The expressive potential of ceramic glazes is one of the artistic links between both artists at the year’s first exhibition at Copenhagen Ceramics. Gunhild Rudjord and Nils Erik Gjerdevik both master the capacity to exploit the particular textural possi-bilities of ceramics, but make use of them for widely differing purposes.
It might at first glance seem to be a somewhat odd combination of artists to find exhibiting new ceramic works together at the coming exhibition at Copenhagen Ceramics. But on closer inspection it becomes obvious that an interest in the expressiveness of ceramic glazes, their physical properties and colour feature strongly in the work of both artists. They are nevertheless rooted in different traditions and their approach to the use of the materials is fundamentally different.
Gunhild Rudjord was born in Norway, but trained as a ceramist in Denmark and in her career here she has mainly worked with some of the best-known archetypes of ceramics – the vessel and the dish as her ‘canvas’. She has created wonderfully decorated works where the ornamental motifs – often inspired by nature – are expressed in a more or less abstract form in an exuberant interaction with the glaze-effects of depth of colour, gloss and obvious signs of the fusing process during firing. There is a great deal of power in her works. They have the appearance of being simple but dramatic, with strong compositions, marked contrasts and – despite this – the particular softness of expression drawn by the glaze as it runs down over the surface of the pot.
Gunhild Rudjord is virtually unrivalled in her capacity to exploit the particular transformation that takes place during firing, as can be seen in a series of new wall dishes on show at this exhibition.
As far as Nils Erik Gjerdevik is concerned, the ceramic works arise from an apparently spontaneous processing of the actual material, the soft clay, into a sculptural expression. The ceramic works have, throughout his career, created a parallel track to his paintings and drawings.
His abstractions are of a special nature: one category of works are the spatial constructions, which look like free-fantasy visions in an architecturally influenced artistic idiom which, partly via the soft hardness of the material, acquires an almost surrealist feel. Construction and deconstruction take place at one and the same time. Other ceramic works unfold as large, untamed landscapes that contain an innate narrative, a blend of a clear form that at the same time apparently defies any form of interpretation: I see what I see, but what is it I see? There are many references in the works, both to former schools of art (e.g. Art Nouveau) in the formal techniques, but also elements taken from the universe of the strip cartoon. A formal stringency and a controlled chaos. First and foremost, however, his works have a presence, a here-and-now, where the response from the clay adds a quite distinctive dimension to Gjerdevik’s virtuosity.
Gunhild Rudjord has exhibited widely in Denmark as well as internationally. Among her more recent exhibitions are Galleri Moderne, Silkeborg 2013, Galleri Pagter (solo), Kolding, 2012; Himmerlands Kunstmuseum 2011 (together with Kirsten Klein) and Kunsthallen Brænderigården (solo), Viborg, 2006. She has carried out various decorative assignments, including a two-metre-high vase for Faaborg and 100 platters for the New Carlsberg Foundation. Her works are represented at the New Carlsberg Foundation; Danish Art Foundation; Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim, Norway and Sønderjylland Kunstmuseum, Tønder, DK.
Nils Erik Gjerdevik’s impressive activities as an exhibitor include major solo exhibitions at Kunsthallen Brandts, 2012 and Kunstforeningen Gl. Strand, 2009. In addition he has had a great many showings at galleries at home and abroad – in Denmark at Galleri Nils Stærk in particular. He has also carried out a number of public decorative assignments for, including others, Erhvervsarkivet , Aarhus; The University of Southern Denmark and the Danish Parliament. His works feature in the collections of the National Gallery of Denmark, Aros–Aarhus Kunstmuseum; Esbjerg Kunstmuseum; The Danish Royal Collection of Graphic Art, Bergen Kunstmuseum, and more.
William Holman Gallery is pleased to present Everyday Weapons by Gail Goldsmith and Times and Places by Richard Barnet, two concurrent solo exhibitions that are installed at the gallery through mid-March.
Featuring eight clay sculptures, Gail Goldsmith’s Everyday Weapons series reflects on death and mourning. Made in the aftermath of her husband’s suicide twenty-five years ago, the sculptures are cathartic, revealing how his death altered everyday objects in Goldsmith’s life. From a series of broken bottles to an ominous corkscrew lying next to a pair of women’s shoes, these quotidian objects reverberate with pain and anger, seeming ominous as thinly-veiled weapons. With the distance of time since their creation, Goldsmith has come to see these sculptures as theatrical; each work is an archetype, both personal and universal.
"After my husband’s suicide, I found myself immersed in the need to express complicated inarticulate feelings- anger and rage, pain, fear, revenge, and also grief. When I was finally able to return to my studio, I began a clay figure of a standing woman. It was almost finished when, walking along the street; a large kitchen knife appeared in my mind’s eye. Back in my studio, I made a clay knife. I unclasped the woman’s hands, put the knife in her hands, and reclasped her hands around the knife as she appears today in the exhibition. At that moment, I didn’t understand why she needed the knife.
That woman led me to the Everyday Weapons sculptures. Soon after, I made another, larger clay knife and placed it lying across a clay hammer. Because the two pieces had to be secured, I quickly rolled out a slab of clay. The knife lies across, corner to corner, occupying the space. Its upturned point holds down the claws of the hammer, which, immobilized, can’t strike without a hand to lift it. This clay slab made a significant place for the objects. I rolled out another piece of clay and looked around. The next piece I made was a lineup of bottles. A few years earlier my husband had bought several cases of Perrier water, in anticipation of an expected water shortage. From somewhere in my mind, I remembered a street story I’d been told in which someone who was being followed, broke the top off a bottle, sat down in a doorway holding the broken bottle and waited. I took out a bottle from the case and wrapped it in a thin piece of clay. When the clay became firm but not too hard to work with, I peeled it off, joined the edges and put it on the clay slab. I took out a second bottle, looked at it, broke off the top and repeated wrapping the glass with clay. Then I added a third and a fourth and lined up a group. Because I found the objects beautiful, and because breaking bottles for a purpose was extremely satisfying, I broke more bottles and made a second sculpture of only broken bottles. After making that sculpture, I found that objects in my home, literal and domestic, became ambiguous: a pair of shoes, a rolling pin, the keys to my house. One night in a dream, I saw a man’s work glove rising up out of the earth, which eventually inspired the work titled Apparition. I made these works almost twenty-five years ago, a very long time ago. Although I remember the violent emotions I felt when I made the pieces, I can also look at them objectively today. I see this work as dramatic. Each clay slab presents an individual piece of theater. The sculptures can be read in sequence as a narrative.
The first work, the knife over the hammer begins the unfolding drama, followed by the bottles. These are survivors, taking their stand. A man enters next – he is represented by an inert and empty pair of gloves, hands with the palms facing up. The gloves rest in front of a row of bottles, the sleeping pills with the potential for harm. This work is followed by a man’s glove, a woman’s pair of shoes, and a corkscrew. The corkscrew could be for romance, to open a bottle of wine, but could also be a weapon. This ambiguity is contained in all the objects. In this particular piece none of the objects touch each other. Each sits in its own space within the larger space that contains them, raising questions about the relationships between the objects. In the final two pieces some objects come together and touch. In the first, a man’s boot is blocked and held in place by the weight of a rolling pin. In the second of these two final pieces, a single bottle, the top broken off as in the earlier sculptures, sits sheltered inside an ordinary mug. The edges at the top of the bottle point up, as do the keys which rest beside it. In this smaller clay square, the objects are at peace.
In the Everyday Weapons series, objects and spaces are made of the same monochromatic color and texture, giving each piece unity and strength. The static objects belie the emotions which inspired them. These sculptures are transpersonal as well as personal; they exist as archetypes. The monochrome color and the dry texture of the clay remind me of the desert and objects buried, then excavated. Because clay is an ancient material, this work could have come from a remote past. Because these pieces originated in my experience, the work represents the archaeology of my past. Because clay has this quality of timelessness, the represented actions of violence and rage can be imagined now or in the future.”
– Gail Goldsmith, January 2014
Opening reception: Thursday, February 27, 6-8 pm.
There is something fascinating about circuses, not the big productions kind, but the small family type that travel around the countryside. They aren’t perfect but you get a sense that they really try; the kind of atmosphere were strange things can happen but we are still close to ordinary life. – Klara Kristalova
Galerie Perrotin, New York is pleased to present “UNDERWORLD”, its first solo exhibition by Klara Kristalova in New York and the artist’s fourth solo show with Galerie Perrotin.
Klara Kristalova constructs a dark, odd, and yet familiar world. The characters that inhabit her universe are peculiar, alone, quiet, perhaps lost, as if they have just escaped from a cruel tale, waiting for a passer-by to stop and indicate the way. Made from glazed ceramics, Kristalova ‘s figures carry a raw, vulnerable, human feel to them. Drawing from Nordic storytelling and traditional myths, Kristalova manages to convey basic human emotions such as fear, love, sadness and guilt, which emerge from her work like memories from our own childhood.
For her first exhibition at Galerie Perrotin, New York, Kristalova presents a series of new characters who form an ambiguous circus cast: performing acrobats, a bird with a girl’s face, a boy with mosquito wings, a magician’s daughter. How they ended up together is for us to guess though don’t be fooled by their seemingly innocent look. As with “Double Face”, they all carry their own enigma of good and evil. Perhaps they deserve their fate; perhaps they are unaware of their own condition. Kristalova crafts their portraits at a specific moment of their mysterious lives, providing us with a few elements before the curtain drops and the show begins, leaving us to write the rest of our their narrative.
Kristalova was born in former Czechoslovakia in 1967 and moved to Sweden with her parents when she was only a year old. She studied at the Royal University College of Fine Art in Stockholm and lives in Norrtälje, Sweden. Recent exhibitions include the Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Sweden (2012), Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2012), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2011) and SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico (2009), among many others.
In celebration of Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo’s impressive collection and significant contributions, Boise Art Museum proudly presents a full-scale exhibition highlighting their collection and gifts. Among the notable ceramic artists included are Rudy Autio, Frank Boyden, Helen Frankenthaler, Jun Kaneko, David Smith and Peter Voulkos as well as two-dimensional works by Bill Lewis, Judy Cooke, Alden Mason and Hung Liu.
“There is no central pathway to view the exhibition Modern and Contemporary Ceramics: Anita Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo Collection, other than a love of the ceramic medium. They acquire based upon that recognition between eye and mind that have encountered a masterwork. The ceramics range from traditional to edgy, from known masters to the lesser known. It is deliciously eclectic.” - Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio, Award-winning authors, critics and curators.
Over several decades Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo have assembled an exceptional art collection, reflecting their interest in modern and contemporary art with a focus on ceramics. As part of their ongoing relationship with Boise Art Museum, they have loaned numerous artworks to various exhibitions and gifted BAM more than 40 important ceramics and other paintings that deepen and enrich the Museum’s collections.
In February, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will present the first major exhibition of the Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection, a remarkable group of 170 artworks—ceramics, fiber work, furniture, glass, jewelry and works on paper—acquired by the Museum in 2010. Beyond Craft: Decorative Arts from the Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection will showcase 85 objects by 50 artists—including Olga de Amaral, Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, Sam Maloof, Richard Marquis, Albert Paley, Ken Price, Peter Voulkos and Toshiko Takaezu—and highlight important studio objects made from the mid–1960s to the 2000s with a focus on the 1960s–80s, the collection’s great strength.
“Lee and Mel Eagle were adventurous collectors at a time when the boundaries between high art and studio craft were challenged by cognoscenti and prescient dealers; the result is a distinctive collection that reflects the technical innovations and shifting tastes of the last half century,” said Museum director, Gary Tinterow.
“Since the Museum acquired the collection in 2010, many of the works have been featured in permanent collection presentations, providing glimpses into its riches,” said Cindi Strauss, curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts and Design. “Now, for the first time, the Museum will present the collection and visitors can experience the power of these individual objects while appreciating the Eagles’ vision as collectors.”
Leatrice and Melvin Eagle began by collecting works of clay in 1960 and the medium remains at the heart of their collection to this day. Lee’s early training as a ceramist led to a lifetime devotion to clay, a passion that Mel has shared with her over the years. As the couple became sophisticated observers of the field and their preferences took shape, they successfully assembled a museum-quality collection of ceramics, fiber art, furniture, jewelry and prints, paintings and drawings. Their passion grew beyond living with objects to encompass a deep respect for art and artists, as well as a lifelong commitment to promoting and supporting their work through institutional and personal involvement.
Beginning with the 1973 establishment of Eagle Ceramics—a business that provided the resources to make and teach ceramics—the Eagles immersed themselves in the art community and began forming relationships with many prominent artists. From 1979 to 1983, Montgomery College, Eagle Ceramics and the American Hand Gallery in Washington, D.C., collaborated to present of a series of workshops, lectures and exhibitions called “Making It in Clay.” These events enabled the Eagles to meet prominent artists and the couple started collecting their works in depth. Ralph Bacerra, Don Reitz, Adrian Saxe and Michael Cardew have remained touchstones for the Eagles and lasting friendships with the artists resulted from these initial meetings. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Eagles were inspired to acquire collection subsets in jewelry, fiber and furniture and expand their significant holdings in West Coast ceramics, particularly those made in the 1960s and 1970s during the heyday of the Funk movement.
The Museum’s embrace of craft as an art form led to the Eagles’ choice of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as the new home for their collection in 2010. Since that time, the Eagle Collection has been a great asset to the permanent collection, enhancing its strengths in ceramics, glass and jewelry, and filling major gaps in fiber and furniture.
Rose Cabat is considered an artistic treasure in Arizona and an important American studio ceramicist of the Mid-century Modern movement. Born Rose Katz in the Bronx, New York, in 1914, she first worked with clay as a child at the Henry Street Settlement House. In 1936, she married childhood friend Erni Cabat, who became her artistic mentor and biggest supporter. In the late 1930s, Erni studied under Vally Wieselthier, a well-known Wiener Werkstatte potter and ceramic sculptor who had immigrated to the United States from Austria. In 1938, when Erni brought home a lump of clay to use for one of his own projects, Rose fashioned it into several coiled figures and other objects. Noticing Rose’s talent, Erni bought her a membership at Greenwich House Pottery in Greenwich Village. There she taught herself to create wheel-thrown pots in earthenware and to develop her own glazes. The Cabats moved to Tucson, Arizona, in 1942, when their first child developed asthma. The family grew, and Rose worked as a riveter at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. In Arizona, Rose first worked with clay from the local brickyard, and threw pots on a wheel made from a converted washing machine. Eventually, Rose worked with stoneware and porcelain clays on a professional Randall wheel, which she still uses to create her celebrated forms. In the mid-1950s, Rose exhibited her work nationally, including at the Tucson Art Center, later to become the Tucson Museum of Art.
Cabat’s artistic breakthrough came in 1956 when she accompanied Erni while he attended a conference in Hawaii. Rose stayed on to take a course in glaze calculation at the University of Hawaii, and returned home with new insights into the nuances of the craft. Together, Rose and Erni developed a glaze they named “feelie glaze” for its silky smoothness. In the early 1960s, Rose elevated her signature vases from utilitarian craft objects to museum-quality works of art; iconic rounded forms with delicate, narrow necks and jewel-colored glazes. In 1966, Rose participated in the Craftsmen USA exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which established her reputation as an important Mid-century Modern ceramicist. Rose Cabat will turn 100 this summer. This exhibition is a celebration of Cabat’s illustrious life and intrepid artistic achievements.
By challenging the gravity, Daniela Schlagenhauf creates the activity. The body becomes east and the void is movement. Her work embraces the air with such a master that is allowed to be carried by the gentle arabesques. The strictness of the gesture, the rhythmof the curves and the audacity of the empty given, guide you on the due of the choreography.
Dare the imbalance, risk falling to rise in any virtuosity, go round, touch upon, evade the invisible and give it shape. The subtle and refined work of Nathalie Jover seems to slip away and vanish but like a wave it takes shape before our marveled eyes.
Located in the former public bath of the municipality of Forest, La Galerie de L’Ô is an exhibition venue dedicated to contemporary ceramics. Its configuration and its unusual architecture offer artists a unique development potential space.
In his early twenties Johan Tahon dug up in the center of Ghent a majolica milk jug. It proved to be an important discovery: it was made by the Antwerp ceramist of Italian descent Guido Andries. Andries introduced majolica in the Netherlands and in 1520 put up a kiln in the Kammenstraat, not far from where gallery Valerie Traan is now located. This accidental discovery lead to Tahon’s collection of pre-Renaissance pottery and to a growing fascination with the archetypal uses of pottery.
A quarter century later Johan Tahon is the best known Flemish sculptor with his famous white sculptures. In Galerie Valerie Traan he shows for the first time his versions of the albarello, or pharmacist’s pot, capriciously covered with white glace.
These ointment jars with their healing powers and their ancient utilitarian shape mean a lot to Tahon. He doesn’t consider these hand-molded pots to be ready-made objects, but sees them as modern variants on ancient forms that have survived over time.
With his famous white sculptures Johan Tahon became the most famous Flemish sculptor. In Galerie Valerie Traan he shows for the first time his versions of the albarello, or pharmacist’s pot, capriciously covered with white glaze. These ointment jars with their healing powers and their ancient utilitarian are of great importance to Tahon. He doesn’t consider these hand-molded pots to be ready-made objects, but sees them as modern variants on ancient forms that have survived over time.
"It gives a great freedom, a certain lightness, to make utilitarian objects," explains Johan Tahon. "There is not that philosophical burden that weighs on you when you make art. The utilitarian, the making of utensils, is a discipline in itself. For me, it refers to rituals, to primal expressions of human civilization. And yet I have never before done anything with pots."
Many Arizonans are familiar with Jun Kaneko’s large-scale ceramic dango sculptures (Japanese for dumpling) at Sky Harbor Airport, and his ceramic tile wall in front of Phoenix Art Museum. Bentley Gallery will be exhibiting his monumental glazed dangos and heads covered in geometric shapes and pure color. The sculptures are made with large amounts of clay, slowly built by hand using the slab technique. The glazing on Kaneko’s new works are reminiscent of his classic dangos, punctuated by graphic polka dots, spirals, stripes, and zigzags in pure black and white. These rhythmic designs are analogous with the Japanese Shinto concept of the Ma, which loosely translates into “attachment through space.”
Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942, Kaneko came to the U.S. in 1963 and studied at the Chouinard Institute of Art. His innovative work is in more than 70 international museum collections including Arabia Museum, Helsinki, Finland; Detroit Institute of Arts; Houston Museum of Fine Arts; Los Angeles County Art Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Art and Design, NY; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum and Smithsonian American Art Museum. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska, the Massachusetts College of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art in London.
This past summer, a large scale outdoor exhibition of Kaneko’s Tanuki sculpture (a symbol of fertility and prosperity) was installed at Millennium Park in Chicago. In 2012 his costumes, sets and lighting designs were featured in the San Francisco Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. He has also created costumes, sets, and video backdrops for Madame Butterfly, which began touring in 2006 and is still in production today. The artist lives in Omaha, Nebraska.
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