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Fruit Basket Made with Bamboo Roots, 2013,13.5 x 29 x 26 inches

OVER A DECADE AGO, my young son, Eric, was taught what looked to me like card tricks by Nagakura Kenichi and his wife, Kayo, at a dinner party honoring the artist. It was a warm, dark evening and as the party wound down we all watched by candle light as the Nagakuras and Eric alternately threw cards down on the ground with a snapping motion, laughing and roaring at each outcome. The cards were from Japan and Nagakura told me this was a game played by many young children there. The Nagakuras had adopted my son for the evening. As Eric and I were walking to our car that evening I said “Boy, do the Nagakuras like hanging out with you!” He replied, “What would you expect, they said I am practically half Japanese!” The Nagakuras had built a bridge, connecting two continents, two languages, and two generations, and my son had run across it. Nagakura’s artwork does this as well. His sculptures bridge the fine arts, a venerated craft tradition, the creative power of nature, and the introspection of the human mind. They do this in a way that makes many viewers feel a direct personal connection with his work. The 2013 exhibition is Nagakura’s eighth solo show at TAI Gallery since 1999. Over this period I can see many constants, but also a strong inner drive to continually explore new ideas. Inspiration taken from nature is still very present in this body of artwork. Fruit Basket Made with Bamboo Roots shows its handles arrayed like branches fallen to the floor of a remote and wild forest. Repetition is made of flexed and folded planes whose overlaps create rich tonal effects like the shifting light of dense foliage. Other works show Nagakura’s deepening mastery of how a sculpture both claims and describes the space it occupies. Shield is a minimal, bronze-like slab that takes a surprising and witty “step” toward the viewer. Position exhibits simultaneous multiple directionality, pointing forward, rearward, and upward while turning outward on one foot. These are the subtle, sophisticated preoccupations of Italian Mannerist table - top bronzes.Vista is a mineral - like wall - mounted sculpture with a provocative ledge that juts out toward the

Palm, 2013, 29 x 8.5 x 6 inches


viewer. Its shape and scale is that of a Baroque wall sconce meant to support and highlight a sculpture. But this is the sculpture, and while it may suggest to the viewer that something could be placed on it, at the same time its very nature defies this possibility. Thus we realize it is space itself that the ledge supports and highlights. Most striking perhaps is Circular Motion. The sense of dynamic movement, and the almost electrical energy contained in the braided bamboo rope, makes this a work of Expressionism first and foremost. I am reminded of the intensity of El Greco’s compositions with their whirling and swimming movements. These new artworks show Nagakura continuing on his path, striking off from many points of inspiration and arriving at new destinations. Again, he is at work building bridges. n

Steven Halvorsen, June 2013

Position, 2013,16 x 12 x 6.75 inches




Mountain’s Hue, 2013,12.5 x 14.75 x 8.25 inches



ART IST STAT E MEN T Upon completing one particular artwork, a narrow path appeared leading me to a new realm of creation. I felt differently while traveling this path — the feelings were new yet nostalgic. There was a deep connection from them through a small window to the core of my being. I asked myself if the next thing I should do is to materialize these emotions into something tangible for the world to see. I now think that I have no choice but to do so because my soul wants to see it. n

Nagakura Kenichi, June 2013

Shield, 2013,14 x 13 x 7 inches


Complimenting Forms, 2013 29 x 9.5 x 6.75 inches (left) Circular Motion, 2013 23 x 12 x 7.5 inches (right)





Twist, 2013,10.5 x 24.5 x 11 inches

Excitement, 2013,16.5 x 26 x 15 inches (two views)




Small 2013, 15.5xx25 25xx10 10inches inches Small Boat Boat, 2013,15.5

Cloud Temple, 2013, 10 x 14 x 12.5 inches (above) Skyward Glance, 2013,16 x 11 x 11.5 inches (right)


Shining Mountains, 2013, 30 x 27 x 10 inches (above) Sky Glimpsed from the Valley Floor, 2012, 22 x 11 x 8.5 inches (right)



Vista, 2013,14 x 29.5 x10 inches

Frozen Waterfall, 2013 22.5 x 6 x 8.5 inches (left) Scepter, 2013 54 x 10.5 x 9 inches (right)




Repetition, 2013,12 x 23 x 10.5 inches


Born in Shizuoka City, Japan


Studied under Grandfather


Solo Exhibition: Gallery Takei, Numazu


Solo Exhibition: Shin - Gifu Department Store


Solo Exhibitions: Gallery Takei, Numazu and Shizuoka Gas Salon


Solo Exhibitions: Sapoa People, Tokyo and MOA Gallery, Nagoya


Solo Exhibition: Umeda Hankyu Department Store, Osaka Solo Exhibition: Gallery Kouki, Paris, France


Solo Exhibition: La Richipel Surle, Bourgogne, France


Solo Exhibition: Gallery Space Ten, Tokyo

Solo Exhibitions: Gallery Kukan, Shizuoka and Shoumeido Hall, Tokyo Group Exhibitions: Gallery Yummy, Hamamatsu and Studio Com, Kyoto 1993

Solo Exhibitions: Shoumeido Hall, Gallery F,


Solo Exhibitions: Studio Com, Kyoto, Gallery Kukan, Shizuoka

Gifu Gallery Space Ten and Hokushin Gallery, Tokyo and Matsuya Department Store, Tokyo 1995

Solo Exhibitions: Akasaka Yu Gallery, Tokyo, Fujii, Numazu and Shin - Gifu Department Store


Solo Exhibitions: Isetan, Shizuoka and Kanazawa Department Stores Two - Person Exhibition: Ishigami - no - Oka Open Air Museum, Iwate


Solo Exhibitions: Gallery Kasumi and Axis Sapoa People, Tokyo Exhibition, German Culture Center, Tokyo


Solo Exhibitions: Kura Gallery, Gifu and Axis Sapoa People, Tokyo


Solo Exhibition: TAI Gallery, Santa Fe


“Bamboo Masterworks,” Asia Society, New York City

Group Exhibition: Kodaira Shomei Hall, Tokyo


Winner of Cotsen Bamboo Prize 2000 “Bamboo Masterworks,” Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Solo Exhibition: TAI Gallery, Santa Fe “Bamboo Masterworks,” Honolulu Academy of Art, Hawaii “Bamboo Fantasies,” TAI Gallery, Santa Fe


“The Next Generation,” University of Arkansas, Little Rock Group Exhibition: Tigerman Himmel Gallery, Chicago


“Three Views of Bamboo: Fujinuma, Nagakura, Shono,” Kansas City Jewish Museum, Overland Park, Kansas


Group Exhibition: Hand Workshop Art Center, Richmond, Virginia


Solo Exhibition: TAI Gallery, Santa Fe Exhibited at the Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, New York


“Power & Delicacy,” TAI Gallery, Santa Fe “Hin: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Art,” Grinnell College, Iowa “Hin: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Art,” Chicago Cultural Center Group Exhibition: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Collaboration with Daniel Ost, Nocturne, Brussels, Belgium


Solo Exhibition: TAI Gallery, Santa Fe “Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection,” Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe “Listening to Bamboo: Japanese Baskets from the Collection of Rita Lou and Robert Harris,” Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


“New Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Masters,” The Japan Society, New York City Solo Exhibition: Susan Sheehan Gallery, New York City

2009 “New Bamboo,” Clark Center for Japanese Art, Hanford, California Solo Exhibition: TAI Gallery, Santa Fe 2010

“Intertwined Bamboo and Stem,” Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Los Angeles “Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection,” Museum of Art and Design, New York City


Solo Exhibition: TAI Gallery, Santa Fe


Solo Exhibition: “Nagakura Kenichi: Fluid Duality,” Denver Botanic Gardens


“Birds in the Art of Japan,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum Collections: Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture, Hanford, California Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, North Carolina Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

Back Cover: Rhythm, 2013, 32 x 7x 5 inches

TA I G A L L E R Y 1601 B Paseo de Peralta Santa Fe, NM 87501 505.984.1387

Nagakura catalog 2013  

Nagakura Kenichi is presenting a new and beautiful body of work at TAI Gallery. His expansive vision brings vitality to his sculptures. He...

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