Suzuki was born in Kyoto, Japan and was the son of a traditional pottery wheel worker, thus he learned pottery techniques from an early age. After the second world war, Suzuki began making ceramic pieces that did not have any functional application, objects that the Japanese began referring to as objet-yaki, a term developed to "describe the Sodeisha 'craft arts' of Japan that had modernist sensibilities." (Source,Matsuo, Amiko. Suzuik Osamu, Sodeisha and Ceramic Identity in Modern Japan. Ceramics Art and Perception issue 96.) In this sense, Suzuki is very much a representative of the time and place that he lived, embracing both the Kyo-yaki traditions of the Kyoto area going back to the 17th century and the modern, post-war abstract-expressionist international art world. While Suzuki's work has never received much attention internationally, it certainly stands on par with American ceramic artists working at the same time such as Voulkos and Soldner, but with a distinctly Japanese approach to the material.
Suzuki's simplified, modern forms reflect the world around him, representing horses and birds as well as natural phenomena such as rain and clouds, thus making a statement about the place of his origin and it's place in the modern world. Similarly, the place that he was working effected his work, not just in subject matter, but also in materials. Originally Suzuki worked in wood-fired stoneware, but began working in porcelain after the town of Kyoto severely restricted the use of the wood kiln to reduce the amount of pollution in the area. Regardless of the material used, Suzuki's forms are absolutely sublime, evoking a sense of quite gracefulness that is surely a reflection of his place and time.
I am particularly fond of his "Little Clay Images." This is a series of "clay studies" that were crafted in porcelain, fired and glazed then mounted on small plinths for an exhibition. I describe them as studies because some of them were enlarged to full-scale sculptures, but I find the collection of small forms to very endearing; almost like a modern house-hold god to be treasured and revered in the sanctity of the home, rather than a large, public sculpture.
What are your thoughts on these forms? How do you see them as a reflection on the time and place they were created? How does your own work, regardless of medium reflect the place and time you live in?