Dark, somber and foreboding, Arthur Gonzalez’s works encourage serious deliberation and reflection on the relationship between personal concerns and world issues. Raw in form, lacking in smoothness and rough in finish, the ceramic sculptures give glimpses of a conversation or a contemplation in progress. Gonzalez’s creations of ceramic and found objects reveal visions and feelings that are not polished but ongoing processes of gyrating thoughts and churning emotions that threaten to erupt into reality and consciousness to defy the fantasy of a peaceful experience.
Aesthetically, his work balances between painting and sculpture, clay figures with blown glass, and horsehair and natural sponges. The understanding that these elements are not “found objects” or even mixed media but closer to the ideas of “material” by Joseph Beays. The figures are a devise to trigger our need to see “narrative” which is a support system for the symbols and the material. These pieces are constructed in such a manner that some pieces are literally and metaphorically in balance with a degree of fulcrum-like equation. Consequently, there is a symbiotic relationship, the sculpture becomes a metaphor for the dialogue and the dialogue is ushered in by the sculpture.
Arthur Gonzalez received his MFA degree at the University of California at Davis. He studied under Robert Arneson. Manuel Neri and Wayne Thiebaud. He is an internationally exhibited artist with over 35 one-person shows in the last 25 years. He has received many awards, including two Virginia Groot Foundation awards,and an unprecedented four-time recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts award. He is a tenured professor at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, He also has been awarded many residencies including the Pilchuck Glass School, and the Tainan University of Art in Taiwan. Gonzalez advises his students to rid themselves of the process normally associated with ceramics, get past things that are supposedly bad technique (like epoxy in cracks), colve problems creatively and remember spirit when making work.
Chris Riccardo received his BFA in sculpture from the College of Fine Arts at Boston University.
In 1995, Chris opened his own commercial bronze casting foundry, RDK Studios in West Palm Beach, FL. A few years later, he began teaching figurative sculpture at the Armory Art Center. Shortly after he decided to sell his foundry and concentrate on his work and teaching. In 2007, Chris was named the Director of the Sculpture Department and Foundry Manager. He set up a small foundry at the Armory and began teaching the fine art of bronze casting.
For a number of year his work dealt with the figure in bronze. Recently, he has started to work less in bronze and more in clay. His figures are one of a kind, fired clay with underglazes. For years his color palette was that of the limited bronze patina finishes. Working in clay has opened up new doors to his work with the unlimited color palette available with glazes. He is currently represented by the Mindy Solomon gallery in St. Petersburg, FL.
“They point and laugh, tease and ridicule all the while unaware of the consequences. As important as play is to our development as adults, what effect does play have on those who cannot participate in the traditional sense of the word? Consequences comments on the epidemic of childhood obesity in our country and how the disease affects our children’s ability to play, leading to low-self esteem, inability to interact and work with others and possible future psychological abnormalities. It is these abnormalities that have been the focus of my recent work, starting with my series entitled: Mugz: American Heroes. The pieces in Mugz are taken from police blotter mug shots and the accused crimes are woven into their portraits. Consequences takes this idea one step further and explores the idea of how these people end up in front of the authority’s camera.” Chris Riccardo
“A vessel has as its reference its own stylistic history and the function. To conserve, or serve out or to present a certain content, is an orientation towards basic human needs. The necessity of producing the form in order to protect contents, meets up with the need to express oneself and to consecrate things and attribute a value to them. From the outset vessels were always designed. The forms emerged from out of the technical capabilities, the practical necessities and a sense for rituals. Rituals are the source of civilization and culture. They bestow a form upon what is lacking in design. A shared meaning develops in them, which goes above and beyond what is merely necessary to life and relates towards what is sublime and greater. From the need to represent and pay homage to this, all art has developed. The rituals have changed, civilization has brought forth many flowers, art is ever the mirror. The manufacture of vessels is a self-evident cultural technique for all of mankind, and analogue to the role of the figure in sculpture, we can maintain that the ritual is the concrete opposite of the vessel.
And so the „vessel“ can today be a theme, in which function and ritual, our own history and the future may be reflected. Do rituals relate to something sublime? Can they create a shared meaning? What sort of a function do vessels have today?”
“In the original axiom the form follows the function, as the shape which corresponds to the purpose. The functionality in this work is not related to the potential of a thing to be useful, but rather to the logic involved in its manufacture. The necessary work steps to make a form mould with which objects can be reproduced in porcelain, are subject to specific preconditions. A sort of three dimensional stereotype has to be made in plaster, which forms a closed volume, or receptacle for the liquid porcelain. The usually many-pieced stereotypes must then be capable of being taken apart, so that the model around which they have arisen, and subsequently the reproduced object shall not be damaged. I interrupt this process before it is finished and use the stereotype incompletely. The function of (pouring) the form is extended. As a fragment it becomes part of the object and forms a threshold, a border, like the frame which separates the picture from the wall.” Johannes Nagel
“Things that are completely perfect and things that are completely broken appear to be in two opposite conditions, yet two conditions are the same concept as a form of completion. There is no movement in these two conditions. The waxing and the waning moon contain an expectation of completion whether it is going to be the start or the end. We are seeing the moon at the same time we are seeing our perception of time or whatever it is, we see something progressing. To some my work may appear to be imperfect because perfection contains only one message which is clearly defined by the maker. My attempt is to create the condition of progress in my work. Something ambiguous, unsettled and imaginative so that the user of my work sees many different aspects from the object.”
“My preference of choosing types of clay when making white ware is the dark and coarse clay most of the time. The whiteness acts as a membrane or a veil. The hints of the true nature of the material appear slightly on the surface. Dark clay which consists of many impurities induces strong chemical changes in heat and the trace of events remains under the veil when it cools down. White, on the other hand, is more stable because of its purity. It is already settled and has a feeling of “stillness”.
Superficially my work appears to be quiet in white. It does not show the rawness of Mother Nature directly. A symbolic figure always looks more perfect than the actual person he/she is. Imagination and fantasy always reinforce the imperfection and achieve the perfection with its own originality. Therefore the completion of my work is done by the viewers. My work is a creation on its own.”
“If my work is to speak I want it to whisper. In this my aim is to create unique pieces for contemplation and enjoyment. Nature is my source of inspiration and delight and it plays a significant role in my work.
The shadows cast by the interplay of light are an integral part of each piece and through this I want to give my work a contemporary feel whilst enhancing the quality of the clay. Paper porcelain is versatile and allows me to constantly push the boundaries of my work.
I worked with glass initially before turning my full attention to clay, first as a hobbyist and then full-time from my studio which I opened in September, 2003. During this time I have worked tentatively and experimentally with porcelain and felt it possessed the very qualities I needed to create the desired texture.
Porcelain is a difficult medium in which to work, but I found it a very rewarding challenge. It has a welcome degree of unpredictability but when the results are good, I feel that our partnership is a successful one.
My work was exhibited at various CSA Regional and National Exhibitions and also showcased at Decorex 2009 in the SA Handmade Collection where I was selected as one of the Ikons and tribute was paid in the field of South African Ceramics. In October 2010 a piece called “Singing Trees” was awarded BEST PORCELAIN PIECE at the biannual CSA National Exhibition. In April 2011 a piece called “Sickel Bush” was selected for the 9th International Ceramics competition Mino, Japan which will be held in September 2011. In June 2011 a piece called “Deep forest” was selected as a finalist in the Gyeonggi International CeraMIX Biennale 2011 International Competition in Korea.” Rika Herbst
Born in South Korea, ceramic artist Bang Chang-Hyun studied ceramics and English language and literature at Kyung Hee University in Seoul and continued his studies (a master’s in ceramics) at the State University of New York, New Paltz. Bang was a literature student devoted to practicing novels in his mid-20s, dreaming of becoming a novelist. His career later helped him form his own distinctive visual grammar in his creative activities as a potter. Based on literary imagination, metaphor and symbol, Bang leads viewers to empathy with his personified swine characters.
Bang employs expressionist content and minimalist visual elements in his work. His work represents the gaze at his soul through recollections of the past in unique narratives. Employing a dramatic narrative structure in which a swine appears as protagonist, Bang acutely captures our diverse daily emotions - depression, anxiety, desire, obsession, loss, hallucination, horror - from the viewpoint of an animal. His small, cute swine characters echo viewers who think of them logically and rationally as weak, poor animals. Viewers obsessed with the pigs come to contrast their own life with that of the pigs cast in a dark shadow.
“I have been deeply inspired by the rhythm, patterns and forces of life, boulders on a Sierra slope, the sensual shoulder line of a human figure, wind ripples on a gray blue sea and, during extensive travels around the world, by the ceramic work of ancient cultures, carefully crafted work that speaks to me, perhaps from the maker’s spirit still residing in the artifacts themselves.
I draw on the same techniques these cultures used to hand coil my vessels, using smooth porcelaineous clay. Some pieces are carefully burnished and polished before firing, others are sanded after being low-fired to soften edges and create a fine, matte texture.
My pieces are unglazed, and without a glassy surface, have the same cool, smooth feel of a weathered pebble on a sandy shore. Instead of glazing, I paint the bisqued vessels with water soluble metals – iron, nickel, cobalt and other salts – chemicals that permeate the non-vitrified clay and reveal the earth’s elemental palette after firing. Through trial and error, I have developed my own mixtures of metal salts and techniques for applying these almost transparent “watercolors.”
Metal salts are often unpredictable, but can create magical patterns – halos encircling galaxies of dots, colors that break from an iron-rich red to brilliant cobalt sky blue, subtle designs that mimic the colors and patterns of nature.” Liza Riddle
“I am inspired by the urban landscapes around me, the architecture of the North and by the austere aesthetic of Flemish still-life. I like plain clay, monochrome compositions. I shape my pieces and accumulate them according to an imaginary plan, to create installations in search of the perfect balance.
I have a feeling for everyday objects, for the physical relationship we have with them (the closeness we have to them) for the way they wear out.
My work on pans enable me to confront the apparent solidity of the piece which hits the collective subconscious, with the fragility of clay.” Virginie Besengez
Virginie Besengez draws her inspiration from nature. She is interested in the movement, repetition in the landscapes that are constantly changing with the wind and the light. ‘Like a photographer I would like to capture a moment in time by creating forms and curves similar to those found in nature. The texture of the surfaces of my vessels achieved by polishing, grinding and also raku firing is very important to me.’
“The core inspiration of this body of work is a celebration and dedication to the immense beauty and fragility of the natural world.
My sculptures are explored from a feminine viewpoint and inspired by my relationship and fascination with nature, the land, water, and the environment.
Current inspirations stem from places that captivate and hold an emotional and visual pull, from certain areas of coast, reef, field, and wood. To the uninhibited growth of corals, lichens, mosses and fungi. The eroticism of unfurling flowers. The awakening of seeds confident of their purpose. The wild places under log piles housing micro worlds.
I’m exploring the rare, the everyday, the endangered, the ordinary and the spectacular.
My work is made from porcelain paperclay and terracotta paperclay. One of the many qualities of clay that I embrace is its capacity to hold movement and energy. By Working with a paper clay of my own mix these qualities continue to resonate once the work becomes ceramic thus enabling me to create my desired delicate, organic, fronded forms. I employ different methodologies of making depending on the requirements of the individual piece. Most of my work is hand built but I also work with paper-thin sheets of clay and some press moulding techniques.” Jasmin Rowlandson
“When working with bone china for the first time I was struck by its pure whiteness, ability to take on fine detail and its astonishing translucence. This light responsive property, that enables bone china to switch between translucent and opaque states - gradually or instantaneously - as light changes around it, continues to be a major source of fascination.
Providing a subconscious inspiration for many pieces is my interest in the patterns, textures, shapes and forms found in nature - often and in particular, the ‘tiny worlds’ seen under a microscope or through a macro lens. In addition to these themes, I continue to develop a small strand of works that focus on ‘iconic’ objects from my own childhood.
Bone china has many testing characteristics for a maker - an in-flexible ‘body’ prone to crumbling when worked, an inability to be wheel-thrown and a propensity to collapse or bend when firing. Add to these a very keen ‘clay memory’, a trait that causes repaired splits and stresses to reappear again once fired and you inevitably face high loss rates in production. For this reason most ceramicists avoid using bone china. However, through time I have come to understand the nature of the clay and I now relish the constant challenges it presents. Still, a tension exists between the clay’s constraints and my intent as an artist to counter or exploit them in order to reveal its inherent beauty and demonstrate its perhaps unexpected versatility.
To capitalize on the allure of bone china I adopt ‘high-risk’ techniques - often unconventional, certainly against traditional good practice - which push the clay to its very limits. Intuition allied with experience is relied on to make a successful piece. New technologies like water-jet cutting brought together with long-established ceramic processes make possible the creation of works significantly greater in height and volume whilst crucially keeping the ceramic thin enough to retain delicacy and translucence. I routinely combine traditional and modern approaches whilst attempting to push back the boundaries and to redefine the perception of bone china as something more than simply the sole preserve of fine tableware.” Chris Wight
Wim Borst became a professional ceramist at a rather advanced age. At the age of 31 he exhibited for the first time. As a self taught artist he took lessons in ceramics from Ru de Boer and Emmy van Deventer a.o.
His oeuvre and career are characterized by a great accuracy and a persistent mentality. His ceramics has its roots in the Dutch geometrical abstract tradition, although he uses the idiom in a non-academic, refreshing way. Within the boundaries of the self chosen restrictions of the geometric abstraction, he takes liberties with colors, materials and themes. His objects are (generally) made up of different parts.
Wim Borst is exhibiting regularly in the Netherlands and abroad. He is a member of the NVK (the Dutch Society of Ceramic artists) and of ‘de Vishal’, (a local society of artists in Haarlem, his native town). He is part of a group of Dutch ceramists, CeramiCVision.nl who regularly join to discuss their profession; they are looking for opportunities to attract the attention of the public for their works and they are organizing exhibitions as a group.
His work is in private collections and in museum collections in the Netherlands and abroad, such as Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Boston USA, Frans Halsmuseum in Haarlem, Museum Keramion in Frechen Germany, ‘Magnelli Museum’, the Ceramics Museum of Vallauris, France, Museum Het Princessehof in Leeuwarden, and Stedelijk Museum Schiedam.
"The scale of the space has pushed all the artists to think big, both physically and conceptually. The exhibition, technically demonstrates the inventive use of such an ancient material, while raising contemporary issues. The works in the exhibition challenge traditional notions of “objectness”, providing a depth of content, and creating a diverse dialogue." Katie Caron
Location: Anschutz Gallery, Level Two, Hamilton Building / Denver Art Museum
“My work is about surprising myself and the audience, using white porcelain and black earthenware clay, fired at high temperature. The black earthenware expands, thus creating a volcanic landscape. It is not just a natural landscape, because it is directed by me. I have created the cuttings from the beginning, but still the aspect of surprise is always present, because what happens in the kiln is unpredictable.” Rafael Pérez
The distinguishing characteristic of Perez`s work is its apparently matter-of fact use of ceramic materials and methods to dispel rather than reinforce the sense of ceramics as a discipline. Clay is undeniably the central, material component of his work, but it is utilized in such a way as to make problematic the distinction between ceramics and painting, sculpture or even performance. Perez orients his activity within the boundaries of physics and his transgression of the traditional.
Although her work has been devoted to drawing, she first encountered the medium of ceramic in 2007. Ceramic has ever since given the artist an opportunity to explore new possibilities of representation. It has provided a means to re-examine and reassess the artist’s ongoing concerns on the role and nature of the work of art as an artefact.
Cathy Coëz’s three-dimensional ’Clay drawings’ and ’Porcelain drawings’ explore the compositional element of aesthetic and the nature of the ceramic medium. These drawings are organized geometrically (a circle, a disk or a square), and are made out of hundreds of pieces carefully arranged. The clay and porcelain material is tirelessly thrown on a ceramic wheel to form hundreds of unique pieces that are created to form a species of its kind. The substance of the clay, together with the inexhaustible possibility of forms and shapes it offers, has fascinated the artist ever since she started to explore the medium in 2007.
The creative process of these museums-sized pieces are initially conceived through a computer Vector Drawing Program, then each piece is methodically arranged and placed next to each other with painstaking precision. The end result is a response to an ongoing research into the nature of minimalist aesthetic and the sophisticated character of macrocosm and microcosm blend.
“In my previous silkscreen drawings, I used to work with a vast selection of colours. With my ceramic work, I am interested in the monochromatic and minimalist approach to colour, tones and shades. I focus instead on the individuality and uniqueness of each piece. For me, throwing clay is like drawing a shape. I start the process by establishing a form, then gradually organise its volume, rearrange its proportions and finalise its character. The shapes and forms I create seem to organically emerge from between my fingers.” Cathy Coëz
Cathy Coëz is a French Multi-disciplinary artist. She lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. Her artwork has been internationally exhibited in galleries and museums and is part of public and private collections.
“I divide my time between teaching and working in my studio. I am a teacher and I’ve emphasised on texile and history in my profession. I believe my current works are inspired by and reflect my educational backdrop. My objects often carry a historical and ethnical connotation.
My inspirations are gathered from all over; my environment, the newspapers, books, fashion and the people around me. My students too are a source of inspiration because of their joyful and ingenuous worldview.
As a ceramist I have specialised in casted forms and the recycling of glass. I especially use old bottles, for which I create a new context and give a new usage. The glides is a design serie I’ve been developing the last few years. I gather their basic structure from gutter- and drainpipes. The serie consists of cups, small containers, candleholders and wall/table vases in various forms and sizes.” Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir
“Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir is a ceramic artist whose medium is not limited to clay. As her works show, her background is first and foremost Icelandic, but in addition to her studies at the Icelandic School of Art and Craft, Guðný has also studied and experienced ceramics in Denmark, Finland and Hungary.
Iceland has a great story-telling tradition and the works of Icelandic artists are often characterised by story-telling features. This also applies to Guðný’s work. Motifs of ancient traditional beliefs are reborn in her beautifully formed freedom stones. Such stones were traditionally used to help women during childbirth. Poems sometimes accompany her works, which make them more personal and add a level of sincerity. Heads of characters from the Viking era appear from glass bottles that have been given a new costume, and in similar works, Guðný flies the flag for Icelandic women. Contemporary recycling gets a new role through Guðný’s works.
But the feeling is far from one where the weight of history rests on the works. On the contrary, her newest works are characterised by lightness and gaiety. Guðný often looks to form in everyday life for inspiration for her craft works. So for example, roof gutters and raindrops are the inspiration for her newest line in cups, trays and breadboards. Here one can find both the form of raindrops and the colour of blue skies. Guðný’s work is characterised by imagination, variety, an awareness of the past and a sensitive perception of the present. Together, these qualities create colourful and thought-provoking art.” Ragna Sigurðardóttir
“I work with abstract sculptural form. I am interested in the idea of one continuous surface, with one connected edge or line running through the whole form. Clear, clean shapes; soft smooth curves in contrast to sharp edges; concave and convex surfaces; the discovery and strength of an inner/negative space - these are all form expressions that appeal to me and results in my continuous exploration and expression in many different variations.
My sculptures are either asymmetrical or with a repetition of form:
- Asymmetrical where I mainly work with the idea of continuous surface. The form has only one side and one edge connected throughout the shape. - Repetition of form with three symmetrical parts that are connected; three being both a strong number and a balanced repetition of form. The negative space - the shape of the space in between, is equally important.
My work is hand built in coiling technique. Stoneware is my chosen material for its qualities - I like to challenge the material and my own skills by building complicated shapes; fragile in the building, drying and firing process which upon firing attain the strength to be handled and positioned without support.
I often get an idea for a new form while working on another. I also find my inspiration in form I see in nature as well as architecture and design; clean curves, sparse decoration, simplicity. To emphasize the form I use a matt surface and monochrome colours.
I was born in Denmark but grew up in Sweden. I returned to Denmark to study at Design School Kolding in 2000, and moved to London in 2005 after graduating. I have since then predominately worked with sculptural forms.” Merete Rasmussen
“I have a strong interest in natural forms, cultural artifacts and personal mementos. I am drawn to ornament, embellishment, pattern, and texture. For the last ten years the vessel forms in my ceramic work have slowly been evolving into botanically inspired hybrid sculptural forms. In working on these pieces I have become more involved with the details, the close ups, the abstract, the peering into. My interest in detail, layers and encrustations has been heightened by repeated travels to India and China. I am fascinated by the complexity, diversity, beauty and danger of the natural world and this leads to thoughts about growth, nourishment, attraction, and sexuality. Built into these hybrids are some of the artifacts and mementos that form my DNA.” Carol Gouthro
“The flowers of the woodlands and gardens of my upstate New York home are the subjects of my work. The intricate beauty in nature compels me to employ a complex process to translate this to the surface of my pots. I choose to use porcelain because it is the most pure of clays and when left unglazed and polished , an enticingly smooth rich surface is revealed. I began carving my porcelain forms during graduate studies at Skidmore College with Leslie Ferst and Regis Brodie. I continued my exploration of floral forms and structures by pursuing postgraduate study in botanical illustration at The New York Botanical Gardens. I create the bas-relief botanical images by carving into the leather hard wheel thrown porcelain pot. It is a process that can take more than one hundred hours. Each piece is hand polished after the first firing, the bisque, and again after the final high temperature firing to achieve the smooth marble like sheen.
My pots are my response to the natural world and my wish for its preservation. I strive to record the resiliency of nature in the bas-relief botanical images. I attempt also to capture the delicacy and fragility of the blossoms that will ironically be outlived by my pots
As objects of contemplation, it is my hope that my pots will celebrate the beauty and strength of nature and encourage its preservation.” JoAnn Axford
In addition to teaching at both the college and community arts levels, JoAnn has exhibited extensively in juried exhibits throughout the United States, including The Strictly Functional Pottery National, Crafts National, and San Angelo National Ceramic Competition. She was recognized as an Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly magazine in 2006. Her work has been published In Clay Times Magazine, Surface Design for Ceramics by Maureen Mills, Lark Books, and 500 Raku by Lark Books.