Artists: Sebastian Blackie, Claudi Casanovas, Peter Collingwood, Tanya Gomez, Matthew Harris, Deirdre Hawthorne, Steven Heinemann, Shozo Michikawa, Gustavo Pérez, Tim Rowan, Anna Vannotti
Erskine, Hall & Coe specialise in 20th Century and Contemporary ceramics. The gallery is in central Mayfair, off Bond Street, at 15 Royal Arcade.
The gallery carries an extensive stock of ceramics, often including works by, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, Jennifer Lee, Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Shozo Michikawa and Sara Flynn. Its ten annual exhibitions feature the work of British and international artists, in some cases exploring the interplay between ceramics, sculptures and paintings.
Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday: 10 am - 6 pm, Saturday: 10 am - 6 pm (during exhibitions only).
Wouter Dam exhibition / Galerie NeC, Hong Kong 28 June - 18 August, 2012
"The ceramic sculptures I make, do steadily develop along a clear line, this last group of sculptures here on show are slightly larger and with more unbroken circles incorporated into the sculpture, in this way slowly revealing more of its origins, the vase and bowl shape.
The sculptures are closed and curled on to itself and in this way, keeping more of it’s secret, enticing you to explore the almost hidden inside of the sculpture. They are covered with a coloured engobe, the latest colours I have introduced are the soft pink, a light porcelain blue, and a grey tone. All these colours are specifically chosen to enhance the shape and to give a good contrast in between light and shade.
The sculptures are built up of elements made on the potterswheel, assembled when leatherhard, every one of them becoming a unique sculpture, although clearly belonging to the same family of shapes.
The sculptures are like drawing lines in space, making the clay seem weightless. The edges are refined and cut through the air in contrast to the soft voluminous exterior surfaces that bask in the light.” Wouter Dam, 2012
Gallery Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 am - 8 pm. Sunday 1 pm - 6 pm.
Thank you all for your messages and emails, and please accept our apologies for the inactivity you’ve witnessed in the last weeks. We haven’t been able to update the website or to answer your emails in the last month because we got incredibly busy with exams, finals and projects - all of them due to finish at the end of July.
As you may know, the makers of this amazing project are either students or very young artists, including me. For this reason, we ask you to be patient and wait for our answer. All the emails will be promptly answered as soon as we finish with all this turmoil. For immediate answer, please call +40 748 311 663 (10 AM - 10 PM, CET).
Again, please accept our apologies and stay close! We’ll be back soon with Issue Two, new artists, interviews, reviews and much, much more time to do them all. In the meantime, read our great past interviews and have a look at our featured artists’ work.
Yours, Vasi Hîrdo
Editor and founder of Ceramics Now Magazine 20.06.2012
Ceramics Now Magazine: Do you remember your first encounter with ceramics? What made you choose this particular way of expressing yourself?
Kimberly Cook: My first encounter with ceramics was when I was a child. During my family’s summer holiday, my parents would take my sister and I on a very long drive from Texas to Ohio, to visit my father’s family. I remember being so excited when we arrived in Ohio, because it meant that I was going to be able to visit my aunt Coby’s ceramic studio. She had an incredible ceramic studio set up in her basement, where she taught workshops. I remember loving the smell of the wet clay, being surrounded by an endless array of colorful glazes, china paints, gold, silver, and pearl lusters, and tools that enabled her students to create anything they wanted out of this wondrous natural material that was easy to form and smelled sweetly of the earth. I was enthralled with the medium, and wanted to learn the techniques of creating both my own sculptural and functional forms.
Another vivid childhood memory of being exposed to ceramics was seeing the traveling King Tut exhibit. I was drawn to the ceramic Bes deity pots and their use in the home as a protector of women and children. For the first time, even in mynaiveté, I realized that there could exist a “conceptual” aspect to creating these forms. What also intrigued me were the marl ceramics of the second Naqada period, which were decorated with reddish-brown drawings that developed from the early geometric forms to less abstract images. Among some of my favorite are those that depicted oared boats transporting what has been interpreted as deities, and the decorations that included people and animals.
Working in clay has become a cathartic way of expressing myself, and because of this, I will never stop using it as my primary mode of self-expression. From these early childhood memories and tangible encounters, I found a palpable love of ceramic materials, which sustain me to this day.
Trophy, 2011, Ceramic, mason stain, gold luster, 35” x 23” x 20” - View her works
Your works are figurative and often have a narrative quality. But trying to convey a certain message without using words can be difficult for an artist. Do you sometimes fear that people will fail to understand the meaning of your works? How outspoken should a work of art be?
I use to be concerned that viewers would fail to understand my work, but not anymore. After your work has been censored and removed from a gallery, you start to understand that that is actually a compliment. You have struck a nerve; a message got across to a viewer, understood or misunderstood, doesn’t matter. What created that shift in thought for me was the fact that I realized that everyone is going to have their own experience viewing my work, their own perception, and their own opinions. I am okay with that – to me that is what good art is about. If it moves someone, great; if it disturbs someone, great – I want my work to encourage people to go inside of themselves and ponder and reflect before reaching any hard and fast conclusions. […]
You have been working at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum for over ten years. What are the main responsibilities and attributes of being the Chief Curator of Collections & Research?
Jill Beute Koverman: As Chief Curator of Collections and Research, my responsibilities include overseeing the research and care for the permanent collections. The permanent collections include natural science collections (rocks, minerals, fossils, meteorites and shells) and material culture collections which include fine art, furniture, textiles (clothing, quilts, other domestic textiles, baskets, shoes, accessories), ceramics, glass, metal objects, political materials, silver and objects relating to the history of the University of South Carolina. I guide and implement the collecting activities of the museum in terms of new acquisitions and research, identify long-term care needs of the collections in terms of conservation and storage, and work with my colleagues on various exhibition projects. My research focus is on Southern pottery but I’m knowledgeable about traditional basket traditions of the South, South Carolina history and politics, and University history. In a mid-size institution like McKissick Museum, and particularly at a University, it is important to constantly learn about the various types of museum collections.
/ Read the press release of the exhibition. Walter Stephen was born in Nebraska in 1876. His family moved to 100 acres of land in Shelby County, Tennessee in 1897. It was on this property where he discovered layers of pink, white and yellow clay. His intellectual and creative curiosity was fostered by his mother. Nellie Stephen was an amateur artist who taught blackboard art and painting. Walter did not begin working with clay until he was twenty-seven years old (1903). Together, Walter and his mother began experimenting with the clay and the decorating process. It is also possible that the two had seen George Ohr, “the Mad Potter of Biloxi,” demonstrating his pottery skills at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. Originally named, “Stephen and Son,” they renamed their pottery “Nonconnah” after the local creek. The forms were typical decorative vases and pitchers of the period. The decoration was different as Mrs. Stephen’s painted layers of porcelain slip onto the wares, often adding colored oxides for leaves and branches. This paste on paste, or cameo, technique was similar to the original method employed by Josiah Wedgwood for his Jasperwares. In 1910, Walter’s parents died and he continued to operate the Nonconnah pottery in Tennessee until 1912. A year later, he moved to the Skyland community of North Carolina, south of Asheville, and established the Nonconnah Pottery in partnership with Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Pine Ryman. At this iteration of the Nonconnah Pottery, Stephen continued to work at the potter’s wheel, creating matte glazed cameo wares until 1916. The Ryman’s operated the Nonconnah until 1918, producing molded and slab constructed wares with simple blue and brown glazes.
Walter B. Stephen, Three stoneware vases with crackle glaze. Courtesy McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina.
It would be almost a decade after Stephen’s departure from Nonconnah before he established the Pisgah Forest Pottery. During this period, he became closely associated with Oscar L. Bachelder of the Omar Khayyam Pottery. Walter worked for a short time with Bachelder but did not want to make utilitarian pottery. It was also during the early 1920s, that he was experimenting with local clay,glazes and firing techniques. Fragments from his Arden home indicate his interest in the Chinese celadon and red glazes.
Ceramics Now Magazine: You have been working with ceramic jewelry and knobs for over 10 years. How did you discover the passion for beautifully crafted objects?
THJane: I suppose it comes from our childhood. We grew up surrounded by photographs, books, stamps and original objects. Some had been brought up from the place where we’re born, Angola, in Africa.
Our dad was an architect, and mum was a teacher of arts and crafts. They invested strongly in our education for the discovery and exploration of unique artistic sensibilities, and we always felt responsible for giving them a well deserved response. We studied piano for several years and used to go to classical music concerts every weekend. We also had the opportunity to learn and practice woodwork and woodcut, ceramics and basketry, weaving and dressmaking, bookbinding, painting and engraving, and so many other useful things.
Years later, we set up THJané project and, until today, we still live with the feeling of achievement that comes with creating things of beauty, you say, with our own hands.
060710, 2011, Ceramic and soutache, carved and hand-painted, H 4,5 x 2,4 x 2,4” - View their works
Working as a group has plenty of advantages, but sometimes it may be challenging. How do you divide your work? Who is responsible for what part of the constructing process?
After 10 years of intense activity, Teresa usually comes to be responsible by the development of ideas and by the exploration of painting techniques. Also drawing and sculpture. And I (Helena), by the choice of materials and techniques of production, studies of color and by the preparation and application of glazes. Sure it can bring some comfort. Yet, new works often requires us to change roles and also to work together. Breaking routines and try new things have always encouraged us. Therefore, any of us can accomplish any task at any time. Besides, it also reduces uncertainty about the capabilities of each other, allowing to have a greater respect for individuality and free expression. This is very important, specially when we seek the necessary consensus in our work.
Ceramics Now Magazine: Growing up near the ocean around natural diversity and continuous change, you have developed a very finite line of work. Do you visualize your work from the very beginning?
Debra Fleury: I spend a lot of time sketching and planning. My sketches can be very specific and architectural, or very loose and gestural. But ultimately, I am an intuitive thinker. I rely on feeling and instinct in my artwork. When I sit down with clay the careful preparation is put aside in favor of the moment. Once I have the clay in my hands, I am often swept away by the possibilities I encounter as the clay begins to express its properties.
Do you remember the first ceramic piece that you created? How did it look like and how do you feel about your evolution as a ceramic artist?
I remember the first piece I created that had an impact on me. It was a little pinch pot, a half sphere and nicely formed. It was so perfect, likely the best I had made to date. I wondered what would happen if I dropped it while it was still malleable. I decided to indulge this impulse and I let my little pinch pot fall. The perfectly round rim became this very interesting, offset elliptical shape in response to the force of the impact. After it was fired it retained the mark of that force. It looked plastic, but it was solid.
This experience helped me recognize the approach that I wanted to take with this medium — to enjoy the process and avoid feeling that the work is precious. The visual aspect of the work is compelling to me, but the process is the lure.
Tidal, 2011, Dark Stoneware, Porcelain and glass. Fired to cone 6, wall installation. Dimensions variable, average size per individual piece is approximately 10x10x8 cm - View her works
When constructing a new piece, you are using different materials such as clay, glass and glaze. What challenges you the most by combining these materials?
I love the unknown. I love being surprised by the materials and I love experimenting. Combining clay bodies with different shrink rates, adding glass, or using glaze in an unconventional way are a few of the methods I use when courting disaster or looking for insight. I push the materials toward something that I think will be interesting, but I never really know what will happen. Opening the kiln after a firing can be like meeting the work for the first time.
Ceramics Now Magazine: You are studying Industrial Design at the Holon Institute of Technology, Israel, and recently you underwent a research project on clay extrusion. What are its concepts? Tell us about the technical process.
Max Cheprack: The extruding clay project started in the third year of my studies, for B.design in industrial design, when I first met the manual extruder in ceramics course. After learning various techniques in the field of ceramic design, I was fascinated by the option to create clay objects using replication. The Semi-industrial process of extruding clay enables the creation of precise and complex objects easily and quickly. Extrusion allows me to design the inside of the object, something that the rest of the techniques do not allow. Extruding technology allows to produce a closed and complex object, and therefore very strong. This allows the expansion of production beyond the products we know today. In addition, this technology brings new aesthetic to the ceramic field.
As an Industrial designer who is interested in manufacturing technologies, I moved away from the dies that come with the manual extruder Kit, and I began to assemble a set of basic dies with complex shapes. Later, I have built an extruder which works on pneumatic piston, in order to free both of my hands. This allows me to make variety of manipulations on the objects like bending and cutting. In order to explore the limits of this technology, I decided to make a stool. The stool is a challenging product for extruding clay process because it is a relatively big product, which must be strong enough to bear persons weight, and should be able to connect with other materials.
My inspiration is taken from a local element of the Middle East - Mashrabiya. Though the project ended as part of my design studies, for me he is a starting point to new possibilities in ceramic design.
Max Cheprack, Chairs made with the extruding machine
What was the most difficult part in creating the necessary tools for the project? Did you get any help?
The hardest part in this project was to understand the size relation between the size of the die and the amount of power that needed to push the clay. First I played with the manual extruder that we have in our workshop and then I made different dies to check how complex things can be. After realizing clearly how things are working I wanted to make the next step towards an extruder that will free both my hands to make manipulations on the objects while it is being extruded. I consulted with an engineer who just gave me a headache with schemes numbers and stuff that I couldn’t understand, so I decided to use a pneumatic piston as my base for the machine and after many trails with different pistons and die sizes I made one small extruder and one big extruder.
Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen / McKissick Museum
Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen / University of South Carolina McKissick Museum, Columbia, SC, USA May 26 – July 27, 2012
Some of the most imaginative and beautiful ceramics of the 20th century will be on display in an exhibition of Walter B. Stephen’s pottery May 26 – July 27 at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum.
Titled “Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen,” the exhibition will feature 76 rare examples of Stephen’s works, from the first pots that he fired near Nonconnah Creek in Tennessee to crystalline vessels produced at Pisgah Forest near Asheville.
Stephen, born in 1876 in Clinton, Iowa, was heavily influenced by his mother, but he soon began exploring and developing his own creative talents. In 1904, he established the Nonconnah Pottery in Tennessee, where he and his mother produced “paste on paste” cameo wares similar to Wedgwood’s Jasperwares. In 1913, he moved to the Asheville area, where he produced a variety of pottery until his death in1961.
The early Nonconnah pieces are dominated by matte-green glazes with floral designs. The later works made at the Pisgah Forest Pottery range from small, brightly glazed teapots and cups to monumental baptismal fonts. Cameo depictions of the American West include covered wagons, Indians hunting Buffalo and portraits of Bill Cody. Stephen also used imagery of the South such as mountain cabins, fiddlers and Gen. Robert E. Lee. His forms and glazes, particularly the crystalline glaze, were inspired by Asian ceramics.
Two events are planned in connection with the exhibition:
On June 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. the museum will host a reception, a gallery talk and a book signing featuring Rodney Leftwich, author of “Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen.”
From 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Friday, June 22, McKissick will host a symposium, “The Art of Collecting Southern Pottery.” Leftwich, Karen Swager of Brunk Auctions, crystalline potter Frank Neef, Winton Eugene and Rosa Eugene of Pottery by Eugene, and Barbara S. Perry, who writes about American ceramics, will participate.
The symposium is $40 for museum members and $50 for non-members.
Museum Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30 am - 5 pm. Saturday: 11 am - 3 pm. Closed Sundays and all University and State holidays. Open to the public free of charge.
Former Marine and ceramist Ehren Tool exhibits war awareness work at CAFAM.
Opening reception: Saturday, May 26, 6 – 9 pm.
“The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend.” – Abraham Lincoln
Coinciding with Memorial Day, the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) presents Ehren Tool: Production or Destruction, a solo exhibition of ceramist and former Marine, Ehren Tool. Emblazoned with the haunting imagery of armed conflict, Tool creates handmade ceramic cups as a medium to address war and the violent rhetoric and imagery used to perpetuate it. The exhibition will feature 1,000 handcrafted cups, video, installation, photographs, and printed materials.
Twenty years after his service in the first Gulf War, Tool’s firsthand contact with the reality of war is manifest in the thousands of cups he dutifully produces. The cups will be exhibited at CAFAM in “units” based on military formations of “squads” (13), “platoons” (55), and “companies” (225), serving as a visual reminder of each Marine within a military unit. Each cup is uniquely crafted, decorated with ceramic decals of soldiers’ photos, propaganda, war porn, and sculptural reliefs shaped like bombs, guns, or medals.
Recent events such as the Occupy movements and the incendiary language of current election campaigns figure strongly in his new work, as well as veteran suicides and stories of U.S. Marines desecrating bodies of the deceased. Other imagery alludes to the culpability of video games, toys, and pornography in desensitizing the public to the emotional toll of war.
Tool insists that his art is not anti-war, and prefers to characterize it as “war awareness” work. “It is not my intention to teach or preach. It is not possible to communicate the pain, waste, or intensity of war. My work deals with the uneasy collision, and collusion, between military and civilian cultures,” he says.
By putting people in contact with the imagery of war through an everyday household item, he hopes to make people think more often about war and it’s consequences in a meaningful way. “Letter to President Obama” (2009) is among the several letters he wrote to national and corporate heads urging them to consider the outcome of supporting continued war efforts. He also sent a cup to each of these leaders, which elicited responses from politicians such as Karl Rove.
Though the cups are functional drinking vessels, they are also memory objects that contain unspoken stories about fallen soldiers and wounded survivors. The installation “393” (2004) is a striking display of 393 shattered cups that represent the number of U.S. combat casualties during the first year of the second Gulf War. In the video “1.5 Second War Memorial,” a different cup is shot to pieces every 1.5 seconds, each signifying a soldier or civilian who has died in a war.
Tool will be on-site at CAFAM for an artist residency between June 1 and June 15, where he will set up a ceramic studio in the courtyard to encourage public conversations and share his work in progress. He will be giving away all the cups he makes at CAFAM.
Oh la la - Majolica… a Pottery Slam, by Peder Rasmussen and Michael Geertsen / Copenhagen Ceramics
Oh la la - Majolica … a Pottery Slam, by Peder Rasmussen and Michael Geertsen / Copenhagen Ceramics, Denmark May 24 - June 16, 2012
Artists talk: Saturday, 26 May at 2 pm.
With their common educational background in the now almost vanished pottery tradition, Danish ceramists Michael Geertsen and Peder Rasmussen are challenging themselves and each other in an exhibition-tour-de-force within a classic ceramics discipline, the Majolica – tradition. Not only have they produced their individual works – but occasionally they have left the decorating of their own pieces to the other.
Michael Geertsen and Peder Rasmussen both belong to the small group of contemporary ceramists, who also apprenticed as potters – in their certificates termed as free-hand-throwers. As young they found themselves in a world of age-old crafts and were thus among the last links in a very long chain.
Speaking of this, they say: ’We both share great love of classic pottery; of the idea of the vessel and the ceramic figure as artistic medium, even in a world being ever more technological, as far from our starting point as can be imagined. Does this show in our work? Is there any reminiscence of something archetypical still present in our otherwise highly contemporary expression? In our own opinion, yes! We actually insist that our education within a tradition-bound craft has imbued us with a deep respect for professionalism. It has also provided us with a reservoir of references – possibilities for ’professional quoting’. Anything goes. With the apprenticeship-certificate as baggage, we know that there are lots of unoccupied seats within the space of tradition’.
This time both ceramists work with Majolica, the age-old technique of white-glazed and decorated earthenware, known especially from the Italian renaissance. From the great artists of the Della Robbia dynasty or the Deruta-workshops. Hispano-Mauresque faience, too, has been in their view with its ornamentation, lustres and other metallic effects. The technique itself tempts with a richness of colour unequalled in other techniques, thus offering possibilities for new stories, stylistic approaches and quotes.
Crafts were prominent among the first works of art to enter the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art when it was founded in 1876, and the Museum has continued to collect and exhibit crafts. Today, thanks in large part to the Women’s Committee and gifts from individuals, the Museum is particularly well-known for its holdings of twentieth-and twenty-first-century American, European, and Asian craft.
With Craft Spoken Here, the Museum seizes the opportunity to experiment with its collection and to understand craft in an international context. Some forty contemporary works from 1960 to the present in ceramic, glass, metal, wood, lacquer, paper, and fiber—some by living, acclaimed artists and others by lesser-known creators—are on view. Representing the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe, the works highlight formal qualities that cross cultures, time, and media.
Craft Spoken Here features an array of engaging education programs and interpretive materials, including on-site artist demonstrations and hands-on craftmaking activities for the public.
The exhibition is divided into three sections. Essential Element looks at continuing importance of line—the graphic gesture—as an expressive and compositional element in the work of artists. Rebecca Medel’s The One (1985) uses a network of lines to form a dense cube of knotted cotton and linen threads, dark on its fringes and progressively lighter towards the center, which creates the illusion of a luminous sphere floating in an atmospheric haze. The second section, Shape Shifting, includes works in clay, glass, wood, metal, paper, and fiber materials that have been fashioned into sculptural forms. Motoko Maio’s Kotodama (2008) is a folding screen in silk and linen that can be adjusted to divide a room, provide privacy, or rest decoratively in a corner. The final section is Gesture, which includes works that offer visual and emotional cues, such as the chaotic, seemingly uncontrollable framework of Jessica Jane Julius’s Static (c. 2008), in which hundreds of black glass flameworked threads combine in a sculptural evocation of the artist’s reoccurring dream.
Curator Elisabeth Agro, The Nancy M. McNeil Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts
The exhibition is made possible by The Leonard and Norma Klorfine Foundation Fund for Modern and Contemporary Craft. Additional support is provided by the Windgate Charitable Foundation and the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In-kind support is provided courtesy of Lion Brand Yarn.
Langenthal retrospective / Musée Ariana, Geneva, Switzerland May 23 - November 25, 2012
Opening reception: Wednesday, May 22 at 6.30 pm.
#1 The Langenthal porcelain manufactory. From industrial design to Sunday china
The fascinating history of the only 20th century Swiss porcelain factory began in 1906 in the Bernese town of Langenthal. Deeply rooted in the Swiss identity, the porcelain manufactory Langenthal SA – affectionately known by its workers as the “Porzi” – became noted for its cutting-edge technology, the diversity of its products as well as the quality of its porcelain. The artistic output followed the dominant aesthetic currents of the century while still preserving its local character. From Art Nouveau and Art Deco to the deliciously “vintage” designs of the 1950s and 1960s, from pseudo-rustic to avant-garde propositions, from collaborations with artists and designers to the influence of the artistic directors of the manufactory, the history of Langenthal is closely linked to the evolution of taste.
This collaboration with the Langenthal manufactory has been an opportunity to update the rich archives : hand-painted design books, catalogues of forms and motifs, publicity leaflets and brochures, archive photos. Loans from public and private institutions enrich and complete the important collection of the Musée Ariana (over 1000 pieces). All the conditions have been met to allow a portrait to be drawn of 20th century industrial porcelain in Switzerland.
The History of A Courageous Project When some notables of the Bernese town of Langenthal decided to found a porcelain manufactory in July 1906, they were armed with a good dose of courage and staunch enthusiasm. Indeed, after a century without any porcelain manufacture in Switzerland, there were no raw materials and, more particularly, no specialized local workforce available. They had to start completely from scratch in order to rewrite Switzerland into the porcelain history books.
After a chaotic start, production became more organized and the manufactory began displaying its goods in specialized exhibitions and fairs with encouraging success. The outbreak of the First World War curbed this momentum. In 1937, in order to reduce its dependence on imported coal, the manufactory constructed the first 24-hour electric tunnel kiln. This technological breakthrough allowed the company to increase and diversify its production. After the Second World War, the manufactory enjoyed a heyday. The remarkable quality of the Swiss-made products enabled it to fight off the competitors. In 1964, the firm recorded the highest number of employees in its history, with 950 workers.
On 30 May 2012, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art will preview a solo exhibition dedicated to the filmic works of the Belgian artist David Claerbout. The exhibition features works spanning Claerbout’s practice from 2000 to the present. The time that remains will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in a London public gallery.
Claerbout situates his striking work between the complex worlds of digital photography and film, investigating this intermediate area in concise and thought-provoking installations. Claerbout’s films often depict everyday activities or events, which once digitally manipulated negate the linear passage of time. His work questions the viewer’s conventional ideas of time and narrative processes.
Filmed in a house designed by contemporary architect Rem Koolhaas and using the same episode shot at ten-minute intervals from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Bordeaux Piece, 2004, lasts nearly fourteen hours. Three actors repeat flat dialogue and use dramatic gestures. They seem to be the protagonists of the work, but as time goes by the narrative slowly collapses into the movement of the sun and the changing light of day. A different sense of time is created and the protagonist is now the natural world. This work contains Claerbout’s first use of dialogue.
The Algiers’ Sections of a Happy Moment, 2008, is set on a small soccer pitch on a roof of the Algiers casbah. Young men, surrounded by a group of elderly people, pause in their game as one of the players feeds a flock of eager seagulls. The succession of images in this ‘happy moment’ provides a reflection on what Claerbout terms ‘the suspicious gaze’. The artist uses the passage of time as a tool for moderating that suspicious gaze, and more generally as a means of reconsidering what we see.
Set within the rigorous architecture of Skywood House, near Denham in the UK, Sunrise, 2009, takes the viewer into near-total darkness. The film depicts a nocturnal scene inside the villa, where a maid goes about her usual routine while the inhabitants sleep. The camera follows her through the course of her work and finally films her as she cycles home along a country road under the rising sun, accompanied by an imposing piece of music by Rachmaninov.
Anat Shiftan: Stilled Life / Vessels Gallery, Boston, USA
Anat Shiftan: Stilled Life / Vessels Gallery, Boston, USA May 4 – May 27, 2012
Vessels Gallery is pleased to present Stilled Life, a solo exhibition of the new ceramic work of Anat Shiftan. Born in Israel, and with a degree from Hebrew University in English Literature and Philosophy, Shiftan received her MFA in Ceramics from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Design. In 2003, the artist joined the faculty at the State University of New York at New Paltz, School of Fine and Performing Arts, where she finds teaching essential to her creative process. She has participated in group exhibitions both nationally and internationally and was featured in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Biennale for Israeli Ceramicsas well as in the 4th Annual Jingdezhen Contemporary International Ceramics Exhibition, in Jingdezhen, China.
Shiftan is philosophically absorbed by nature and itsre-creation in art. She writes, “Looking at nature is a springboard for my artistic expression…” She is drawn in by the beauty of nature, the fluctuation between its symmetry and imbalance, its order and disarray. More importantly, however, she has become fascinated by the “packaging” of this nature as an art object throughout history. Shiftan is captivated by the human engagement with nature,by man’s desire to artistically capture what has been seen, andfinally by the process of doing it. This conversion from outside to inside, is just as much part of the subject matter as the clay itself.The artist works primarily in porcelain, and her pieces are markedly delicate and alluring, sometimes with sharp edges and coarse surfaces which may invite the viewer to look but not to touch.
Stilled Life continues Shiftan’s exploration of this dual role: nature in its own setting and nature domesticated. In her own words: “I contemplate the role of nature in artistic history, and I wonder if it is at all accessible to us today as a reality.”
The second edition of Ceramics Now Exhibition presents at Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, the works of 22 contemporary ceramic artists from 9 countries - Romania, USA, Canada, Israel, Italy, Ireland, United Kingdom, South Korea and Poland. The works of the Romanian artists who are presented in the exhibition are an addition to the 15 works that were exhibited in December 2011 at The Paintbrush Factory, Cluj-Napoca.
Through this exhibition, Ceramics Now Magazine is trying to bring together and open a dialogue between contemporary ceramic artists from all over the world - all working in different techniques and approaching a variety of subjects and motifs.
EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Arina Ailincăi (RO), Chang Hyun Bang (KR), Antonella Cimatti (IT), Patrick Colhoun (UK), Romana Cucu Mateiaş (RO), Carole Epp (CA), Simcha Even-Chen (IL), Shamai Gibsh (IL), Mark Goudy (US), Roxanne Jackson (US), Marta Jakobovits (RO), Margrieta Jeltema (IT), Maciej Kasperski (PL), Jim Kraft (US), Cynthia Lahti (US), Claire Muckian (IE), Connie Norman (US), Aniela Ovadiuc (RO), Oriana Pelladi (RO), Eugenia Pop (RO), Cristina Popescu Russu (RO), Liza Riddle (US).
Curator: Romana Cucu Mateiaş Coordinator: Vasi Hîrdo
The international exhibition “Ceramics Now” is an itinerary exhibition of contemporary ceramics which presents works that are featured in the issues of Ceramics Now Magazine. The goals of the exhibition are to raise visibility of contemporary ceramics in Romania. The exhibition reunites artists from different countries and communities, and facilitates contact between them and the public. Ceramics Now Magazine and Exhibition operate as an exchange platform between artists, galleries, museums, collectors and people passionate about art.
Ceramics Now Magazine is a comprehensive and innovative quarterly publication specialized in contemporary ceramics. Founded in 2011, the magazine features interviews, articles, reviews and works of emerging and world-renowned ceramic artists. It is distributed all over the world in a network of libraries, galleries, museums and institutions.
Reopened at the initiative of the Romanian Fine Arts Union in December 2011, Galateea Gallery is the first gallery of contemporary ceramics in Romania.
Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday, 12 am - 8 pm. Saturday,11 am - 7 pm.
Organized by Ceramics Now Association and the Romanian Fine Arts Union.
James Tower and Contemporary Ceramics / Gimpel Fils, London
James Tower and Contemporary Ceramics / Gimpel Fils, London April 26 - June 9, 2012
Private View: Thursday 26 April, 6-8 pm.
Uniting art, design, sculpture and craft, James Tower holds a unique position in the history of British ceramics. As an artist who consistently challenged the perceived limits of his medium, throughout his career Tower explored the sculptural and painterly potential of ceramic forms. His vessels, plates and sculptures are exhibited here alongside recent works by six contemporary artists in order to demonstrate that the questions he grappled with have yet to be resolved.
This exhibition explores the continuing problem of how artists who work in ceramics are classified: ceramist; sculptor; painter; artist. The relevance of these definitions is actively tested by the artists included in this exhibition, all of whom explore their ideas in multiple mediums. At Brighton Polytechnic Tower was Head of Sculpture, and yet his ceramic works were not regarded as such. Indeed, his sculptures and drawings were overlooked during his lifetime. Displaying objects and drawings together, Nicholas Lees explores what he regards as the porous membrane between ceramics and sculpture in order to demonstrate their reciprocity.
Placed side by side works by Tower, Gordon Baldwin and Ken Eastman encourage a dialogue between sculptural shape, painterly surfaces and, indeed between sculpture and vessel. Like Tower, Baldwin has utilized both sculptural form and abstract marks in his work, while Eastman’s engagement with colour, and Martin Smith’s exploration of light and surface demonstrate that to work in ceramics, is also to be a painter. The scratched designs, the striated lines and dashes over the concave or convex surfaces of Tower’s vessels and plates are indicative of his desire to create a synthesis between the form and surface.
Like his contemporaries, William Scott and Peter Lanyon, Tower sought to refine an abstracted style based on natural forms. The sea and its inhabitants provided motifs and compositional models that Tower adopted and adapted according to his artistic ideals; in Snow Forest, 1982, Tower’s use of textured surface is reminiscent of a shell, mollusc or crustacean. The universality of these natural forms find commonalities in Edith Garcia’s recent body of work Absence and Presence. In a series of pressed clay forms she considers our ability to find the human form in the most minimal of shapes, objects and natural phenomena. Caroline Achaintre has also looked to Lanyon in recent work; but her interest in modern art and its legacies defy categorical boundaries and as such might be understood as uncanny hybrids of utopian ideas and human emotions.
Art is useless because its aim is simply to create a mood. It is not meant to instruct, or to influence action in any way. It is superbly sterile, and the note of its pleasure is sterility. If the contemplation of a work of art is followed by activity of any kind, the work is either of a very second-rate order, or the spectator has failed to realise the complete artistic impression.
A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy. We gain a moment of joy by looking at it. That is all that is to be said about our relations to flowers. Of course man may sell the flower, and so make it useful to him, but this has nothing to do with the flower. It is not part of its essence. It is accidental. It is a misuse. All this is I fear very obscure. But the subject is a long one.
Truly yours, Oscar Wilde
As for each facet of our dice:
conceptual bricolage (Mihuţ Boşcu) CRAFTY AESTHETICS (Stefano Calligaro) synthesis and simultaneism (Radu Comşa) Objects of Speculation (Lucie Fontaine) more reason than rhyme (Florin Maxa) relational SELF-CONTAINED (Alex Mirutziu) /// THE INVISIBLE DRAGON (Aline Cautis)
Gallery hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 2–7 pm, and by appointment.
Cluj’s contemporary art has for years been the subject of special international attention. The term Cluj School in reference to new figurative painting – which appeared in the mid 2000s and has been the topic of debate ever since – and the Paintbrush Factory – which houses studios and independent cultural institutions – quickly became widely known in Europe. Of the Cluj artists, many have exhibited in such prestigious international venues as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, MoMA in New York, the Kunsthaus of Zurich, and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Their works have been discussed in internationally significant publications and they have collaborated with distinguished galleries. The art institutions of Cluj have notable networks of international connections and continuously host prominent foreign experts.
Artists: Marius Bercea, Zsolt Berszán, István Betuker, Mihuţ Boşcu, Răzvan Botiş, Mircea Cantor, Radu Comşa, Csaba Csiki, Duo van der Mixt, Oana Fărcaş, Adrian Ghenie, Simon Cantemir Hausi, Mihai Iepure Gorski, István László, Victor Man & Anna-Bella Papp, Szilárd Miklós, Dénes Miklósi, Alex Mirutziu, Nita Mocanu, Ciprian Mureşan, Cristian Opris, Cristi Pogacean, Victor Răcătău, Cristian Rusu, Şerban Savu, Leonardo Silaghi, Mircea Suciu, Péter Szabó, Sergiu Toma, Gabriela Vanga, Szabolcs Veres.
Curator: Judit Angel
The success story of Cluj is no overnight “miracle” however, as it is a continuously growing, multi-layered phenomenon. Its development and evolution have not only required exceptional artistic talent, inspiration and perhaps a bit of luck, but in the background, are also the result of mostly private initiatives, as well as an immense amount of work, an open attitude, persistence and conscious self-positioning on the part of independent art institutions.
The Műcsarnok exhibition aims to offer an authentic representation of the “Cluj phenomenon.” As a special point of interest, in addition to the artworks, the show also familiarizes viewers with the most important institutions of the local art scene, which are of many different types. These include centres that house contemporary art exhibitions and accommodate theatrical and dance productions, studios that experiment with digital media, publishing projects, as well as community and activist platforms. The University of Art and Design Cluj, with its strong emphasis on building international connections, also makes its appearance. The more than thirty artists and seventeen art groups and institutions that are featured in the exhibition have been selected with a focus on the – internationally also significant – developments in Cluj within the past decade.
ACGA National Clay & Glass Exhibition: Call for entry
ACGA National Clay & Glass Exhibition: Call for entry Entry Deadline: October 31, 2012
Dates: January 26 - March 1, 2013
The ACGA National Clay & Glass Exhibition will take place January 26 – March 1, 2013 near Los Angeles at the City of Brea Art Gallery. The exhibition will showcase a wide range of handmade ceramic and glass artwork from across the United States.
The juror is Carol Sauvion, Executive Director of Craft in America, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting the history, practitioners and techniques of craft in the United States, and their impact on our nation’s cultural heritage. The centerpiece of the Craft in America effort is its production of a nationally broadcast documentary series celebrating American craft and the artists who bring it to life. The Peabody Award winning Craft in America series airs nationwide on PBS.
The competition is open to all forms of handmade clay and glass: functional, decorative and sculptural. The deadline for submission is October 31th. The entry fee is $30 for three pieces of artwork. Awards will be given. The online entry form is available at www.acga.net.
The Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California (ACGA) is a non-profit membership organization begun in 1945. It is dedicated to establishing and maintaining high standards of craftsmanship and design in clay and glass.
Eligibility This competition is open to artists residing in the United States, 18 years or older. Artwork must be composed of at least 75% clay, glass, or a combination of the two, and may be functional or sculptural. All entries must be original and executed by the artist within the past two years. Works may not have been previously shown at the City of Brea Art Gallery.
Figure/Figurine / The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, USA
Figure/Figurine / The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, USA April 6 – April 29, 2012
The Clay Studio - Philadelphia’s premier non-profit ceramic arts organization is pleased to present Figure/Figurine. The exhibition, taking place in the Harrison Gallery of The Clay Studio’s Old City home at 137-139 N. Second Street, runs from April 6 – April 29, 2012. The public is cordially invited to attend.
For many contemporary artists working in clay sculpting representations of the human figure, associations with and references to the figurine are natural. Figurines, diminutive tabletop sculptures, representing man and or beast have lived in almost every home globally, regardless of place, culture or time. Early clay examples date back some 30000 years. Throughout time these figures have represented many things. From fertility icons to religious symbols, common man to Kings, from singular figures to ornate and complex compositions, these intimate sculptures commemorate(d) everyday and heroic acts, modern day folk and pop cultural figures, and historically significant events.
Artists participating in Figure/Figurine include Christyl Boger, Ann Agee, Jeremy Brooks, Carole Epp, Anna Noel, and Debbie Kupinsky. Each of these makers uses the history of the figurine to create works that live comfortably in our contemporary world.
The Clay Studio Founded in 1974, The Clay Studio is a non-profit educational art organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the ceramic arts and the work of new clay artists. The Clay Studio supports the ceramic arts through its artist residencies, gallery, studio space, school, and outreach programs. The Clay Studio believes in promoting broad access to the ceramic arts and gears its programs to all levels of interest and proficiency.
Gallery hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11 am - 7 pm, and Sunday, 12 - 6 pm.
Works of one of Oklahoma’s favorite potters, John Frank, are featured in a new exhibition, Oklahoma Clay: Frankoma Pottery, opening Friday, April 20, at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. The exhibit features a selection of work from Frank’s Oklahoma-based pottery factory that manufactured unique and collectable ceramics for more than 50 years. Highlights include a group of individual pieces made by the potter.
“This exhibit gives the University a great opportunity to honor the pioneer contributions made by John Frank to our School of Art, especially our ceramics program,” said OU President David L. Boren. “He came from the Chicago Arts Institute to start the ceramics program at OU. Using Oklahoma clay, he shaped ceramic pieces that would make him well known across Oklahoma and even around the world. Countless Oklahoma dinner tables were graced with his dinner ware.”
“It is a great pleasure to celebrate the life and works of a true Oklahoma artist,” said Ghislain d’Humières, director of the art museum at OU. “John Frank’s legacy continues both in the artistic integrity and the continued collectivity of works created in his factory nearly 80 years ago.”
In 1927, Frank founded a ceramics program at OU, where he taught for eight years. While teaching at the university, he established Frankoma Pottery, using local clays with colors and designs symbolic of the Southwest and Great Plains.
The April 20 opening for Oklahoma Clay: Frankoma Pottery is preceded by a daylong symposium at the museum. Scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Decorative Arts and the American West – the seventh biennial symposium of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West – is free and open to the public, with a nominal charge for an optional luncheon. Noted scholars, museum curators and art historians will discuss such diverse topics as ranch-style furniture, regionally inspired pottery and silver-mounted saddles.
“The impulse to decorate is strong. The push to create a border or impose a structured order on the already beautiful order of the (chaotic) natural world is compelling. Humans have always done so.
My work draws from and responds to visual idioms found throughout human history. Visual languages flow from culture to culture and through time; I explore how the changes of motifs and technologies show development and transformation in societies. I draw from our species’ long and intimate relationship with our surroundings, both natural and man-made. To that end, I use a variety of mostly found and repurposed clays to refer to both the contributions of previous makers in our collective art history and the stratigraphy of the Earth. My work is influenced by archaeology, geology, industry and the commonality of human experience through time and across culture.” Patricia Sannit
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Patricia Sannit received her BA in ceramics, Art History and Norwegian from the University of Minnesota and her MFA from the California College of Arts. She now lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Sannit’s work is influenced by her experiences excavating in the Near East and Ethiopia. Sannit’s most recent project is a large-scale ceramic installation, Citadel, based on an archeological site in Iraq. “I am interested in the story of the earth, our species, and pots. History is manifest in the scarred and worn surface of our planet and in a pot well made and well used.”
Lacquer Sculptures by Murata Yoshihiko / Keiko Gallery, Boston
Silhouette ’12, Lacquer Sculptures by Murata Yoshihiko / Keiko Gallery, Boston, USA April 7 – May 7, 2012
Artist Reception: April 7, 3 — 6 pm.
From its beginning, Keiko Gallery has been committed to introducing contemporary Japanese lacquer art to the American public. We are pleased to announce the first solo exhibition by a gifted young lacquer artist, MURATA Yoshihiko, whose work relies heavily on the external play of light and shadow. His recent lyrical Silhouette focus on anthropomorphic forms whose lines twist and turn, swell and fade, like the sounds from a musical instrument. Simple, exquisite and profound, they share much in common with the brief poetic form, haiku.
Among the increasing number of well trained and gifted young Japanese lacquer artists, each of whose work is idiosyncratic, Murata Yoshihiko’s work relies distinctively on the external play of light that creates silhouettes which extend his forms and flow indistinguishably from the sculptural pieces themselves into their shadows.
Like his slender anthropomorphic forms, his occasional use of the contrasting brilliance of raden (mother-of-pearl) reflects his early fascination with the elaborate hair ornaments (kanzashi) once worn by oiran,* the high ranking goddesses of Japan’s traditional entertainment world. When he was a student in lacquer at Kanazawa College of Art — a city once famous for its entertainment quarter — he first discovered images of these courtesans whose extravagant attire and richly ornamented hair styles had captured the imaginations of most artists of Ukiyoe, the paintings and wood block prints featuring the demimonde of the Floating World. In studying these images he realized that many of the hair ornaments suggested creature-like aspects. This resulted in his exploration of small sculptures that evoked creatures of the wild.
Murata currently lives in the rural part of Japan’s Toyama Prefecture which is famous for its natural beauty and a wide variety of wild life. His encounters with the animals continually inspires his recent sculpted silhouettes.
Within the framework of the 1st Santorini Biennale of Arts in 2012, ceramic artists and potters are invited to send in their artworks for consideration for this international exhibition at which a meeting of artists from all over the world will present their latest achievements.
The 2012 theme, ‘The Past: Memory and Nostalgia’, will examine intrinsic experiences and social relationships, inspired by how humanity accumulates a catalog of our personal fabric and how these collected manifestations shape the patterns of our lives. The subject ‘The Past’ is an integral part of Ceramics. The medium reflects the Past by default. But we are asking for more than the obvious reference of technique, we want interpretations of scenarios, memories or objects from the Past, contemporary or otherwise. We want to forge pathways of communication linking the Past and Present. Special consideration will be given to artworks relating to Ceremony & Ritual and also to those that will form a connection with the space they will be presented within.
The mission of the Biennale is to promote both emerging and established artists through a wide variety of disciplines; from Drawing, Graphic Design, Illustration, Collage and Comics, through Paper, Painting, Glass, Sculpture and Ceramics, to Photography, Short Film, Video Art, Installation and Industrial Design. By means of an advanced framework of outreach activities the Biennale will also seek to cultivate the emerging spirit of the island, inviting all participants into an open dialogue concerning new ideas for social change.
The curatorial team Dimitra Bratika and Michael Vlavianos (Photography), Sara Falanga (Glass Art and Graphic Art), iLya (Comics), Rajesh Punj (Sculpture and Installation), Alexa Kusber (Industrial Design), Tracey Holt Walkden (Ceramic Art), Tomas Poblete (Collage), Paola Gentili (Paper), Nicky Peacock (Illustration), Simon Tarrant (Painting), Anneca York (Drawing) and Holly Bynoe (Video Art and Short Film).
The open call for artist submissions is from March 6 through May 19, 2012.
“The basic elements in my work are the materials: clay and glaze. I enjoy engaging in expressive ceramic experiments that test the boundaries of material and form. I often take my point of departure in nature’s principles and regularities of form. This results in strange inscrutable sculptural growths and large wild and amorphous nature abstractions that may be both lush and melancholic with an expression of beauty in both growth and decay.” Bente Skjøttgaard
“Bente Skjøttgaard is a ceramist: she was born in 1961. In much the same manner as a runner or an existential philosopher, she is cultivating her material, which is clay overcoated with an application of glaze. She is a master of her field and she is “inside” the clay in the sense that she is challenging herself each and every time she creates a new work. The glazed pieces are constantly becoming larger and more voluminous, with interiors consisting of complicated constructions, as is the case inside a person or an animal, a prehistoric creature or another biological phenomenon. And the beauty cannot be mistaken. It is a kind of primeval nature, but accordingly a nature that is created both from within and from without, in the course of a protracted reciprocal interplay.” Excerpt from “Elements in white”, a text By Erik Steffensen - Professor at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.