Suzuki goro 鈴木五郎 (1941- )
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For over 50 years, artist Suzuki Goro has honed his extraordinary craftsmanship and channeled his creative free spirit into on engaging body of work that delightfully joins tradition and innovation. Even from the young age of 16, Goro showed an unusual talent for the ceramic arts. As he says, "I do thing other people don't do."
He continues to push his own limits in the pursuit of his art, and as he combines his skills in throwing and building with a lifetime’s knowledge of material, you can truly say that he was born in clay and plays in clay.
Goro draws and paints what he sees around him. Crows, plants, cars, dogs, and many other things that draw his interest all come alive under his brush to dance across the surfaces of his pieces. His playful sensibilities lead him to mix clays and styles, and in his hands Oribe, Shino, Seto and Kiseto styles fuse to become Goribe. This stunning and revolutionary series of works brings together disparate traditional styles into single, breathtaking ceramic pieces. The different styles sing harmoniously together under Goro’s direction, and his Goribe works are among the most original pieces in contemporary ceramics.
In order to combine so many different styles, Goribe pieces must go through two very careful firings: one reduction flame and one oxidation flame. Since the different glazes need different kinds of heat to succeed, Goro uses some glazes before the first firing and then others before the second. This requires an extraordinary knowledge of both the glazing and the firing process, and his great success demonstrates a confident mastery of the technique. The result is a beautiful tapestry of distinct and recognizable styles of the Japanese ceramic tradition. The ki-seto style, with its incised and painted grasses, flowers, and vegetables on a pale stone-colored ground; the abstract organic and geometric patterns of the oribe style, as well as its fields of blue and green glaze; and the Shino style, a white ground with painted black crows, mountains, and trees; and the deep matte black of the seto style, as rich and supple as old leather and accented by veins of gold—all find their way into the work. The different styles come together like a patchwork quilt, irrespective of the boundaries of form.
Goro’s tall yobitsuki box glorifies the union of traditional ceramic styles just as the holy Nikko temple brings together a collection of architectural styles. Each side of his unique rectangular Oribe box shows off an aspect of rural life: birds chirping, a willow weeping, dogs barking, and a farmer working—in his hands, the box magically turns into a water jar. Goro breathes life into his work by engaging with his own travels and experiences as well as with the wider art world. He shows you what he finds on the streets of Los Angeles, where his daughter lives, or the landscape of Omaha, where he fires with his best friend Jun Kaneko,or scenes from country life in Japan. You also see echoes of Keith Haring, Tom Wesselmann, and others. Goro is having fun with clay, and he passes every bit of fun to you as the viewer. He is nicer than the guy he tries to be, and his works are more delicate and refined than you might guess at first glance. Pick up his sake cup, drink from his drinking cup, and let the fun begin!
Selected Public Collections:
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Denver Art Museum, CO
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Aichi Prefectural Ceramic Museum, Seto, Aichi, Japan
Seto City Museum, Aichi, Japan
Meito Art Museum, Aichi, Japan
Menard Art Museum, Aichi, Japan
1941 Born in Toyoda-city, Aichi Prefecture
1961 Award in Nitten Exhibition Governor’s award in Asahi Ceramic Competition
1962 Grand award in Asahi Ceramic Competition
1963 Participated in Asian Ceramic Exhibition
1964 Award in the 50th Anniversary Koku-kai Exhibition
1966 Grand award in Asahi Ceramic Competition
1969-70 Traveled the U.S.
Solo exhibition, Q Gallery, Los Angeles
1971 Award in the 3rd China-Japan International Ceramic Exhibition
1975 Award in the Asahi Ceramic Exhibition
Invited to the Rhode Island Art School
1977 Solo Exhibition, Seibu Department Store Gallery, Ikebukuro
1978 Solo exhibition, Maruei Department Store Gallery, Nagoya
Solo Exhibition, Inui Gallery, Tokyo
1981 Solo Exhibition, Seibu Department Store Gallery, Ikebukuro
1982 Invited to the Cranbrook University
Solo Exhibition – Dinner wares, Daiichi Gallery, Nagoya
1987 Solo Exhibition - Coffee Cups, Daiichi Gallery, Nagoya
1988 Solo Exhibition – Sake Objects, Daiichi Gallery, Nagoya
1989 Solo Exhibition – Jars, Daiichi Gallery, Nagoya
Solo Exhibition, Maruei Department Store, Nagoya
1990 Solo Exhibition – Ceramic Boxes, Daiichi Gallery, Nagoya
Solo Exhibition, Akamatsu Gallery, Tokyo
1991 Solo Exhibition – Cigarette Boxes, Daiichi Gallery, Nagoya
Solo Exhibition, Akamatsu Gallery, Tokyo
1992 Solo Exhibition – Tea Caddies, Daiichi Gallery, Nagoya
Solo Exhibitions, Takashimaya Department Store Galleries, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, & Yokohama
1993 Solo Exhibition – Ceramic Boxes, Maruei Department Store Gallery, Nagoya
Solo Exhibition – Big Plates, Gallery Kenbishi, Kariya
Solo Exhibition – Coffee Cups, Gallery Kenbishi, Kariya
1995 Solo Exhibition – Tea Bowls, Fujino-ya, Sano
Solo Exhibition – Cups, Inui Gallery, Ashigara
Solo Exhibition – Big Jars, Gallery Kenbishi, Kariya
1996 Solo Exhibition – Cups, Isetan Department Store Gallery, Shinjuku Tokyo
Solo Exhibition – Sake Bottles & Cups, Sun Gallery Sue, Nagoya
1997 Solo Exhibition – Tea Pots, Fujino-ya, Sano
Solo Exhibition – “The World of Goro Suzuki”, Sun Gallery Sue, Nagoya
Solo Exhibition – Vessels for Food, Gallery Goro, Shinjuku Tokyo
1998 Solo Exhibition, Frank Lloyd Gallery, U.S.
Solo Exhibition – “55 Tea Bowls”, Maruei Department Store, Nagoya
Exhibition - “Ceramic Hunt ‘98” sponsored by NHK
Solo Exhibition, Gonza Shogetsu-do Gallery, Tokyo
1999 Solo Exhibition – “Ceramic Tea Utensils” Sun Gallery Sue, Nagoya
Solo Exhibition, Frank Lloyd Gallery, U.S.
Solo Exhibition – Cups, Sun Gallery Sue, Nagoya
2000 Solo Exhibition – “Goro’s Universe” sponsored by Nikkei Newspaper
“2000 Goro Suzuki’s Tea Bowls”, Maruei Department Store, Nagoya
Solo Exhibition, Toyota-city Noh Play Theater, Toyota-city
Solo Exhibition – “50 Plates with Horse eye design” Gallery Goro, Tokyo
2001 Solo Exhibition – “Goro Suzuki’s World”, Sun Gallery Sue, Nagoya
Solo Exhibition – “2001 Goro’s Chairs”, Maruei Department Store, Nagoya
Invited to participate in the World Ceramic Expo 2001, Korea
2002 2001 Japan Ceramic Association Award
Japan Ceramic Association Award Exhibition, Wako Hall, Tokyo
2004 Three International Artists, International Art Village, Tokyo
2005 Solo Exhibition The World of Tea, International Art Village, Tokyo
2006 Solo Exhibition Raku Teabowl, Gallery Sumie, Nagoya
2007 Solo Exhibition Shino Flourishing, Ginza Seigetsudo, Tokyo
2008 Solo Exhibition Goro Suzuki Ceramics, International Art Village
Solo Exhibition Marriage of Shino and Stone, Maruei Department Store, Nagoya.
2009 Solo Exhibition A Tale of Four Cities, Takashimaya Department Store
2013 Horse, Gallery KENBISHI, Nagoya.
2014 Solo Exhibition SUZUKI Goro: Goribe, Takashimaya Department Store
2015 A retrospective show “Live in Earth, Play in Earth” at Menard Art Museum