Tim Rowan was born in 1967 in New York City and grew up in Connecticut, along the shore of Long Island Sound. His art education began during college, receiving a BFA from The State University of New York at New Paltz before journeying to Japan for 2 years to apprentice with ceramic artist Ryuichi Kakurezaki. Upon his return he worked briefly in studios in Massachusetts and New York before receiving his MFA from Pennsylvania State University.
He established his kiln and studio deep in the woods of the Hudson Valley in 2000, where he lives with his wife and son. His work has been represented in solo and group exhibitions internationally, most recently having solo shows at Yufuku Gallery in Tokyo, Japan and Cavin-Morris Gallery, in New York City. In September, 2013, Tim Rowans ceramic sculptures will be represented in a solo exhibition at Lacoste Gallery, in Concord, Massachusetts.
Rowans’ work is made, primarily, from native clay, direct from the earth and unprocessed. He works with geologists to locate local clay deposits and hand-digs selected sections of earth. The “impurities” in the clay are left to reveal themselves, upon sculpting and firing. The forms are slowly constructed from layers, built up over days and weeks, then hand-carved. They are fired for seven days and nights in a woodfueled kiln. No glaze is applied; the surface textures and colors are the result of the interaction of the clay, fly-ash, coals and fire.
Turn, Weave, Fire, and Fold: Vessels from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection / SFO Museum, San Francisco
Turn, Weave, Fire, and Fold: Vessels from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection / SFO Museum, San Francisco January 25 - June 1, 2014
New exhibition presents an exploration of the vessel in work by Bob Stocksdale, Kay Sekimachi, June Schwarcz, and James Lovera.
Collector Forrest Merrill has an affection for the vessel. Its form, sometimes alluding to the sensuous curves of a human body, holds irresistible appeal for him. So too does its familiar scale, which allows a vessel to be cradled in the palms of one’s hands. Forrest’s first art acquisition was in 1950 at a clay and glass exhibition in Pasadena, California, that he attended with his high school art club. With forty dollars earned from cutting neighbors’ lawns the previous summer, Forrest purchased a slumped-glass salad set by Glen Lukens, a pioneer in studio crafts then teaching at U.S.C. in Los Angeles. Forrest’s newly discovered passion for the vessel led to his collecting Scandinavian ceramics while attending the University of Stockholm in Sweden. After settling in Northern California, he became close friends with Bauhaus-trained potter Marguerite Wildenhain, who worked and taught at her studio in the hills above Guerneville, California. It was Wildenhain whom Forrest credits as the influence who encouraged him “to not only look, but to see.”
The San Francisco Bay Area was an exciting place during the 1960s, especially in the world of crafts, with local artists pushing the boundaries in every medium. Forrest took full advantage of their close proximity, and his acquisitions were decidedly personal. It was during this period that Forrest discovered the elegant bowls of wood turner Bob Stocksdale at the Berkeley home-furnishings store Fraser’s. Forrest approached the artist with an offer of wood from trees that he had cut down in his yard, and thereafter acquired a bowl that Bob made from that very wood. This was the beginning of a rich and enduring friendship with both Stocksdale and his wife, fiber artist Kay Sekimachi. Celebrated for her sculptural monofilament hangings and woven room dividers, Sekimachi was exploring vessel forms at the time, which materialized as woven boxes and baskets, and leaf bowls.
In 1974, Forrest met artist June Schwarcz at an exhibition of her enamel vessels at the Anneberg Gallery in San Francisco. An invitation of tea and conversation at June’s Sausalito home and studio led to a close relationship, which they have enjoyed for decades. And it was an invitation to lunch that sparked Forrest’s friendship with potter James Lovera, just prior to Lovera’s retrospective exhibition at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento in 2006. Forrest had admired Lovera’s ceramics offered at Gump’s gallery in San Francisco as early as the 1960s, and he has since acquired a number of Lovera’s vessels, more recently collecting the artist’s work in depth.
Clara Garesio: Desired lands / Linee Contemporanee, Salerno, Italy
Clara Garesio: Desired lands / Linee Contemporanee, Salerno, Italy January 24 - February 15, 2014
"Giving a definition of the work by Clara Garesio is fortunately impossible, since it moves beyond stereotypes or fashions. Indulges in an impulse, driven by the need to communicate their feelings, here and now , it relies on the uncertainty of the fire, as in a trance track marks in a game of bold geometric shapes and colors of scanned drunkenness explosive , eagerly awaiting the result and awe , because – as the artist says - every piece is the battle between my mind and the material that I use , and sometimes losing is just as wonderful." And here are the vessels of the slender forms, architectures dream , the perforated tiles, plates, rounds, translucent balls, terracotta reliefs soaring, archetypal installations and tiles lit by red, blue, green and yellow in harmonious contrast where the size of plastic, combined with the dynamic coloring of enamel, resulting in the tale of cloistered life that you look at the world . The icon are eyes wide on eternity and the hands that reach out beyond time and space to touch the infinite. But the symbol, the recognizable signature of Garesio, is the mandala , the magic circle, the transience and rebirth , the destructive force that becomes a source of life." Erminia Pellecchia, 2013
Clara Garesio was born in Turin, Italy, in 1938. She started her artistic career in ceramics and decoration at the age of 10 at the famous Civica Scuola di Arte Ceramica in Turin, Italy. In 1955 she was admitted to the “Istituto Statale d’Arte per la Ceramica” in Faenza (Italy) where completed her studies in 1957. In 1956 she was awarded first prize in the “International ceramic competition of Faenza”, Faenza (Italy) and in 1957 she was appointed by the Faenza Institute of Ceramics to create the pottery collection commissioned by the Persian Court. In 1957 she started teaching ceramics at the l’Istituto Statale d’Arte di Isernia where she was Head of the Ceramics Department for eight years. In 1960 she won an award in the National Competition for Decoration of the Istituto Statale d’Arte di Castelli (Teramo, Italy) and In 1961 the Italian Ministry of Education appointed her as founding artist of the “Istituto Professionale di Stato per l’Industria e l’Artigianato della Porcellana Caselli” in Naples, where she taught Porcelain decoration and ornamental plastics for 10 years. Since 1981 she served as head of the ceramic department of public schools in Naples until retirement from teaching in 2000. Since 2001 she was appointed Professor Emeritus of the School of Fine Arts in Naples, Italy While Clara Garesio’s best known works are ceramic and porcelain, she has worked in a variety of materials and other media. In addition to commissions in ceramic and porcelain, she has worked in ceramic relief and tile murals, concrete, glass, fabricated metal and plastic sculptures and jewels, and design of colorful tapestries.
Ceramics Now Magazine announces open Call for Papers (Issue 3)
Ceramics Now Magazine is pleased to announce an open Call for Papers, for consideration in Issue 3 Deadline for submissions: March 7, 2014
We welcome contemporary ceramics-related research papers that are lively and engaged with current ideas and debates. The call for papers is open to any author, and any original text involving ceramic art criticism, history or theory will be considered for publication. We would also welcome all submissions that enter the following categories: exhibition, book or project reviews, and conversations.
Submissions (.docx or .doc files) should be emailed to Vasi Hirdo, Editor-in-Chief, at firstname.lastname@example.org Also include your CV and a brief biography.
Accepted articles will be published in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue 3. All credit will be given to the writers, and the articles will be promoted to our readers through Ceramics Now’s website and social media pages. Please note that publishing with Ceramics Now is done on a voluntary basis and will not be remunerated.
Earthen Bodies: Ceramics as Sculptural Form / Slocumb Galleries, Johnson City, Tennessee
Earthen Bodies: Ceramics as Sculptural Form / Slocumb Galleries, Johnson City, Tennessee January 21 - February 14, 2014
The ETSU Department of Art & Design and Slocumb Galleries in partnershp with the Urban Redevelopment Alliance present “Earthen Bodies: Ceramics as Sculptural Form” from January 21 to February 14, at the Tipton Gallery. Some of the participating artists will discuss their work during the reception on February 7, First Friday from 6 to 8 p.m.. In addition, the ArtIfact gallery talk is scheduled on February 13, Thursday at 6 p.m. to discuss the exhibit as it explores the diverse sculptural forms created by artists working on figurative clay in the region.
Most often, ceramics is associated with vessels and utilitarian objects, and has provided an excellent array of functional forms overshadowing its aspect as equally remarkable medium for other sculptural configurations. This show is curated to celebrate the figurative and non-utilitarian form of ceramic as art form. Ceramics is one of the more popular and established craft media in Southern Appalachian region, and this malleable medium has evolved to various permutations and tactile experimentations. The exhibition “Earthen Bodies” features works that provide diverse perspectives and a range of styles and utilization of ceramics as medium for sculpture.
The invited artists from the Tri-states of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia are Sally Brogden, Melisa Cadell, Carol Gentithes, Mindy Herrin, Kevin Kao, Richard Kortum, Val Lyle, AJ Masterson, and Ed Miller. Curated by Karlota Contreras-Koterbay.
ETSU faculty Mindy Herrin and alumni Melisa Caddell both create meticulous and complex figurative sculptures, mostly investigating the female body fabricated with other media such as encaustics and metal works. Herrin describes her work as depicting dialogue as surfacing in the “guise of affliction or struggle.” Her anatomical heroines illustrate women’s physical struggle and mental perspectives in its aspiration to overcome the body’s limitation. In parallel, Cadell’s elongated, and at times emaciated or mutated figures are visualization of her thoughts on “confinement and transcendence of the human body”, often as efforts to provoke dialogue on issues such as mortality and the unexpected consequences of genetics and technology.
This common thread of employing the female body is also prevalent on the works of Val Lyle. Lyle’s ceramic torsos made from clay are gestural forms that are characterized as sensual, organic and emotive as the artist strives to relate to the viewers on a “primitive level”.
Last year’s Positive Negative national juried exhibit’s Best of Show awardee Kevin Kao’s work also explores the human form, yet his figures portray a very different crowd from the female sculptors in the exhibition. Most obvious are the androgynous or male subjects and its uncanny statement on race and identity. Kao’s “character-objects are surreal images that portray whimsy, pain and satisfaction,” at times reminiscent of ‘super flat’ aesthetics and anime generation. This younger generation of Kao, Ed Miller and AJ Masterson employ humor on their work, at times anthropomorphing animal figures. In this era of social networking, artists like Miller who considers his work as form of journalism as he “observe the world and report my findings through sculpture”, it is not surprising to find quirky LOL animals and complex ‘selfies’ in 3D.
Being Here & Being Thus. Sculpture, Object & Stage / Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt
Being Here & Being Thus. Sculpture, Object & Stage / Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt January 23 - April 13, 2014
Opening reception: Thursday, January 23, 2014, from 8 pm.
The world of things seems to be dissolving. Due to digitalization, our living environment is rapidly becoming more and more immaterial—despite the unlimited amount of consumer items that we encounter on a daily basis. At the same time, it is possible to observe a growing interest in the lost and changing materiality of the world around us. Recently the cultural and social sciences announced a “material turn.” One is discovering the material aspects of knowledge production and social practices as well as the material aspects of communication processes and aesthetic production. Also in sculpture a reassessment of materials, things, and objects seems to be taking place. Bringing together unusual elements, artists are creating a new formal language, which produces a confrontation between the things as they are and the aesthetic of materials.
The exhibition Being Here & Being Thus. Sculpture, Object & Stage presents works by nine artists who use sculpture in a variety of ways. They combine additive and subtractive processes, the manipulation of scale, and installation. Things and materials are cast, folded, glued, carved, and cut; they are combined with additional elements to underscore or minimize physical, symbolic, or narrative qualities. The exhibition unfolds as an exploration of the concepts of “sculpture,” “object,” and “stage.” Some works appear to viewers as a physical counterpart. Others consist of elements, whose former purpose is still recognizable. Nevertheless, the original function of the object is underscored. A third group of works take the form of spatial arrangements that can be entered, variables in a temporary situation in which inter-relationships play a primary role—with the viewer as a component of the work. All works in the exhibition “Being Here & Being Thus” are characterized by an immediate quality. As technical or organic configurations, they convey a character, an expressiveness, and an immense presence, referring thereby to nothing beyond themselves.
Exhibited artists: Maria Anisimowa, Peter Buggenhout, Sandra Havlicek, Sofia Hultén, Sabine Kuehnle, Thomas Moecker, Simon Rübesamen, Michael E. Smith, Andrea Winkler Curators: Holger Kube Ventura and Lilian Engelmann
In the first U.S. exhibition of her one-of-a-kind Meissen sculptures, Arlene Shechet presents works she produced during a recent artist residency at the world-renowned German porcelain manufacturer. Arlene Shechet: Meissen Recast is a two-part exhibition on view at the RISD Museum from January 17 to July 6, 2014.
It is the utilitarian factory casts behind fine porcelain production, rather than the ornate ceramic confections, that inform Shechet’s “Meissen” series. Her range of sculpture brings to the fore the seams, plate impressions, indentations, inventory numbers, and other evidence of the industrial process that an 18th-century Meissen craftsman would have sought to erase. Almost every sculpture on view in the Museum’s Upper Farago Gallery is derived from one or more of 47 historic Meissen mold patterns, reconceived in unanticipated combinations of forms and scale. Shechet’s complete reinstallation of the Museum’s historic Meissen collection of figurines and tableware in the Porcelain Gallery completes the two-part show—connecting the past and present, fine arts and decorative arts.
“The Museum is excited to present this compelling new work by RISD alumna Arlene Shechet,” says John W. Smith, director of the RISD Museum. “Meissen Recast extends the Museum’s long and groundbreaking tradition of encouraging artists to use the collection—dating from Andy Warhol’s Raid the Icebox (1970) to Spencer Finch’s Painting Air exhibition (2012). By moving some of RISD’s Meissen figures—including the famous Monkey Band—from their normal location in the Porcelain Gallery to the contemporary Upper Farago Gallery and, conversely, inserting her own porcelain sculptures into the cases of the more traditional, wood-paneled room, she heightens our awareness and appreciation for the refined historical pieces and her own more organic, intuitive approach.”
Adjunct RISD Museum curator and exhibition organizer Judith Tannenbaum adds, “Arlene Shechet has become well known for ceramic sculpture that reveals the nature of her materials and working process. By casting fine porcelain in the Meissen factory’s forms designed for plaster, she makes fine porcelain objects out of industrial molds. The surprise is that by looking behind the scenes of this luxury production, which once represented a high-water mark in culture, she has created a body of work that is virtuosic in entirely contemporary terms.”
During her 2012-2013 residency at the Meissen Manufactory, Shechet gained access to all areas of the renowned production facility—working alongside Meissen artisans, learning their techniques, using their tools, and observing the company’s internal traditions. “If there is a common thread in these works, it is my desire to leave a remnant of the memory of the factory. So if a screw is there, I might have cast it along with a fingerprint—I find these inadvertent traces to be beautiful and also thrilling, because they show the original thought that went into the porcelain making and, perhaps, even something of the worker,” the artist explains.
Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present “Nucleus” an exhibition of new ceramic sculpture by the prolific and compelling California based artist, David Hicks. This is his third solo show at our gallery.
“I am still digging in the dirt to understand my attraction to the agricultural,” the artist says of this new body of work. Though Hicks continues in these botanic and organic themes, his compositions have opened up and become less dense – no longer hanging down with the force of gravity from vertical wires. The new work is metaphorically blossoming. His array of gourd-like shapes of various textures, hues and dimensions are now suspended from a metal armature fixed to the wall, projecting outward like sconces, flower-like, hovering in space.
In her 2013 review of Hicks’ 2011 exhibition, “Farewell” at our gallery for Ceramic Art and Perception, Janet Koplos described Hicks’ sculpture; “the works are wonderfully sensuous abstractions (as all pottery can be) and are especially appealing for both color and texture”.
Every element is unique and unfamiliar, inhabiting a place in one’s imagination between associations: at once a cantaloupe or pear, then a beached bouy, an insect pod, a bird’s nest or an exotic dirt encrusted seed. Koplos describes the density of Hicks’ previous work; “But the numbers, the depth of accumulation and the softly worn surfaces hint that they have been retired and frugally held in reserve. It is a library of objects”. Though the artist still draws from that library, the new presentation is more precious, now demanding examination and appreciation for the individual elements rather than focusing the viewer’s attention on the clustered mass. The ceramic forms are one-by-one lovingly harnessed into fitted brackets, more akin to diamond settings now than the sinkers on fishing lines of the past. Even with the artist’s fresh approach and careful selection, his paring down on the amount of objects in the sculptures, Hicks is far from being a minimalist. His wall pieces continue the artist’s themes of nature’s abundance and excess, the forces of bearing fruit and multiplying.
The sense of planting seeds is even more obvious in the two pedestal pieces in the show that sit tree-like with a central weighted stalk, branching out with the ceramic forms perched on and suspended from the metal limbs. We are tempted with the tactile rawness, to pick the heavy fruit before it drops.
David Hicks received his B.F.A. from California State University, Long Beach, CA. and his M.F.A. from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. His work is in several prominent collections including the World Ceramic Museum, Icheon, Korea, the American Museum of Ceramic Art–AMOCO, Pomona CA, the American Embassy in Figi through the State Department’s, Art in Embassies program and the Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe, AZ. He lives and works in Visalia CA. with his wife and new baby daughter.
Residency description The Byrdcliffe Artist in Residence program provides artists of exceptional talent with uninterrupted time and creative space to research and create new work. Lasting four weeks (or a possible eight weeks for ceramic artists), residencies provide artists with private studio space within a community of peers and the serene natural setting of the Byrdcliffe Art Colony. Artists are invited to participate in open studios, work-shares, communal dinners and field trips, or may spend their residency working in the creative solitude of a private studio. Byrdcliffe’s residencies are particularly beneficial to those who find it restorative to live in a simple, communal environment in close proximity to natural beauty.
Surrounded by the Catskill Mountains and just west of the Hudson River, the Byrdcliffe Art Colony is home to over 80 artists each year, fifty of whom are hosted by the Artist in Residence Program. Beyond the AIR program, the Colony is comprised of more than a dozen artist cottages, the Byrdcliffe Theater, the Byrdcliffe Barn, a tennis court and the Mt. Guardian hiking trail, as well as the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts which is located in the center of Woodstock. Byrdcliffe hosts a regular schedule of artist talks, exhibitions, concerts, theater productions and guided hikes, most of which are year-round. Public events allow artists the opportunity to connect with the community at large. At Byrdcliffe creative time is sacrosanct, and artists are given free rein to decide what activities will contribute to their residency experience. Byrdcliffe offers a unique experience in simplicity of living amid the natural beauty of a 250 acre campus of protected fields and woodland. At the same time, Byrdcliffe provides the opportunity to live in a community of creative people of all ages and backgrounds who are dedicated to honoring the creative spirit.
Eligibility The main criterion for acceptance to Byrdcliffe’s AIR program is artistic excellence and a demonstrated commitment to one’s field of endeavor. Byrdcliffe seeks to pull together artists from varying perspectives and demographics, engaging in a broad range of artistic practices. Emerging as well as established artists are invited to apply.
Ceramics: Please apply using the Visual Artists’ online application! Byrdcliffe accepts artists working in handbuilding and wheelthrowing techniques. To be eligible for the residency, artists must have prior experience in glaze mixing and kiln firing.
Selection Committee Residents are chosen by a selection committee of professionals in the arts. The major criterion for acceptance is proof of serious commitment to one’s field of endeavor. Professional recognition is helpful for admission, but is not essential.
Panelists in the past have included: Gregory Amenoff, Jake Berthot, Joan Snyder, Portia Munson, Melissa Meyer and Donald Elder and literary panelists included Gail Godwin, Matthew Spireng, Martha Frankel (fiction), Olga Broumas (poetry), Gus Schulenburg, Evangeline Morphos, Rob Handel and Nancy Golladay (BMI Faculty).
We are very excited to invite you to our newest exhibition with our first contemporary master ceramicist Gareth Mason. Following a show at the American Museum of Ceramic Art and an exhibition at the Korea Cultural Center in London. Gareth will be having his second solo exhibition at Jason Jacques Gallery. We are Publishing a 200 page catalog of Gareth’s work and the first publication of a series of letters between Gareth Mason and Ceramics collector Richard Jacobs which is a discourse of the nature of art and ceramics collecting. We are planning a series of lectures between Gareth Mason and his favorite Collector Richard Jacobs more information in the new year.
Gareth Mason new sculptural vessels are inspired by humanity’s connection to fire “Fire is humanity’s muse. Since the earliest humans pondered the nature of the sun, fire has captivated us with its mysterious force. Hominid fire — progenitor of dreams — spur to our noblest and most terrifying achievements, key to our aspirations and inextricable from the survival of our race, it burns literally and metaphorically in a place distinct from all other stimuli and matter. No wonder then that fire holds such creative potency for the human brain; as we gaze into its depths we ever behold a power of poetic and epic proportions. Of all the arts; silicate, ferric, kinetic, dramatic, sonic, plastic; of whatever place in the assumed hierarchy of creative genres, ceramics offers a unique spotlight on this most potent element. Through ceramics, it is possible to ‘fire’ the imagination and the spirit because ceramic metamorphosis is redolent of human experience. This belief underpins all my ceramic work. The igneous fusion of materials is analogous to human emotion. This is fertile ground for creative exploration and discovery.
"Suddenly a voice is heard from 1+1… One is quiet, whereas two is loud. 1+1 represents something more than a simple mathematical equation and the solution to this equation “2” is more than a number. It is an option against singularity.
The ceramic work of Betül Demir Karakaya and Gökçe Özer show us how different ones can add up to “2”. Özer’s ceramic sculptures portraying small heads on twirling bodies with hearts that have turned into black buttons carry the signs of a quiet but threatening power, while sculptures with open mouths, made using the same technique, create a place to hide from this threat. Whereas Demir’s ceramic bells give the signals of giving up an artist’s competence. With the game,she has extended an invitation to the audience by presenting a way to speak with them. Soil, that has been the common heritage of human kind, accumulates with a voice from two different languages in two female artists’ hands.
Ceramic works of Özer and Demir that have chosen two’s dynamism, instead of the competence of one -that isolates, makes blind and fattens- and two’s dialogue, instead of one’s monologue, will meet its audience at Terakki Art.” Words by Hazal Aksoy
Betül Demir Karakaya was born in 1978 in Izmir-Turkey, and started art education at Stragonov Moscow State University of Industrial and Applied Arts in 1998. Graduated from Hacettepe University Fine Arts Faculty Ceramics Department in 2002. In 2010 she has concluded her MFA at Anadolu University Institute of Fine Arts with the theme “Ceramic Bells Throughout History”. She is writing her PhD thesis at the same institute. She has many art pieces at private and public collections, including MIC Faenza International Ceramic Museum. She works at Karatekin University Fine Arts Faculty Ceramics Department as a lecturer.
Gökçe Özer was born in 1984 in Afyon. In 2002, she graduated from Ankara Anatolian High School of Fine Arts, Department of Painting, and in 2010 she graduated from Anadolu University Faculty of Fine Arts Ceramics Department. She studied as an exchange student between 2009-2010 at Universitat zu Köln. Presently she is working as a research assistant at Anadolu University Faculty of Fine Arts ceramic department and studied MA at the Institute of Fine Arts on ‘Influence of Wabi-sabi Aesthetic on Japanese Ceramic Art’. Currently she is a PhD candidate at Anadolu University Institute of Fine Arts.
"Since 20 years I have been working on the archetype of the mushroom. It has been a search for a form that could be a sculpture with two different lives. A mushroom during daytime with an obvious and colourful expression capturing the light, and at night an abstract form giving light.
As a sculptor I want to reshape the form from day to night, solely with light: the daylight, which shines upon the sculpture and the artificial light, which comes from within and erases the material form. After researching the form, I experimented with different colours as a means to alter the meaning of the form. Like abstract painters use colours to give a meaning to their work, I do in a three dimensional way.
Artists have been expressing feelings through the sea, nudes or geometric forms. Why not use mushrooms? They have a lot of meaning in life. Basically you can eat them and may be poisoned. There is the hallucinating effect of some of the exotic species. The sexual connotation of the mushroom is in many cultures an important element of mythology. In essence, mushrooms bring me to the big themes of art: life, love and death, and last but not least to humour.”
Mudac’s latest contemporary glass art exhibition, Living Glass, presents a broad selection of works and installations by today’s glass creators of many nationalities—Swiss, European, American and Asian. Bearing witness to the very idea of glass art, pieces ranging from sculpture to edition design all translate the museum conservation team’s open and ongoing approach, as assisted and supported by the Collection’s patron.
The ensuing major canvassing program has brought to light the incredible diversity and dynamism of the contemporary scene with respect to such a singular and demanding material. This new set of works represents a very far-spreading, overall view of contemporary glass art production in Switzerland and around the world. Today, joining those regions and countries that first launched the major groundbreaking trends reinstating glass internationally, there are countless initiatives by artists and designers who have forgone any formal education in the mastery of this material. Designers and artists are linking up with master glass artists to work together. As a result, on the one hand, today’s glass art features spectacularly intricate and beautifully mastered pieces with an undeniably aesthetic impact and, most importantly, encompassing the tradition and know-how of the famous major centers of the second half of the 20th century. These now exist side-by-side with more experimental pieces that can even be highly conceptual, and are often very singular in shape or statement. In their fascination with the very particular world of glass art production, the latest generation of artists and designers now test, experiment and question the practices such production entails, but always—and necessarily—in tandem with today’s master glass artists. The many pathways being travelled by creators stemming from at times very distant horizons attest to the liveliness of the contemporary glass art scene. Mudac is happy to put its acquisitions policy at the service of that scene’s plurality and dynamism.
Published jointly by La Bibliothèque des Arts and mudac, a trilingual publication, Le verre vivant [Living Glass] accompanies this exhibition. This richly illustrated volume featuring some fifty of mudac’s recent acquisitions, encompasses contributions by art dealers and promoters, and by designers, artists and curators from many European countries. It promises pleasurable reading for both the general public and confirmed specialists.
Museum hours: September-October: Tuesday to Sunday, 11.00 - 18.00 July-August: Monday to Sunday, 11.00-18.00 Open on official holidays, including Mondays.
Ceramics has come a long way since its’ humble beginnings as crude decorations and simple pottery wares thousands of years ago. It has evolved to become an important medium within the world of the Fine and Decorative Arts whereby its’ previous boundaries are constantly being pushed and our perceptions challenged.
In learning how to make ceramics there are no short cuts however and the techniques and skills still have to be mastered step by step, and by degrees. This exhibition brings together the six students of The Hong Kong Art School after completing the first year of their BA in Fine Art (Ceramics). Using hand building techniques and wheel thrown work they endeavor to explore various different themes within Contemporary Ceramics some of which include minimalism, eternity and social issues. This is their inaugural exhibition together.
Ryan Cheng, Weight Never Sleeps, 2013, Stoneware (Black Mountain - partly glazed), 16x9x30 cm.
Ryan Cheng Clay is a very natural and organic medium to work with. It lends itself well to manipulation on a human scale. It requires no specialized tools or incredible strength and is a pleasure to work with using just your bare hands. In my work I enjoy exploring the strengths and limits of the clay, and I try to use this ancient material to create objects in context with modernity.
Renita Cheung, Live as One, 2013, Unglazed Porcelain, Stoneware mixed with Oxides, 36x36x60 cm.
Renita Cheung Diversity is a natural phenomenon in nature and gives the world variety and beauty. Such a beauty also exists in mankind as we have different characteristics such as color and culture. But for us to live together peacefully without discrimination, war and terrorism requires awareness from all the human races to appreciate and accept differences.
In the work ‘Live as One’, I invite tenants of the earth to appreciate and respect differences between human races in order to sustain peace. Mountains of different characteristics are used to represent people from different culture as well as their hardiness to be moved. But all dreams start with imagination. I hope someday you will join the line.
Janice Ng, Infinity, 2013, Porcelain and Stoneware (unglazed), Size variable.
Janice Ng I am inspired by ceramic artists such as Eva Hild and Walter Dam and became interested in the flow and movement of forms. With the combination of extrusion technique, I build some angular tubs, and the development starts from free standing distorted tubes to additional force and movements.
The extrusion resembles the birth of living beings, the clay being used would be the origin while the twist and pressure added afterward would symbolize the experiences and crisis the piece had gone through along the growth. Twisted movement is applied since the DNA link of living being in spiral form, it gives signs of the power of life.
The path of my work can be brought together in thematic series which are constantly reshaped. These can be defined as: Social Satire, Saga of Discovery, Automata, Contemporary Bestiaries, Dwarfs, Self-referential work, Uselessly Decorative Objects, Project South (work in progress) and The Collector.
Project South is a “work in progress” in which I use images transferred from Simulcop booklets (Argentinean schoolbooks used to help drawing during the 60s and the 80s) to propose a journey through South America and Argentina. The drawings of political, hydrographical and climate maps as well as maps showing our flora and fauna, different parts of important cities and ports, and the most important American products show the ideal representation of our continent’s recent past. Project South is a commitment to the future of our region, a work anchored in the ironic game of our memory.
The Home Series, which is part of Project South, expresses and affirms a place of belonging. A region, Latin America, a continent South America, a country, Argentina, a city, a house, a home. Modest, almost collapsing houses are a regular sight in the cultural landscape of both, South and Latin America. The ironic word “Home” entails a trick, almost a funny one, in this poverty context. The simplicity of the dwelling, made up of printed cardboard shows the sad reality we have been facing for years now. There are roofless houses, houses on the verge of catastrophe, houses falling apart and self- sustaining houses. This is a series in permanent construction and its metaphorical development manifests itself as a symbol of resistance.
Gail Nichols: Atmosphere / Narek Galleries, Tanja, Australia
Gail Nichols: Atmosphere / Narek Galleries, Tanja, NSW, Australia January 10 - February 24, 2014
Opening reception: Saturday, January 11, 6 pm.
Earth, air, fire and water are the essential elements in Gail Nichols’ vessels, both figuratively and metaphorically. The infinite landscape surrounding her home and studio at the base of Mt. Budawang near Braidwood not only inspires her strong, wheel thrown forms, it also provides the atmosphere that affects the soda vapour glaze firings. Moist air and damp earth will create a different firing result to days of low humidity.
A bowl filled with air and light and described by its own materiality, may have an irregular rim reflecting the undulating horizon and a luscious glaze of glassy celadon or shadowy grey mauve or rich, thick cream and molten soft browns tinged with fiery orange clay at the base. These glazes are created by swirling soda vapours in the firing process reacting with elements deep within the clay and each pot is placed in the kiln so that intended surfaces will occur.
Nichols’ control of kiln atmosphere has been gained over years of extensive research, leading to a PhD at Monash University in 2002. Her book, Soda Clay and Fire, published by the American Ceramic Society, is a leading text in the field. Her work is represented in Australian and international collections including the National Gallery of Australia.
Gallery hours: Friday to Monday, 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM, and by appointment.
The Long-Term Residency (September 1 - July 31) is ideal for committed individuals in transition from post baccalaureate studies to graduate school, as well as those pursuing the development of professional artistic careers. Self-directed ceramic artists searching for the time, space and resources needed to explore new ideas and create new work will enjoy the rural mountainous setting. Accepted residents will be provided with studio space, housing, utilities, and a monthly stipend in exchange for twenty hours of work per week at the Clay Center. Responsibilities will include assisting in the retail operation of the gallery, teaching community clay classes, as well as cleaning and maintenance of the studio and gallery. Residents will be responsible for personal living expenses, as well as all material and firing expenses. Application Fee: $40
The Red Lodge Clay Center welcomes applications from ceramic artists who will thrive working as a team, in a community minded atmosphere. The ceramics studio is located approximately six miles north of Red Lodge, 463 Two Mile Bridge Road. A form of transportation is necessary for the duration of the residency. Resident artists have 24-hour access to the ceramics studio. For more detailed information on material needs and studio equipment please contact the Red Lodge Clay Center.
ACAD’s School of Craft + Emerging Media welcomes applications for the following Permanent Faculty position commencing in the fall semester of the 2014-2015 academic year: Assistant Professor, Ceramics (Competition # 1314-DE-FP-27).
The successful candidate will be expected to teach, demonstrate an active research/studio practice, and contribute to the strategic plan of the College through engagement in administrative service.
Summary of Responsibilities - The successful candidate will: - Teach in all levels of the BFA and proposed MFA in Craft Media program, studio and lecture/seminar courses; - Contribute actively to curriculum development in the School ofCraft + Emerging Mediaand to the strategic initiatives of ACAD’s Research and Academic Affairs; - Maintain research/studio practice and contributions to research and scholarship in the field of contemporary craft, specifically ceramics; - Demonstrate a commitment to continuing pedagogical and academic excellence; - Provide service to the Faculty and College governance framework, including outreach activities that contribute to the academic life and profile of the College.
Qualifications - The successful candidate will: - Hold a minimum of a Masters level degree or an equivalent level of graduate education. - Have a minimum of five (5) years post-secondary teaching experience at the graduate and undergraduate levels (outside of graduate teaching assistantships) in studio, lecture, and seminar class formats. - Have a minimum of five (5) years of research/studio practice outside of post secondary education - Have a sound knowledge of ceramic technologies, methodologies, including wheel throwing, hand-building, mold-making and casting, clay and glaze technology, and knowledge of kiln firing technologies; - Have experience with digital object design and fabrication technologies; - Have experience teaching and working in interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary contexts; - Have a comprehensive knowledge of Ceramics history, contemporary theory and discourse in ceramics practices; - Have a broad knowledge of history, theory and practice as it applies to Craft, Art and Design; - Have excellent communication, interpersonal, time management, and organizational skills; - Have social and theoretical understandings of technology, art and culture; - Have the ability to organize collaboration in studio production or research; - Have excellent communication, interpersonal and time management/organizational skills; - Be community-minded and team oriented.
Preference may be given to candidates with: - Ceramics studio management experience; - An active Studio Pottery practice.
Submission Instructions Please submit applications as per the instructions on our How To Apply webpage. In addition, include: artist statements outlining philosophies and practices regarding teaching and studio practice. Only applications submitted electronically will be considered. Please package all files as a single PDF document and do not submit as a “zip” or “Stuffit” compressed file.
The National Centre for Craft & Design confirms that Alexis Rago: Chaos Contained will begin its life as a touring show in Farnham. Originally curated by Laura Mabbutt for the NCCD, the exhibition opens at the Crafts Study Centre on 7 January 2014 continuing until 1 March. Touring Manager, Liz Cooper says “During its 70 day run at NCCD, over 4,600 people of all ages viewed Chaos Contained, making it one of the most successful exhibitions we have held in our Roof Gallery. We hope to repeat that success in Farnham.”
Alexis Rago worked as a biologist and his artwork is inspired by the Cambrian explosion, when diverse life forms rapidly evolved. He hand crafts his sculptures, allowing them to take shape while he works, and incorporating the imperfections characteristic of work created by the human hand. For Chaos Contained, Rago created brand new, technically challenging, large scale ceramic works,with integrated media, such as digital sound and projected imagery. Avideo of Rago describing the work as he createdit explains his thoughts, creative processes and techniques.
The exhibition has received critical acclaim, with the New Scientist describing it as “Beautiful Biology, pure fantasy, a collection of intricate, totem-like clay sculptures that look as if they are made from natural organisms”. Elements from the exhibition formed a key part of the Frequency Digital Festival, which took place in Lincoln in October 2013.
Public praise for Chaos Contained, captured in the gallery comment book, includes “serene, elegant, fascinating and wonderful”, “Beautiful, life-affirming – a delight”, and “Superb! Biologist myself – love the forms”. It has inspired art students to take up clay work and children to complete wonderment: “antastic, my little girl was mesmerised and spent time considering how they [the forms] stand up, she is only seven”.
The National Centre for Craft & Design is a unique and ambitious gallery that seeks to exhibit the most innovative, challenging and accomplished artists practicing within the craft and design arena today. Under one roof, the NCCD has five galleries dedicated to the exhibition, celebration and promotion of national and international craft and design. The NCCD is committed to creating exhibitions that can be seen by as many people as possible. Through its touring programme, the NCCD works with some of the UK’s leading galleries and museums.
Body and Soul: New International Ceramics / MAD Museum, New York
Body and Soul: New International Ceramics / MAD Museum, New York September 24, 2013 - March 2, 2014
In recent years, the human figure has returned to center stage in the work of artists around the world. Body & Soul: New International Ceramics underscores the power of the figure to convey strong emotions, and also to the accessibility of the ceramic medium. Through clay the figure becomes the catalyst for addressing the emotional impact of contemporary pressures that confront our society today. Each work, inspired by a personal incident or symbolic tale, expresses a deep emotional identity, contrasting societal, political, and personal views on themes such as anxiety, bias, mortality and memory.
The exhibition will highlight approximately 25 international artists who came to clay as painters, draughtsmen, or sculptors. Many are being shown for the first time in the United States. The range and quality of the works will make this exhibition engaging and provocative, and will bring this special area of creativity into a much-deserved focus.
“The artist with a social conscience who models in clay strives to capture an immediacy and a passion through tactile manipulation. With a focused purpose, he or she creates a specific message of historical or current concern, giving voice to a cause,” said Guest Curator Wendy Tarlow Kaplan. “Body & Soul underscores the ability of the human form to convey intense emotions, and we feel privileged to bring this important work together for the first time, and to address the human condition with raw power and pathos.”
“From ancient Greece through the Etruscans and Romans to the Renaissance and, ultimately, to the twenty-first century, clay has remained a powerful and immediate way of expressing ideas,” added David Revere McFadden, William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator, Museum of Arts and Design. “Since 1956, when the Museum of Arts and Design opened in its first manifestation as the Museum of Contemporary Craft, we have underscored our commitment to ceramics in general, and ceramic sculpture in particular. The MAD collections include landmark works by such luminaries as Robert Arneson and Viola Frey, both of whom concentrated their vision on the human figure and its perpetually evolving nature. Body and Soul: New International Ceramics is the latest manifestation of how the humble and quotidian material born of the earth itself once again claims center stage in contemporary art.” This exhibition is organized and curated by Wendy Tarlow Kaplan with the advisement of Laurent de Verneuil, Martin S. Kaplan, and by David McFadden, William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design.
Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics and Bamboo Art / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics and Bamboo Art / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston November 12, 2013 - September 8, 2014
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), presents Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics and Bamboo Art, an exhibition that highlights the meticulous craftsmanship and highly creative sculptural forms of Japanese decorative arts. Among the first exhibitions to present contemporary ceramics alongside baskets, Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo offers an in-depth look at 60 objects created by dozens of leading artists based in Japan. Drawn from a recent gift of Stanley and Mary Ann Snider of more than 90 pieces spanning the late 20th and early 21st centuries, many of the works are on view for the first time at the Museum. Enhanced with a selection of contemporary textiles, screens and paper panels, the exhibition is open through September 8, 2014 in the Japanese Decorative Arts Gallery and is accompanied by an illustrated publication.
“Several years ago, Stanley Snider challenged the Museum to become a center for contemporary Japanese decorative arts,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “Through the generous gift that he and Mary Ann made in 2012, and the infectious enthusiasm that they have conveyed to others, we are now well on our way to achieving that goal.”
During the late 19th century and into the 20th century, ceramics and bamboo arts in Japan evolved from traditional crafts into modern art forms, as those who produced them evolved from craftspeople into artists. As modernization continued, a new generation of artists began to assume creative control over the works they produced, creating unique pieces with their own hands, based on their own ideas. Creativity—rather than mere technical excellence—became the standard for an artist’s work. In Basket with bamboo-root handle (1930s), for example, Maeda Chikubōsai demonstrates an early example of bamboo art as a form of personal expression.
“The MFA has been at the forefront of promoting contemporary Japanese decorative arts for many years,” said Anne Nishimura Morse, William and Helen Pounds Senior Curator of Japanese Art at the MFA. “These works have attracted new audiences from around the globe in the last decade, and this exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to continue our long history of cultural exchange with Japan.”
This exhibition is generously supported by the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Exhibition Fund.
Fired Earth In the years following World War II, avant-garde clay artists in Japan declared that their work no longer had to take the form of traditional vessels. Many of these artists maintained respect for ancient methods and aesthetics, while embracing the non-functionality of their ceramics. Akiyama Yō intentionally exploited deformations that would be considered defects in commercial products with Untitled MV-1019 (2010), which purposely employs cracks in the clay to provide a weathered effect. Fukami Sueharu––who brought Japanese ceramic arts global attention––also adopted inventive approaches to traditional techniques. His The Moment (Shun) (1998) is a keenly edged abstract work of porcelain that slices through space like a knife.
Recently, international praise has centered on pioneering female ceramists. Until the postwar era, virtually no women in Japan were ceramic artists; men feared that the presence of women would pollute their kilns. Koike Shōko was one of the first female graduates of the ceramic department at Tokyo National University of the Arts. Her shell-shaped vessels, such as Shell 95 (1995), were first thrown on a wheel and then sculpted from the clay of the Shigaraki region. Whereas traditional Shigaraki vessels are left unglazed, Koike applies layers of white slip (liquefied clay) to the surface. Sakurai Yasuko, also among the first women to work with clay on a university campus, plays with forms that make the viewer aware of light and shadow in Vertical Flower (2007).
Each year,The National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, UK selects work by the very best of the current year’s graduates from art colleges and universities all over the UK, and gives them the opportunity of exhibitingat the NCCD.
This year’s show explores the theme of function in objects. A range of high quality, visually striking artworks created by 18 specially selected graduates are on display. They demonstrate a diverse range of skills from fashion and jewellery to ceramics and automata.
Class of 2013 will be open to the public until Sunday 19 January 2014 everyday excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day from 10am to 5pm (3pm Christmas Eve).
Ceramicists exhibiting in Class of 2013:
Luke Bishop, Rongorongo: Forgotten Function 5, 2013, Porcelain and stoneware with latex additions, maximum H46 cm. Photo by Scott Murray.
Luke Bishop HE Diploma in Fine and Applied Arts in Ceramics CityLit / London Metropolitan University
Rongorongo; Forgotten Function is an exploration rooted in the language of function where both memory and meaning are lost. False lids, multiple spouts (some obstructed, some fixed, others detachable), curiously and illogically-placed holes and tubes intentionally disturb the recognized and accepted grammar and syntax of function, causing the viewer and potential user to experience a disruption in the affordance towards the object.
In much the same way that an object excavated from the archaeological record only reveals to us a portion of its story, the meaning and uses of these vessels can never be completely recovered and known. Because the link between craft and everyday use has been permitted to slowly slip away from our collective experience, we are left with what we can only interpret but never fully explain. Function is forgotten.
Luke’s work seeks to invite the viewer to wonder at these curious vessels, and to provoke us to awaken to the process of cultural richness being lost. Its creative corollary, however, is that such richness can endure when care is taken to preserve meaning, ritual, skill and knowledge?
Zoe Clare, Invading Forms #4, #5, #6, #7, 2013, Porcelain, 56x61 / 34x48 / 17x30 / 30x60 cm. Photo by Scott Murray.
Zoe Clare BA (Hons) Ceramic Design Central Saint Martins - University of Arts London
Zoe is an artist who works predominantly with ceramic. She creates sculptures that are visually absorbing, rich in layers, texture and integral repetitive patterns. Zoe is influenced by the natural world around her and the discoveries made during her travels. The natural world, often overlooked, provides her with rich visual resources, which she then interprets and uses as a vessel to convey commentary and observations.
The ‘Invading Forms’ series explores the effects and conservational issues of invasive, non-native plants and their effects on the bio diversity of South Africa’s endangered environment. The sculptures are a metaphor for the conservational issues and endangered biodiversity we are facing today.
The sculptures, created in porcelain, take on the aggressive character of the invasive plants and become an invading form, growing organically and intrusively, absorbing anything and everything that is in its path. These structural forms are concerned with internal and external spaces and holds remnants of the extinct plants it has devoured inside for spectators to see. Sections of the invading forms are open, allowing the insides to be examined. Within are surprising textures and glazes depicting the exotic nature of the diminishing South African fauna and flora.
Jade Crompton, Bubble vases, Ceramics, slip cast, semi porcelain, Pieces between 23x24 cm. Photo by John James Clare.
Jade Crompton BA (Hons) Design Liverpool Hope University
Combining traditional plaster mould making techniques with the modern techniques of 3D design, Jade uses prototypes and digital model making to create unique moulds for slip casting. Jade enjoys taking natural forms and applying structure and pattern using digital software, giving an organic and manmade appearance to her work. Overall her work is intended to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Her current work focuses on casting plaster moulds from 3D printed models and layering laser cut pieces of perspex, this process allows Jade to produce more detailed and precise designs. The works are inspired by the layers found in natural formations such as lava, rock and ice.
Instead of using glazes or coloured slips which Jade finds too unpredictable, she uses airbrushed layers of under glaze which leaves a even matte coverage. She also adds a layer of clear glaze to the inside of her pieces which renders them waterproof.
Ruth Harrison (Porcelain, 2013, Photos by Scott Murray) Green Gradiant Strip / Red Gradiant Strip, 200x95 mm. Blue Disk with Orange Inlay / Yellow Disk with Blue Inlay / Green Disk with Red Inlay, 130x95 mm.
Ruth Harrison BA (Hons) Ceramics Plymouth College of Arts
Ruth Harrison uses porcelain to create sculptural forms using repeated elements. She is interested in symmetry and the idea of taking one shape and multiplying it many times over or around a cylinder. Her work evokes the childhood memory of running a hand or stick along a fence.
Ruth chooses to use porcelain due to its white body when fired to 1260°c. Porcelain also works very well with coloured stain which she uses for some of her collections. Ruth draws the attention of the viewer to a section or strip of the finished piece using colour, texture or pattern which is added to the piece as it is being made. Each disk is hand cut using a cookie cutter from 3mm thick slabs of porcelain which are then cut in half, sponged, scored, slipped and attached to a slip-cast cylinder.
Betty Woodman: CONTRO VERSIES CONTRO VERSIA / Gallery Diet, Miami
Betty Woodman: CONTRO VERSIES CONTRO VERSIA / Gallery Diet, Miami an inaccurate history of painting and ceramics December 2, 2013 - January 1, 2014
Gallery Diet is delighted to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Betty Woodman: CONTRO VERSIES CONTRO VERSIA an inaccurate history of painting and ceramics. The exhibition, which opens December 2nd, 2013, gathers a body of 2D and 3D works produced over the past two years that continue Woodman’s evolving relationship with painting, the vase, and the history of ceramics. Over the past several years, the resurgence in ceramics, craft aesthetic, and abstraction has led audiences to earlier generations of practitioners. Often credited as the “godmother of American ceramics,” Woodman is considered one of the pioneers in bringing the vase out of the craft world and into the realm of high art. As Peter Schjeldahl wrote of Woodman’s solo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “she is beyond original, all the way to sui generis. She has been well known in art circles since the 1970s, when her work was associated (incorrectly but advantageously, given the art world’s chronic disdain for anything that smacks of ‘craft’) with a briefly fashionable movement called Pattern and Decoration.” Since 1948, when she entered Alfred University’s ceramics program, Woodman has been pushing the boundaries of sculpture and form. This will be her second exhibition at Gallery Diet in Miami, Florida. Her work “Aztec Vase,” recently acquired by the Pérez Art Museum Miami, is also part of the inaugural permanent collections exhibition at the PAMM.
Born in 1930, Betty Woodman is an American artist living and working between New York City and Antella, Italy. Her work is represented by numerous galleries around the world including Gallery Diet, Salon 94, Francesca Pia, and Isabella Bortolozzi. Her works are part of prestigious public and private collections such as The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Denver Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art New York, National Gallery of Art, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Most recently her large scale installation Alessandro’s Room was exhibited as part of Unlimited in Art Basel 2013.
As a Danish ceramic artist, do you consider the living climate an important influence in your work?
I think it’s fair to say that my works have a certain Nordic nature component. Danish nature is not wild and magnificent – more one that offers quiet experiences: a misty morning over the ploughed fields; an old, dead tree; rainy weather that starts as dark streaks on the horizon; the weather clearing up after rain. Danish weather is changeable and often a cold, clammy affair, but this makes one more keenly aware of the light and small shifts in nuance.
Your work have been described as highly experimental. From the slip-cast rigorous design to the hand-built structures, you have been experimenting different body of works over the years. How do you find yourself shifting subjects and manners? Is it a continuous change?
I have never personally felt that I undertook dramatic shifts. I see my work as an on-going development, where one thing leads to the next. I will never completely finish – fortunately. While working, new ideas emerge that have to be tested. One could say that the experiments themselves ask the next questions. Ceramics has so many possibilities, and I like challenging the material and myself.
Portrait of Bente Skjøttgaard, 2010, Photo: Ole Akhøj
What influences and inspires you the most in your creation? How would you describe your current body of work?
With my background as a ceramist I nearly always have my point of departure in an idea to do with material or form. This can, for example, be new form expressions achieved by special compositions, or through cuts or glazing experiments that result in strange surfaces and textures. I often gain inspiration from nature’s formal principles and phenomena. Work takes place systematically and always on the premises of the ceramic material, but the investigations often develop into something that is reminiscent of large, amorphous nature-abstractions, with plenty of glaze. The fantastic thing about clay is that what is nature’s own material can constantly be transformed into something new and relevant.
Delicacy and sensitivity are two powerful characteristics of your work. How much do you rely on intuition and how much on unpredictability?
I make use of both in my work. Ceramics has an innate unpredictability, especially because it is out of one’s hands during the firing at high temperatures. This unpredictability is a challenging co-partner and opponent. All the time, one gets something more or less intentional for free, and from there one has to decide if and how it can be used. My intuition has probably been honed by many years’ experience of this process.
Besides a very playful approach in manipulating clay, you ingeniously use colors and assets of glazes in your work. Tell us more about the importance of color and its use in your creations.
Previously, I was mainly interested in the ability of glazes to interact and behave differently, according to the thicknesses involved. At my ‘Interglacial Period’ exhibition in Galleri Nørby in 2005, it was mainly green/turquoise, because copper is very good at producing that sort of thing. Then came the exhibition ‘Elements in White’ at Galerie Maria Lund in Paris in 2008, where I almost washed the slate clean and experimented with various textures within white glaze. It was not until the more recent works ‘Clouds’ that I seriously explored selecting more precise colours. Here I have thought more in psychedelic colours, the colours of the sky, sunrise, violet, pink and yellow. It has been interesting to include these more ‘un-ceramic’ colours.
You are one of the initiators and directors of the Copenhagen Ceramics platform. How did this project start? Tell us more about the objectives of this new Danish movement.
The project Copenhagen Ceramics has been implemented by the ceramic artists Steen Ipsen, Bente Skjøttgaard and Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl, based on having noted that there was no longer any exhibition venue in Copenhagen where the best of the great diversity of ceramic expression existing in Denmark could be shown and experienced ‘live’. Another important aspect of the project is the Internet platform www.copenhagenceramics.com, which we wish to use to disseminate knowledge of Danish ceramics internationally. We have planned the 10 exhibitions for 2012: 4 solo exhibitions, 5 two-man exhibitions and a single group exhibition with six of the best ceramic artists from the younger generation. The individual artists have been selected and linked together in new constellations that enable completely new artistic facets in all of them to emerge – also among those already more established.
Why did you choose the vessel as the central element of your art? Was there a transition from functional vessels to sculptural ones?
I have been working in ceramics continually since 1980. There have been periods when I have moved away from the vessel, but really it has been at the core of my work for most of the time since then. I do not make functional pots, but rather use the vessel as a subject - to give meaning and form to an expression. For a long time now I have realized that my overriding interest is making new coloured clay forms. This seems for me to be the essence of pottery- to make shapes which occupy and contain space and to decorate those shapes. By decorate, I mean to paint slip or glaze, to draw, to make image or line across the skin of the clay.
Ken Eastman: For all we know, 2010, Stoneware with painted coloured slips and oxides, 43x31x37 cm.
Does your creative process start from a certain image in your mind, or do you seek for inspiration as you progress?
I have always made things - at first out of Lego and wood and for a long time now, using clay. Working on how to approach creating, so that I can go to work every day and explore shape and colour and move forwards, is always hard. The breadth of ceramic possibilities means that to make any progress it is necessary to build up some strict limitations. I use writing and drawing to approach the spirit of a piece of work, but I do not draw an ‘architectural plan’ of the piece that I am about to make: ideas that work in two dimensions are often different from those that are successful in three dimensions. Also, if I knew exactly what I was going to make before I started work in clay, there would be little room left for the play and invention that is an essential part of creative work. A large part of the reason for making is to see things which I have never seen before - to build something which I am excited about and wish to show and share with others. So I try not to plan anything except roughly how to proceed within my imposed limitations.
Tell us about the slab building technique that you use. What are the challenges that you encounter and the skills that it requires?
I roll out slabs of white stoneware clay by hand with a wooden rolling pin. Most of the rolling is bashing the clay flat and the rolling smoothens the material towards the end of the process. From the moment I start rolling out slabs I have to start making decisions - not what the piece will look like, which will in time become clear, but the details - how wide, how long, how thin or thick the slab, choices which determine shape. The objects which I make are clearly defined, they have drawn ground plans, smooth walls and clear edges, but this resolution emerges slowly. There are certain curves and curlings which a thin slab can manage better than a thicker one, but sometimes it’s the soft fatness of a rim or the weight of a piece which is more important.
Colour is an important part of your work. How do you see the interaction between colour and volume?
As soon as possible in the making process, I begin to make marks on the surface with coloured slips and oxides, whilst the clay is still quite wet. I paint on numerous layers of colour, firing the work repeatedly. I apply it in response to three dimensional form and it is in this way I paint the surface in order to explore and make sense of what I have made. I don’t know what colour I want a piece to be until I find it by working - building up layers of colour can often feel more like a stripping away to reveal what was meant. I am interested in the relationship between colour, the illusionistic space of a surface and actual space. This relationship is a complex one - as well as inhabiting the 2 dimensional space on a curving plane of clay, colour can, in a sense fill the actual 3 dimensional space of the vessel itself. Glen Brown in writing about my work said that colour becomes “volumetric, contained, like real space itself, by the vessel walls rather than merely carried on them: it becomes a fundamental content of the work rather than a superficial aspect of it.”
Today’s contemporary art puts a lot of emphasis on dynamics and interactivity. In this context, what is the merit of an art work that encourages contemplation as an aesthetic experience?
Being a static artwork does not exempt it from being dynamic or profound. Art work which is three dimensional demands that the viewer moves around the work and becomes involved in order to experience it and to contemplate it, which is of course a truly dynamic and interactive experience.
I was in college taking painting classes and I wanted to learn sculpture. One day I stopped by the sculpture lab to ask the instructor if I could audit the class. She agreed and handed me a piece of clay. I was amazed at the work of the students. A retired engineer was making intriguing ceramic sculptures. The forms were powerful and provocative. At that moment I thought of how versatile and expressive clay could be to express both powerful and delicate ideas. It was, for me, the medium of infinite possibilities. Immediately my brain had an explosion of ideas. I fell in love. I realized I could create 3D from some ideas of my paintings. In fact, I ended up sculpting so many pieces during the class that The Art Department awarded me a grant to do a whole semester and also the first solo show ever done by a student in the college.
Besides ceramic art, you have also created paintings and murals in order to express your inner universe. How does working in three dimensions change your creative process? Do the processes differ a lot between these mediums?
When I work in 3D, the process of creativity is more fluent, very spontaneous and I can communicate with feelings that I didn’t know I possessed until I felt them in my hands. I can transform them into something visual for others to see. It is a natural process, born of my subconscious. Back in my childhood, I recall helping my father in the garden and end up making objects with mud.
In my paintings, it’s me: my surroundings, my past and present, something very personal and intimate expressed through a different tactile experience. As with murals, most of them have been collaborative works I’ve done with students at schools. The first one I made came out of the blue. A friend asked me for ideas on what to do with a wall where the tiles had been removed. I had the idea to teach the students about mural making and the importance of recycling material to make art. That’s how the first mural was born.
You express yourself freely using clay. What are the main materials and ceramic techniques that you use?
I like to experiment, so I have been using different kind of clay, such as stoneware, low and mid-fire with glazes and oxides. When I do mixed media, especially installations, I like to integrate other materials like metal, found objects and fresh water pearls. I use handmade techniques from slab, clay relief, and impressed texture to carving.
Your past experience and your personal history seem to be an important source of inspiration for you. Tell us more about the symbolism of your work.
Maybe that’s why I work in different mediums; I am much better expressing my self visually. Sometimes an image will stay with me and I am compelled to paint or sculpt it. Much later, I will realize that these images have a much deeper significance to me, one that transcends the visual. These images become symbols of social-political issues that are at the core of my world views and concerns. For example in the ceramic chains installation, the chains remain unconnected and loose, which symbolizes the right of freedom of the individual; regardless of religion, race, country, and gender. Freedom of expression is something that we, as humans should never have to give up.
Many of your works have an intrinsic femininity. How does being a female artist influence the themes and the ideas you choose to represent?
My themes and ideas begin with personal experiences, past, present, as well as everything that surrounds me: people, places and objects. Sometimes stories interact with different characters in different circumstances. I also like to create surreal landscapes for them.
The white flowers I used in the “Warrior’s Series”, are images from my bank of memories of my father’s garden; he used to mix the flowers in the vegetable garden, which was my play yard during my childhood. “After Chaos”, a woman sleeps peacefully. She is able to find tranquility because she is surrounded by “white warrior flowers” - deceptively frail, and yet possessing all of the strength of memories, nature and the power of womanhood. These flowers guard her as she rests before facing whatever trials the day may bring to her.
You come from Argentina, and you define yourself as a Latin American artist. How does your cultural heritage reflects in your creative experience?
My Latin American roots inform my work. I was born in Argentina, my parents were immigrants of the World War II, and so my back ground tradition at home had a strong European flavor. Even so, I grew up proud for the country that welcomed my parents and the country they taught me to love. Moreover, I am also married to a Puerto Rican man, my son was born on the island too and we spent many years there. This is yet another passage in my life, where the colors and details are reflected more in my paintings than in my ceramics. So you see, my cultural heritage is a potpourri of different tradition and experiences, and everything is reflected in my art.
A movie set, created in the style of a sixth century village, within forests and farmland, cherry blossom and azaleas, in valleys and mountains centrally located in South Korea, is the stage for this amazing Mungyeong Tea Bowl Festival. The City of Mungyeong and the South Korean government sponsor the festival, now in its eighth year, and focus on reviving Korean Tea ceremony traditions, as well as the ceramic ware made for it.
Ceramic artists (28) from all over the world were invited this year (2012) to participate in this festival, and to display their tea bowls and demonstrate their techniques, as well as to join local artists in various activities related to the traditional Tea Bowl ceremonies. Our tea bowls were available for show and sale, and some selected tea bowls were entered into a competition and are now part of the Mungyeong Tea Bowl Museum’s permanent display, alongside the local artists collection. The museum also includes a large studio and teaching center and an impressive traditional Korean Noborigama kiln.
There were many buildings filled with about 50 local masters and potters, selling traditional or modern artistically interpreted Korean wares. There were of course many buildings holding traditional tea ceremonies, for the casual afternoon sip or a more extended, fully traditional affair.
We watched artists fire a Noborigama kiln as it has been fired for thousands of years. Local clay and raw materials transformed into wares of the same timelessness as it has been done for centuries. The Mungyeong area is the center of tea bowl making in South Korea and there are many very talented masters, each with his own studio and at times a large display room and even a museum.
One such artist is Oh Soon-Taek, a self taught ceramicist who originally began his creative endeavors as a painter; he learned the nature of the medium “from the world”. Some of the most striking pieces among his collection were the very small, almost miniature tea sets, each executed with perfect craftsmanship. We were fortunate to join Oh Soon-Taek for tea ceremony on a number of occasions, to see the inherent beauty of his work as it fulfilled its function. He masters a variety of glazes and forms in his collection, leaning more to simple aesthetics, so one can admire the form and function of his meditative work, and appreciate his respect to traditional ware, in spite of the adaptation to modern life. Oh Soon-Taek makes his own clay and glazes from the nature around his house, and he built his own kiln. He sells his work only from his house and workshop and has a solo exhibition once every 10 years.
Our hosts went to a great effort to bring us to a number of potteries and kiln sites further spread through the countryside. One such visit was to the studio of Han-Bong Cheon. Our busload of international artists came upon a small, slight man of 80, stocking an enormous Noborigama kiln with the ferocity of a teenage apprentice. Han-Bong Cheon, who became an Intangible Cultural Treasure in 1996, and his daughter Kung Hee Cheon have been making tea ware at their home outside of Mungyeong for 64 years. Tea ceremony has been historically conducted by monks in the Buddhist temples, where Han-Bong Cheon learned and mastered it. Han Bong’s mission was to reintroduce to South Korea the know how of the old Koryo tea bowl tradition, that was at its peak production during the 17th century and was lost during the introduction of mass production.
He is also considered today as the artist who revived the Maksabal - “Bowl for Anything” - made for all purposes. Koreans use Maksabal as a bowl for water, soup and tea, appreciating its endless and enduring value. In addition, in order to perfect it, he traveled to Japan to learn the making of tea wares from Mr. Tokuro from Setto Mino. Han-Bong Cheon’s work masterfully explores the reserved aesthetics of Korean tea ware. His daughter Kung Hee Cheon displayed and sold both hers and her father’s wares at the festival. Her work adds a feminine touch and an additional dimension to the traditional male craft.
Another, of many, amazing places we visited was the home, studio, and gallery of Professor Tae-Keun Yoo. Professor Yoo, as we call him, teaches ceramics at the local university, and at most times was accompanied by a group of devoted young potters-students.
7 Ceramic Art Competitions and Fairs Where You Should Participate in 2014
Ceramics Now comprised a list of 7 ceramic art competitions and fairs where artists can apply to participate in 2014. Be quick, the deadlines are approaching fast!
1. INTERNATIONAL CERAMICS COMPETITION MINO, JAPAN
The competition is the main event of the International Ceramics Festival Mino, which is held with the aim of supporting growth of the ceramics industry and the enhancement of culture through global exchange of ceramics design and culture. The first festival was held in 1986, and this will be the 10th edition. The last edition gathered 2777 entries from 57 countries. It is considered the largest event in the world entirely dedicated to contemporary ceramics. Read more
Deadline: January 10, 2014 / Dates: September 12 - October 19, 2014 Total prizes: ~ USD 130.000 / No entry fee Entry categories: Ceramics Design, Ceramic Arts
2. INTERNATIONAL CERAMICS FAIR OLDENBURG, GERMANY
Situated around the noble Schloss in the city-center of Oldenburg, the International Ceramic Fair which includes a ceramic market, presentation of professional prizes, special exhibits and artist showcases. The fair ensures that collectors and enthusiasts alike are offered an exquisite range of works from artistic creations to high-quality tableware. Based upon strict criteria a jury of professionals within the field chooses over a hundred workshops and ceramic artists to present their current work. This event attracts more than 60.000 visitors annually. Read more
Deadline: January 11, 2014 / Dates: August 2-3, 2014 Entry fee: EUR 240 (includes 3x3 meters stand)
3. CLAY? V EXHIBITION, UNITED STATES
The fifth installment of Kirkland Arts Center’s biennial contemporary ceramics exhibition, Clay? V, is juried by University of Washington, School of Art Professors Doug Jeck, Jamie Walker, and Akio Takamori. Clay? V explores the versatility of clay as a medium of artistic expression. Showcasing a range of sizes, scales, subject matter, and techniques, the artwork of this exhibition is both a testament to the enduring legacy of clay and future of the field.
Deadline: January 17, 2014 / Dates: March 21 - May 17, 2014 Entry fee: USD 25
4. WESTERWALD PRIZE 2014 - EUROPEAN CERAMICS, GERMANY Competition open only to European citizens.
The Westerwald Prize was first awarded in 1973 to present outstanding ceramic art and craft work in the framework of a competition and exhibition at the Keramikmuseum Westerwald (KMW). This remains a priority of the administration of the Westerwald region for the 13th Westerwald Prize in 2014. A further aim is to promote the dialogue between ceramics and art in the region and to support cultural exchange within Europe.
Deadline: January 19, 2014 / Dates: September 26, 2014 - February 1, 2015 Total prizes: EUR 24.000 / No entry fee Entry categories: Saltglaze (stoneware and porcelain), Design (serially produced ware), Vessel / Form / Decor, Sculpture / Installation, Talent Award (below 35 years old)
5. INTERNATIONAL BIENNIAL OF VALLAURIS, FRANCE Competition open only to European Union citizens.
Since 1966 the Town of Vallauris Golfe-Juan has organised a biennial with the aim of promoting and rewarding artistic creation in the field of ceramics. For this edition, it has been decided to use the expression ‘Contemporary Creation and Ceramic’ to stress its intention of making ceramic creation part of the world of contemporary art. The competition is intended to encourage and publicise European talents using the reputation of Vallauris, the town of ceramics, as a springboard facilitating their recognition around the world.
Yô Akiyama exhibition / ARTCOURT Gallery, Osaka, Japan
Yô Akiyama exhibition / ARTCOURT Gallery, Osaka, Japan December 3, 2013 - January 25, 2014
Yo Akiyama established his signature style of sculptural ceramic creation while still in school. His creative mind lies beneath the awareness by facing the nature and energy of clay, expressed through large scale works. We are excited to introduce Akiyama’s new works in this exhibition showcasing the roots, that is the artery of Akiyama’s powerful creation as well as Akiyama’s now as his next step in his career.
Akiyama’s early works were mysterious objects created through black pottery. His student works done in black pottery show influences from primitivism that he was interested in, modern sculptors such as Brâncuşi and Arp, and his professor Kazuo Yagi, but yet to discover his own expression or concept through clay. Those early pieces are gone; however, Akiyama recalls that he can see the presence of Akiyama that has lead to himself now. This discovery lead him to the new set of works, in which the artist re-creates his early black pottery works with his current skillsets and by revisiting his own 1970s. Akiyama titled this new challenge of regenerating or redeveloping his roots “Incubation” (or Houran no Katachi in Japanese) and introduces about 10 new pieces in this exhibition.
Akiyama developed several series of works that express the ever-changing shape of earth with unique creative challenges such as nature vs. human, birth vs. decay, internal vs. external by fusing the phenomenon of soil and thoughts on creation. The series titled “Metavoid,” which began in 2003, puts focus on an enclosed space where objects intervene and how we perceive such space. Akiyama would make a large bowl on a potter’s wheel, then reverse its inside and outside. This act brings a change in spatial relation of the bowl and the space it holds within (the void). The artist would then place this bowl in an even larger vessel – an exhibition space, the other void. Akiyama uses clay as a vehicle to explore physical shapes to his pursuit ranging from multi-layered texture in motion to human perception of space. We are introducing 5 new large scale pieces ranging from 100 cm to 180 cm from the series “Metavoid.”
Akiyama began making a series of slabs with prints of spider webs as his side work around 1993 where the artist began to depart from his signature black pottery works. The series captured the natural beauty of spider webs Akiyama found almost every morning around his home from early summer to fall. About 50 creations from this series will gather in our gallery for public viewing for the first time. They can be seen as an organic map that connects the roots and current of Akiyama’s creation.
Uku Rere: Nga Kaihanga Uku and beyond / Whangarei Art Museum, New Zeeland
Uku Rere: Nga Kaihanga Uku and beyond / Whangarei Art Museum, New Zeeland November 11, 2013 - February 16, 2014
Whangarei Art Museum is the first venue to host this ground-breaking touring exhibition after a highly successful show at Pataka Art+Museum in partnership with Toi Maori. Uku Rere features contemporary ceramics by the five principal members of Nga Kaihanga Uku: Baye Riddell, Manos Nathan, Colleen Urlich, Wi Taepa and Paerau Corneal. Both Colleen Urlich and Manos Nathan are from the Te Tai Tokerau region and this important exhibition is the first major survey of contemporary Maori ceramics and showcases the strength of Maori ceramic art in New Zealand’s contemporary art scene. The exhibition is displayed in the Younghusband Gallery and accompanied by an extensive catalogue available at the art museum.
The exhibition also features Manos Nathan’s unique sculptural work Kaitiaki, which stands to welcome visitors at the Whangarei Art Museum’s entrance. This is his largest work to date and was commissioned in 2002 by the Whangarei Art Museum with assistance from Te Waka Toi – Creative NZ Arts Council. The artist chose the concept of ‘kaitiakitanga’ as the theme of the art work, portraying both welcome and guardianship.
The exhibition coincides with Kokiri Putahi – the 7th International Gathering of Indigenous Artists, organised by Te Atinga the Contemporary Visual Arts committee of Toi Maori Aotearoa in which both Colleen Urlich and Manos Nathan are members of. Since the first gathering in 1995 the committee has worked to develop Maori contemporary art practice for both emerging and established artists working in a range of media, and next year the gathering will also coincide with the January 2014 Ngapuhi Festival in Kaikohe.
The concurrent exhibition held in the Mair Gallery, Salon to Marae – first glimmerings of a Maori Modernism will feature works from the 1950s-1970s by artists Ralph Hotere, Clive Arlidge and Selwyn Wilson. A selection of Wilson’s early ceramics from the family’s private collection adds a unique dimension to the story of Maori ceramic artists. Selected works from Ross T Smith’s two photographic series Hemi Tuwharerangi Paraha (1998) and Stillness Falls Gradually (2000) will also be on display, adding to the significant development of Maori contemporary art practice.
Uke Rere: Nga Kaihanga Uku illuminates the strength of the contemporary Maori ceramic movement in New Zealand. From Taepa’s chunky, rugged pots full of personality to the refined elegance of Nathan’s sculptural pots, the exhibition showcases the remarkable vitality and diversity of the individual practices of the five influential artists. Over the last twenty-five years these artists have redefined and expanded ceramic art - imbuing it with indigenous concepts and a deep commitment to Maori culture.
Mud and Water exhibition / Rokeby Gallery, London December 16, 2013 - March 7, 2014
ROKEBY‘s inaugural exhibition in its new gallery space looks to the history of British studio ceramics and the Modernist rhetoric used by figures associated with the movement. Including work by a selection of British Studio Potters alongside contemporary artists working across media, the exhibition investigates a current interest in process, materiality and truthfulness to medium.
Exhibited artists: Jack Brindley, Clive Bowen, Jane Bustin, Michael Cardew, Edwin Beer Fishley, The Granchester Pottery, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Bernard Leach, Janet Leach, Kate Newby, Chris Prindl, Gideon Rubin, Nicola Tassie, Jesse Wine, Mizuyo Yamashita
Despite a recent tendency to see ceramics and the modern British art movement as separate disciplines the two are closely interwoven. The approaches of artists working in clay such as Bernard Leach, considered the father of the British studio pottery, and Michael Cardew (1) mirrored the Modernist ideas gaining currency in Britain in the early 1920’s in both painting and sculpture. Post war art in Britain drew upon - amongst other things - the tradition of the handmade. This is especially true in St Ives where Bernard Leach chose to set up his first pottery. Leach united the classical pottery traditions of Asia (2) including their taste for imperfections with those of English slipware potters to define the modernist vernacular revival.
The exhibition brings together a group of cross-generational artists all of whom are experimental in their approach. When Leach and Cardew looked to the history of slipware in Britain they were never nostalgic (3). Rather they combined pre-industrial techniques with a Modernist spirit; combining raw materials with the performative act of making and inherited forms with a simpler more direct language.
No straightforward link is suggested in bringing the artists together in this exhibition, but an inheritance of concerns and a shared interest in the handling of material and unpredictable processes can be perceived, regardless of their chosen medium. It is the principles and values of heterogeneity, destabilization and irrationality that interest them all, a questioning of the distinctions between art and craft and a concern for the physical - and especially the human body - in the making and viewing the work.
(1) Cardew was a pupil of Leach’s in St Ives from 1923-26. (2) Leach was born in Hong Kong but spent his first years in Japan. He attended the Slade, London and in 1909 arrived in Japan for a second time. (3) The earliest work in the exhibition is an earthenware slipware mug by Edwin Beer Fishley from Michael Cardew’s private collection. Cardew had a particular affinity for Edwin Beer Fishley and counted the rural potter as one of his most important influences.
With thanks to Timothy Taylor Gallery and David Bowie for loaning work to the exhibition and Simon Jones for providing exhibition furniture.
RoHYPERCLAY: Contemporary Ceramics investigates the field of ceramics, focusing on new attitudes, techniques and technologies that are being embraced by artists in the 21st century. Walter Auer, Roderick Bamford, Stephen Bird, Jacqueline Clayton, Andrea Hylands, Addison Marshall, Pip McManus and Paul Wood all ignite the imagination with the potential of clay through their work. As the prefix ‘hyper’ suggests, HYPERCLAY presents clay-based work where the medium has been amplified, extended and intensified to produce work that will delight, provoke and surprise. New technologies, the process of making, and the re-purposing of materials to create new forms are the delicate threads that bind the works in HYPERCLAY together.
A collection of 35 short videos have been produced to accompany the work in HYPERCLAY. These include interviews with the artists, curators, academics, collectors, gallerists and students. All videos are available to view through iPads in the exhibition space, offering the viewer different perspectives on the works as well as deeper, richer connections to the artists.
Roderick Bamford explores the process of additive fabrication, creating a series of ceramic sculptures using a modified rapid prototyping printer. Bamford sourced the parts for his 3D printer online, gradually building a machine that could print with clay. The result is a device that affords Bamford an expanded making process that incorporates both analogue and digital techniques.
Stephen Bird, better known for his satirical figurative ceramics, presents two works that also play at the intersection of the digital and the handmade. Wanting to reveal the sequence of events that takes place when transforming raw clay into a finished sculpture, Bird spent several intensive weeks in his studio creating the stop-frame clay animation What are you laughing at?. The work is a re-telling of the Creation Story through the lens of the post-industrial world. It also documents Bird’s making process, capturing it as performance. Similarly, I Just Don’t Believe in Ceramics elevates ceramic surface decoration from static and permanent to evolving virtual design.
New Warriors by Andrea Hylands captures the performance of material itself. Her fragile forms are the product of bone china slip poured into a mould and then removed at varying durations. This process is a balance between the spontaneity of movement and material, and the precision of the artists’ hand.
Ceramicist Walter Auer is interested in the transformation and preservation of objects through a petrifaction process that he has been experimenting with for nearly 10 years. Auer soaks discarded soft toys in watered-down clay (terra sigillata) for weeks – even months - before submitting them to a grueling firing process.
Similarly, Pip McManus is interested in transformation. Combining clay, video, sand and water, McManus has created a video work entitled Watershed 2 that engages with ideas of permanence and organic forms. In Watershed, the ancient medium of clay is effortlessly in conversation with the contemporary medium of video.
Paul Wood scours op shops, thrift stores and neighbourhood gardening centres for pre-loved ceramic objects that he then re-fires, melts and slumps to create dramatic new sculptures. For Guardians of a Goddess Wood has crafted an ode to the ornamental water features that proudly sat in the neighborhood gardens of his childhood.
"In my work, I am driven by textures, materials and non-traditional working methods.
The main subject I deal with is the thin line between imitation and interpretation - My work portraits the contrast between an urban lifestyle and a remote admiration of nature. When I work, I use the most naive and (sometimes) barbaric techniques while facing industrial materials. I try to capture a longing for authentic nature and at the same time to celebrate its progress and many benefits, and perhaps combine both emotions into one.
If I had to sum my main ambition in my work I would say that I seek authenticity that comes from a personal aesthetic perception. The fine definitions of art, craft and design seem to me unnecessary in relation to my work. While working on a piece, it is not so much a ‘narrative’ that I’m after, but rather, visibility and the abstract feelings that may be summoned by viewing the form.
As an artist I would like to think that I am a highly individual maker searching for an aesthetic vision that would be completely my own.” Michal Fargo