Mascota, Colorado, 2020), and “36 Paintings” (Harper’s Books, New York, 2020). McCarthy’s works are held in many international public collections, including ICA Miami, the Aïshti Foundation, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Photo by Paula Greif

Takuro Kuwata
Takuro Kuwata was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1981. He graduated from Kyoto Saga University of Arts in 2001, and began studying under ceramic artist Susumu Zaima in 2002. He graduated from the Tajimi City Pottery Design and Technical Center in 2007, and is currently based in Tajimi City in Gifu, Japan. Major solo exhibitions include “ZUNGURIMUKKURI” (Salon 94, New York, 2021), “today” (Pierre Marie Giraud, Brussels, 2019), and “From Tea Bowl” (Alison Jacques Gallery, London, 2016). Major group exhibitions include “Art Crafting Towards the Future” (21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, 2012), “Japanese Kōgei | Future Forward” (Museum of Arts and Design, New York, 2015), and “Contemporary Japanese Crafts” (touring exhibition in Tokyo, Miyazaki, Kyoto, and Nagoya, 2020-22). Kuwata was a finalist for the LOEWE Craft Prize in 2018, in which he also received a special mention by the jury. His works are held in various international public collections, including the Rubell Family Collection, the Palm Springs Museum, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Photo by Yasushi Ichikawa