Preview: ODD THINGS by ERIKA SANADA @ Modern Eden Gallery [San Francisco]

"Newborns" Ceramic, Glaze, and Stain Wall-Mounted Sculptures (3 pieces) 8 x 10 x 35 inches (combined, set of 3) $750

Ceramic, Glaze, and Stain
Wall-Mounted Sculptures (3 pieces)
8 x 10 x 35 inches (combined, set of 3)

Tokyo-born, Erika Sanada crafts beautifully intricate ceramic work, infusing striking realism with a tender, welcoming, sense of comfort and fragility, while balancing it with the unnervingly macabre.  Sanada‘s new solo show, Odd Things, opens this Saturday, August 17th at the Modern Eden gallery in San Francisco, the city where she is currently pursuing her MFA in ceramics at the Academy of Art University.  All of the subjects featured in the exhibit are animal in nature–mostly variations of canine, with a handful of birds and rodents mixed in–and, although she’s technically still a student, her ability to emulate the textural appearance of organic elements like flesh, nail, glistening teeth, and gums is mind-boggling.  Of course, this is made even more impressive by the fact that the artist is utilizing such an inherently stiff and rigid medium to obtain these results.  Perfectly complementing Erika‘s sculpting is a brilliantly understated, tasteful and affective glazing technique, which is equally noteworthy.  This remarkable grasp on color, texture, and anatomy is undoubtedly benefited by her previous work in both commercial illustration and movie studio makeup artistry.

Raised in Japan, the sculptor has credited her early inspirations as being derived from “creatures and characters of Horror films,” and her own creatures and characters definitely reflect that influence.  The American entertainment industry has a tendency to be ungracefully overt and, although Hollywood remakes of Japanese horror films like Ringu (The Ring) have become increasingly more common, they are generally lackluster interpretations that lose that subtle, yet powerful, underlying, eeriness that’s so essential to more nuanced films like Takashi Miike‘s Audition.  That subtle eeriness is captured in the dead, hollow eyes of Sanada‘s figures, which, rather than mute the life-force in these beings, actually increases it with an air of ambiguous supernaturality.  Additional limbs, visible wounds, growths, and even conjoining of the creatures is incorporated, resulting in a scrappy lot that looks like they were extracted from a curiosity shop and buried in a Ludlow, Maine pet cemetery.  There’s a level of delicacy with these creatures that contrasts with the potential for ferocity that they each exude; otherwise disparate elements coexist in a manner that disarms the viewer, inviting them in, only to find them catching themselves at the last minute, again and again.  In some ways, Sanada‘s work could be described as dreamlike, and while I wouldn’t necessarily consider that description to be off the mark, I feel that a more on-point analogy may be found in a review that I once received myself, in reference to the music created in a band that I was in.  That is to say that Erika Sanada‘s work is “… like sleeping with a concussion: comforting and at the same time confusing.”

But not all choices are necessarily made arbitrarily,– strictly abstract and emotional.  And, likewise, not all artist’s statement are contrived overreaching attempts to convey a heightened level of importance by fabricating a deep introspective thought process for those who write them.  Sometimes there is actually some very real and genuine reasoning behind what informs the work, and knowing it doesn’t always detract from the connection to, or effectiveness of the experience with it, either.  Such is the case with the following example.  And, for anyone who would like to speak more with the artist directly, please note that she will also be on hand at the gallery for the opening [further details below].

Artist’s Exhibition Statement:
“My sculptural work explores my  anxieties. Early childhood experiences  drove me to doubt my self-esteem, developing  into a state of  worry and distress. To cope with these emotions, my parents gave me a dog and he became a great companion. I use the imagery of dogs in my work to represent the joy in life. However, underlying that happiness, I incorporate odd features into my dogs like extra teeth or ears to symbolize those lingering anxieties. Much like myself, my work is struggling  to find a balance between joy and sorrow.”

Check out a selection of preview images below the following event details…


ODD THINGS: Erika Sanada solo exhibit


Saturday, August 17th



Modern Eden Gallery
403 Francisco Street

San Francisco, CA 94133



Opening is ALL AGES w/NO COVER
Artist will be in attendance
Show on view until September 6, 2013
Gallery hours: Tues. – Sat. 10am – 6pm
Facebook Event Page:




Free-Standing Sculpture
Ceramic, Glaze
14 x 9 x 21 inches


I Can Handle It Hi-Res

Wall-Mounted Sculpture
Ceramic, Glaze
13 x 4 x 5 inches
$900 SOLD



Free-Standing Sculpture
Ceramic, Glaze
21 x 4 x 6 inches


Suspicion Hi-Res

Wall-Mounted Sculpture
Ceramic, Glaze
3 x 7 x 2 inches
$350 SOLD



Wall-Mounted Sculpture
Ceramic, Glaze
5 x 5 x 6 inches
$420 SOLD


My Turn Me

Free-Standing Sculpture (4 pieces)
Ceramic, Glaze
10 x 10 x 11 inches


Opposite Hi-Res

Wall-Mounted Sculpture
Ceramic, Glaze
5 x 11 x 3 inches

“DREAMING – No. 1”

Dreaming No. 1 Hi-Res

Free-Standing Sculpture
Ceramic, Glaze
9 x 3 x 3 inches
$270 SOLD



Wall-Mounted Sculpture
Ceramic, Glaze
5 x 1 x 1 inches



Free-Standing Sculpture
Ceramic, Glaze
2 x 2 x 7 inches

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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