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Nonaka-Hill to Display Sculpture by Kazuo Kadonaga

Kazuo Kadonaga’s “Bamboo No. 1-B” (1984).

Sculpture by Kazuo Kadoanaga produced in wood, paper, bamboo and glass between 1977 and 1999 will be displayed from July 21 to Sept. 8 at Nonaka-Hill, 720 N. Highland Ave. in Los Angeles, and will be on view until Sept. 8.

Opening reception will be held this Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Kadonaga, who descends from a forestry family, chose instead to become an artist in the late 1960s. He tried painting at first, but around 1970 he eschewed the personal, artistic expression of his own hand, opting to develop processes that allow for his chosen materials to become their own self-representing subjects. His works expose the medium’s innate characteristics, which often determine the artwork’s final form.

Though he was, as a developing artist, impressed by the works of Arte Povera, Mono-ha and Process artists, Kadonaga sought a practice that deeply and systematically explored materials from the inside out.

In the full gallery show, Kadonaga exhibits “Wood No. 8-D” from 1977. This cedar log, cut in strokes across the grain at regular intervals along its 12-foot length, reveals both the artist’s action and the material’s natural reaction through a cracking in a pattern which resembles piano keys.

Another work, “Wood No. 5-CI” from 1984, was veneer-sliced along its 13½-foot length, and the resulting wafer-thin planes were glued back into original position at the core, allowing the outermost edges to respond to ever-changing environmental conditions.

A paper work from 1983, “Paper 1-BF,” is composed of over 3,000 sheets of handmade washi paper, laid atop each other while still wet in the paper-making process. The stacked sheets were compressed by extreme weight at one end, while on the other end, the sheets were peeled apart to allow the paper fibers to air-dry. The resulting work of pure paper exists in two contrasting self-explanatory states.

Kadonaga also shows two works in poured glass, which result from over 13 years of research and development. These imposing objects are formed by a thin stream of melted, ordinary plate glass poured continuously from a height of 10 feet for 48 hours into a customized annealing oven, where the resulting mass of solid glass material cools for three months into its final, self-determined form.

“Glass No. 4-I” from 1999 weighs 1,900 pounds (846kg) and “Glass No. 4-L,” also from 1999, weighs 1,477 pounds (670kg). Also on view is “Bamboo No. 1-B” from 1984. Presented as a vertical plane, the work is composed of 50 stalks of young, green bamboo that has been slowly kiln-dried to coax a deep, caramelized color transformation of the material’s natural pigments.

In each of these works, the artist brought industrially produced natural materials together with industrial techniques, engineered so that the resulting forms convey pure expressions of the material’s inherent potential.

“Each living thing, plant or animal, has a soul: my art is revealing the soul,” Kadonaga said.

The artist lives and works in Tsurugimachi, Ishikawa-ken, where he was born in 1946.

Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 12 to 8 p.m. For more information, call (323) 450-9409, email or visit

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