Kentaro Kawabata was born in 1976 in Saitama and currently lives and works in Gifu. After graduating from the Tajimi City Pottery Design and Technical Center in 2000, Kawabata began winning awards for his work, including the Kamoda Shoji Award at the Mashiko Pottery Exhibition (2004) and the Paramita Museum Ceramic Award (2007). His work has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions at highly-reputed ceramic institutions, including “The Power of Decoration: A Viewpoint on Contemporary Kogei (Studio Crafts)” at the National Museum of Modern Art’s Crafts Gallery (2009), “Phenomenon of Contemporary Ceramic” at the Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum (2014), and exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu (2004, 2010).
Often inspired by nature’s self-generation and renewal, the forms of Kentaro Kawabata’s works, such as the meandering rims created through the busy workings of the thumb and index finger, encompass a sense of vitality –instilling the pieces with a sense of organic vitality. Kawabata likes to experiment and observe the outcome of combining various materials with glaze after firing the ceramics. Blending with glass to create a watercolor-like clarity, and applying silver then onsen (Japanese hot spring) to make volcanic-like objects; Kawabata’s ceramics give the impression of breathing agglomerated landscapes.
A bowl formed works titled “Undulating” are named for their extremely fine and meandering rims, formed by a busy thumb and index finger rubbing action which Kawabata did even as a child, without clay. These work achieve their washes of color through the melting of colored glass and gravity, glazes, glints of platinum painted in the body of the bowl and gilding the works’ delicate rim.
“Soos” derive their name from the Japanese pronunciation of the English word source, as well as from the distress signal S.O.S. Inspired by nature’s self-regeneration and renewal, Kawabata utilizes the scrap porcelain from other projects to assemble vessel and sculptural forms. Glazed with silver, the artist takes these works to the onsen (Japanese hot spring) and dips them multiple times into the highly-sulphurized water, creating unique colorful patination and striations in the work’s very matte surface. The artist finishes certain details in platinum.