For her first major exhibition, L.A. artist Keiko Fukazawa shows seven ceramic tableaux designed in the manner of miniature Oriental gardens. In place of tiny artificial bonsai trees, Fukazawa positions beautifully glazed bowls inscribed with Buddhist chants and Japanese haiku scripted in Oriental characters. Some of the bowls are tipped to one side and are glazed in a manner that suggests they're filled with water, while other tableaux feature carefully positioned stones--which are in fact made of clay. Elegant and impeccably crafted, Fukazawa's table-top islands of serenity have the soothing effect of quietly gurgling aquariums.
In an adjoining gallery is the flip side of the clay coin. Suzanne Stephenson's exuberantly crude vessels have a yeasty, organic stink altogether absent from Fukazawa's work. Stephenson not only allows the raw earthiness intrinsic to clay to remain at the fore, she enhances it by slathering her roughly formed vessels with explosive passages of color. It's an approach to clay that Ken Russell would no doubt approve of: tactile, sensual and just a tad bombastic. (Garth Clark Gallery, 170 S. La Brea Ave., to April 29.)