To encounter Takayoshi Narita’s work is to find oneself questioning how poetry can be forged from the prosaic.
Iron and steel, both dense, hard bodied materials, instill heavy, industrial associations in our minds. We don’t imagine the delicate edges that can be hammered from an elemental block. Nor do we question the overwhelmingly uniform textures these materials bear in the forms they are so often presented to us in. Yet, iron can be delicate and soft; steel: light and graceful; perhaps most surprising, both these materials can bear the unique marks of an artisans’s hand.
Viewing Narita-san’s collection reveals the depth that can be contained in an object millimeters thin, that grazes the ceiling of potential locked inside such raw material.
Narita-san’s objects take on fluid shapes, seamlessly transitioning from slender handles to yawning basins. At times their forms are almost edgeless. Imagining that his pieces were once thick iron rods is almost impossible. Envisioning the process and energy that went into their promethean creation is even more so. Upon looking closer, they do bear scars of their transformation. Like natural rock formations, deep and shadowy textures give some indication to the sheer number of times the material has been effected by heat and hammering. The result, a surface so varied it can only be likened to the terrain of another planet.
It may come as little surprise that before he began working metal some 20 years ago, Narita-san had trained as a classical oil painter. Since the transition his journey has been persistent and focused. He crafts a relatively narrow array of items by himself, inside a workshop he built in the mountains of Minakami in Gunma Prefecture. His most renowned item, and the genesis of his craft, is a hammered frying pan, meant to be seasoned and changed by everyday use. We are exceedingly proud and honored to be hosting Narita-san’s first US exhibition on October 5th. Refreshments will be provided by patissier Ayako Kurokawa of Burrow, friend of the gallery and Narita-san.
In the meantime, a tour of his studio can be explored here.