Sarah Purvey: Landscape Series, 2010-2014
Simcha Even-Chen: Balance in Motion / Benyamini Contemporary Ceramics Center, Tel Aviv
May 15 - July 5, 2014
Curated by Tirza Yalon Kolton
A general overview of the exhibition takes us on a stroll through an avenue, with structures on either side. It is a walk between the fine elegance of geometric shapes, and the almost smug solidity and sensuous texture of the surface of the material, scorched by living flames.
In his book, “Species of Spaces and Other Pieces”, Georges Perec describes his journey through space, and the sensations it awakened within him: “Our gaze travels through space and gives us the illusion of relief and distance. That is how we construct a space, with an up and a down, a left and a right, and in front and a behind, a near and a far”.¹
In my meetings with Simcha, in preparation for the exhibition, we frequently discussed the sensations that works of art induce in us: opposites, balances and imbalances, floating… The work of sculpting the massive clay matter sends a message of stability and a sense of floating in space. I am fascinated by the duality of the interaction between softness and harmonious flows, between the ascetic black and precise, repetitive patterns that speak of uncompromising harshness.
In her works, one can trace the evolution of a language that expresses and explores the relationships between “free” three-dimensional space and the open and twisted, two-dimensional, geometric surfaces planted in it, giving it visual meaning without restricting its movement.
Simcha Even-Chen focuses on the balance between motion and stability, and searches for the relationships between mass, volume and balance. She concentrates on simple and harmonious architectural shapes, and uses black and white colors. Borrowed from graphic paper, the grid-like pattern that covers her works offers a precise, scientific result on top of the harmonious, elusive bodies. Her works appear to be floating in midair, lacking any center of mass; while the black color, formed during the firing process using the Naked Raku technique, which allows the artist to control the absorption of the smoke by the surface of the piece, bestows the illusion of gravitational grasp. The geometric coating and the interplay of smoothness and roughness on the surface create a breathtaking tension.
—Tirza Yalon Kolton
¹ Perec, Georges. Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, ed. and trans. by John Sturrock, London: Penguin, 1997 (Page 81.)
Simcha Even-Chen was awarded her PhD degree in 1990, in the field of Biology at Tel-Aviv University. She held a Project Manager Position in a Biotechnology Company till 1993. During the period of 1994-1996 she has taken night courses in ceramic at Rehovot Culture Foundation parallel to my Post Doctoral position at the Medical School Biochemistry Department, the Hebrew University Jerusalem. Most of her ceramic knowledge is from the literature and self-thought.
In 1996 Simcha established her own studio and later on she gained a position of Senior Scientist in the Medical School, which she has held till May 2013. In 2011 she was elected Member of the International Ceramic Academy (IAC).
Since 2000 her works have been exhibited in Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Korea, China, Romania, Italy, Croatia, USA, South Africa, Australia and Israel. She won Awards in Australia, Spain, Korea, Slovenia and China and has works in major museums and private collections in an increasing number of countries.
Kevork Cholakian: Artist’s Studio Chairs, 2012-2013
Chairs are an essential part for our every day existence,they virtually go unnoticed. Yet how we use them tells us something about the person who uses them. By creating this series of artist’s chairs in clay I transform something otherwise mundane and challenge our preconception of the use of materials and prompt a closer look at the seemingly ordinary.
Eszter Imre: Must-produced, 2012
Series of porcelain sculptures made of factory waste as interpretations of my opinion on perfection. Imperfection can be so tempting and beautiful that it feels complete and exquisite.
Tristan Stamm: Collections, 2014, Work in progress
Originally a collection of 26 seedlings/penises, with the tallest being 29 inches and the smallest at 3 inches.
I had a hard time finding a way to show this collection of seedlings/penises, and eventually found their space when surrounded by my other work.
I am now working on finding their place in other environments while exploring the idea of collecting and obsessions.
Lucy Gresley: Vessels, 2014
Vessels is a collection of work that explores the idea of vessels, both as containers and as metaphors for people and their emotions. My artwork is often about thinking and reflecting – in this case, investigating the different meanings and connotations of vessels. For example, I am interested in the psychoanalytic idea of caregivers as emotional containers, who can hold and re-interpret strong feelings. I am also fascinated by alchemy and particularly the use of vessels in alchemy as sites of transformation.
In making this work, I have become interested in vessels that cannot be used or that will not contain anything. I imagine that vessels can be like people – elegant, funny, self-contained, ineffectual, silly, detached or spilling their contents – and I have played with their form to reflect this. I enjoy mistakes and forms that are intentionally wrong – collapsing spouts and vases without openings. I am also attracted to the anthropomorphic qualities of pots and vases.
I enjoy the freedom of working in clay, which I find a very direct and playful medium. I am also interested in the dialogue between these ceramic pieces and my collage work, which I can use to infer ideas and create narratives.
Güliz Korkmaz Tirkeş: Flow Series, 2010-2013
My work in general may be considered as formed under the effect of an outer force. While this force may reveal itself as irregular linear textures on some forms, in others the body itself is bent or squeezed according to the strength and direction of this force. However, the force is not detrimental, but naturally welcomed by the forms.
The flow series also appear as a result of the forces applied by large volumes. The effects of these volumes on these works are embraced with soft and smooth movements and can be traced on the form with a natural flow. As in my other works this also may be seen as traces of an outer force, but these traces are outcomes that are formed within a natural flow and are affirmed by the form. The final form stands upright with its pure, content energy shaped by this feeling of embrace.
Brett Freund: Bliss Point - The amount of an ingredient that optimizes palatability, 2013-2014
This project is a exploration of repetition and balance while researching the aesthetic parameters of different materials. These recent vessels represent an indulgence in making with consideration to how choice creates form. My background is rooted in traditional pottery and it’s important to me for my work to best reflect the world that I feel is around me.
Michael Boroniec: Spatial Spirals, 2013
What began with teapots and a single spiral, has evolved into a series of vases that vary in form, degree of expansion, and number of coils. Each vessel is wheel thrown then deconstructed. This process reveals aspects of the vase that most rarely encounter. Within the walls, maker’s marks become evident and contribute to the texture. The resultant ribbon effect, reminiscent of a wheel trimming, lends fragility, elegance, and motion to a medium generally perceived as hard and heavy. This emphasizes a resistance of gravity, allowing negative space to unravel and become part of the form. The result is a body of sculptural objects, resembling and born of functional vessels.
Seth Czaplewski: Onsite Sculpture, 2013-2014
While researching North St. Louis I have uncovered a history of production and self-sufficiency pushed to the periphery, which today is so prevalent in American society that we barely notice. In the early 1800’s the area just North of downtown St. Louis was a communal farmland for residents. There was also a 15-acre plot along the Mississippi river open to residents to use as they wanted. Both ideas were very progressive for their time and still are, although neither is still in place today. European immigrants once flocked to this area due to failed farming in their homeland. In the case of Henry Overstolz, originally from Germany, once in America his fortune changed when he opened grocery stores. Since then the rapid development of infrastructure has led to a society of convenience. And once again, like in Overstolz’ time of the mid 1800’s, people have fled, as the site cannot meet the needs of the people. My works are inspired by and situated on sites like these.
With the agricultural and technological revolutions of the mid-twentieth century, skills were traded for convenience in the United States with the implementation of the assembly line, mechanization, and mass production. Skilled craftspeople traded their skills in to work in a factory. The factory did provide some benefits, but within a generation, previous skills were lost. As a result, people no longer know how to construct goods, arrange living space, or grow food needed to sustain life. In my work, I attempt to understand and teach myself all three skills on a small scale in relation to the sites former production. The chain of passed-down knowledge has been broken and a relearning of these skills is essential to understand where we stand today.
How people live in relation to agriculture throughout recent history is influential to my work. As society is becoming increasingly disconnected from food production we are losing the most basic and necessary skills. These works re-incorporate food production in direct proximity to dwelling, as it is a necessary step backwards to move forwards. Today the average distance it takes food to get to our homes in the U.S. is 1500 to 2500 miles. Although convenient, “progress is sometimes deceiving and makes us more vulnerable than we once were. Likewise my structures are precarious, permanently placed outdoors, and vulnerable to the whim of the passerby.
I rapidly construct these minature dwellings in relation to food production on a scale reminiscent of the anthropological diorama. They are made out of necessity and use past fragments of mass production related to site as material in creating non-linear historically based sculptural markers. I draw upon past people, industry, patterns, and site uses in the creation of new fragments that anticipate, dedicate, and monumentalize the site. Once constructed, the physical objects are situated outdoors entering the strata. They are then documented digitally as the primary ‘art object’.
Infrastructural changes since the electrification and gassing up of the United States have been influential to my work. In the making of industry, we often lose culture and community, and there has been a considerable amount of unmaking. This unmaking is not isolated to North St. Louis where I currently work. As my needs change and I move to new locations, my work will respond to local histories.