Project Description

David Kuraoka

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David Kuraoka is best known for large ceramic pieces that are first thrown on a wheel, then further shaped by hand, burnished, covered with rock salt and copper carbonate, and fired in an open pit. He has long been involved in the process of pit firing, his favorite ceramic technique because of the rich, soft colors that result from the firing. Kuraoka’s experience has taught him how to set up the pit to get certain kinds of effects, but one of the fascinating aspects of the process for him is its serendipity, the unexpected ‘gifts of the fire’ that mark his simple, organic forms with smoky earth tones that evoke the colors of Hawaii’s landscape. 

Kuraoka begins by throwing a rounded vessel, subtly altering it by pressing and shaping. He then turns the form upside down and works freehand to create a new top or cap on which the clay is built up and expressively manipulated. The caps of the completed vessels undulate and swirl, resembling the volcanic topography of Hawaii’s islands. Before the pieces are fired Kuraoka burnishes them, rubbing the surfaces with a stone to create a beautiful sheen that enhances the colors and catches the light. In the firing, Kuraoka places sawdust, rock salt, and copper carbonate on the floor of the pit to get the distinctive reds, browns and blacks in his firings, loads the pieces and then fills the pit with split logs. 

David Kuraoka was born in Lihuʻe, Kauai and received BA and MA degrees from San José State University, and a Doctorate of Art from San Francisco State University. He is retired as professor of art and head of the ceramics department of San Francisco State University, and maintains studios in both San Francisco and Kaua‘i. Named a “Living Treasure of Hawai’i”, Kuraoka helped initiate the popular Raku Ho‘olaule‘a. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including at the Hawai’i State Art Museum, Honolulu; San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum, California; the Rotterdam Modern Museum of Art, the Netherlands; and the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, Japan.

EDUCATION
2012
Professor of Art, Emeritus, San Francisco State University
1971-2014
Professor of Art, San Francisco State University
1971-1972
Instructor of Art/Ceramics, San Jose City College
1976
PhD Equivalent, San Francisco State University
1970-1971
MA, Art, San Jose State University
1967-1970
BA, Art, San Jose State University
1964-1967
San Jose City College
 
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2016
Industrial Scale/Artistic Precision: David Kuraoka, Honolulu Museum of Art/First Hawaiian Center, HI
2016
David Kuraoka: Clay & Bronze, Gallery ‘Iolani, Windward Community College, Honolulu, Hi
2012
David Kuraoka, New Work, Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, WA
2011
David Kuraoka, Na Pali, 25 Years, Richard A. Kawakami Terminal, Lihue Airport, HI
2010
David Kuraoka, Night Water, Koa Gallery, Kapiolani Community College, Honolulu, HI
2010
David Kuraoka, Raku Mastery, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
2009
David Kuraoka, Crosscurrents, Schaefer International Gallery, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, HI
2006
David Kuraoka, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, HI
2004
David Kuraoka , Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, WA
2004
David Kuraoka, 425 Market, San Francisco, CA
2003
David Kuraoka, The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center, Honolulu, HI
2002
David Kuraoka, The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center, Honolulu, HI
2002
David Kuraoka, Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, WA
2001
David Kuraoka, Schaefer International Gallery, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, HI
1998
David Kuraoka, Honolulu Advertiser Gallery, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI
1992
Kuraoka: Pitfire and Celadon, Stones Gallery, Kauai, HI
1990
David Kuraoka Porcelain, d.p. Fong Galleries, San Jose CA
1987
Distinguished Artist Forum, San Jose State University, CA
1984
David Kuraoka, Shinno Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1983
David Kuraoka Ceramics, Kauai Museum, Lihue, Kauai, HI
1982
Spotlight Exhibit, Collectors Gallery, Oakland Museum, CA
1982
Kuraoka in ’82, Redding Museum & Art Center, CA
1982
David Kuraoka, Ceramics,Gallery at Waiohai, Kauai, HI
1981
David Kuraoka, Fire Forms, The Following Sea, Honolulu, HI
1980
Clay: David Kuraoka, Meyer Breier Weiss Contemporary Crafts, San Francisco, CA
1979
David Kuraoka, Contemporary Arts Center of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
1978
David Kuraoka, Singing Stone Gallery, Santa Cruz CA
1977
David Kuraoka, Raku Pieces, Kauai Museum, Lihue, Kauai, HI
1976
Kuraoka, Siskiyou Joint Community College, College of the Siskiyou, Weed, CA
1975
David Kuraoka, Raku Forms, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
1973
David Kuraoka, Raku Pots, Daisy’s Gallery, Honolulu, HI
1970
Kuraoka, Raku Pottery, Pavilion Gallery, Los Gatos, CA
1970
David Kuraoka, Raku Pottery, Daisy’s Gallery, Honolulu, HI
1968
Kuraoka, Sculpture, Cannery Gallery, San Francisco, CA
 
COLLECTIONS
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York, NY
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Tate Gallery, London, England
Bowdoin College Museum, Brunswick, ME
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
Stanford University Museum of Art, Palo Alto, CA
Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art, South Hadley, MA
The Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA
Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME
David Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Washington University Gallery of Fine Arts, St. Louis, MO
Krannert Art Museum at University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
Huntington Gallery at University of Texas, Austin, TX
Ringling Museum, Sarasota, FL
Newport Museum of Art, Newport, RI
Santa Fe Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM
Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
Cedar Sinai Collection, Los Angeles, CA
Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, CA
Martin Z, Margulies Collection, Miami, FL
Bank of America Collection, NC
Eric Clapton Collection, London, England

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