Tender Presence | Kento Saisho

Kento Saisho (he/him) is an artist and metalworker currently based in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2016, where he was a Windgate-Lamar Fellowship recipient from the Center for Craft, and a Core Fellow at the Penland School of Craft from 2018-2020. He was also a recipient of the Emerging Artist Cohort from the American Craft Council (ACC) in 2021 and the 2022 Career Advancement Grant from the Center for Craft. Working primarily in steel, Kento makes sculptural objects, vessels, and contemporary artifacts.

Mound 1
Steel, paint, patina
13H x 9W x 5D inches

Working primarily with steel, I create objects, vessels, and contemporary artifacts. My work is driven by explorations in mark-making and I employ processes that reflect and embody the immediacy of drawing. In my studio, I harness and push steel’s elasticity and capacity for transformation, I coil, stack, and join together steel rods as if they were clay, or layer, shape, and collage sheet steel as if it were paper. Utilizing these experimental and haphazard methods of steel-working in addition to the more conventional craft processes of forging and fabrication, I alter metal into expressive surfaces, lines, and volumes that become more similar to rock formations, calligraphic lines, or glazed ceramic than industrial steel.

I draw from objects of antiquity: primal objects from the past, fragments that we project meaning onto. In my work, I am interested in how a material can reflect and reveal its history. While in my studio, I often feel like I am excavating, scavenging, or digging until I unearth the right surface, line, or form. I want to expand the language of the contemporary vessel and explore the potential for new material expressions in steel.

Three Handled Vessel
Steel, graphite
13H x 7W x7D inches

Mound 2
Steel, paint, patina
12H x 14W x 14D inches

gallery@penland.org   |   828.765.6211   |   Tuesday – Saturday  11:00 AM – 5:00 PM