Magazine article Sculpture

San Francisco

Magazine article Sculpture

San Francisco

Article excerpt

Toshiaki Noda

Patricia Sweetow Gallery

Toshiaki Noda's clay sculptures present themselves as decorative yet functional works melded back into, or partially emerged from, their organic state. Smashed cans and vessels, egg cartons, and flattened stubs ooze and bubble, as they fold and collapse into themselves. The sculptures traverse a range of glazes and colors, some matte, others glossy. The impression is both familiar (domestic objects in pleasing hues) and disconcerting (like the remnants of a home pulled from the ashes of a fire). Several of the works incarnate their earthen source, shaped like confused rocks or podgy tree stumps, stilled in their effort to achieve form. It is as if Noda is attempting to capture time, solidified in the act of transformative heat, from past to present and back again.

Born in Arita, Japan, which has been distinguished for its porcelain ware since the 1600s, Noda creates in a manner that at first seems antithetical to a tradition of practical beauty. His disfigured forms break from this past then appear to raze its very foundation. This uncomfortable fissure-a tapping into then distorting of the familiar-makes his work visceral and appealing. The the referential shapes and sheens are all there, but somehow they don't fit together; though closer consideration reveals more of an allegiance with the past than an abandonment.

A 2008 graduate of CSU, Long Beach with an emphasis on printmaking, Noda turned to ceramics in the hope of energizing his work with greater spontaneity and physicality. …

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