Carol Gouthro: Anthozoa gouthroii “Chromatella”, 2012, Terrecotta clay with underglazes and glazes, 6”h. x 10”w .x 6”d
Bertozzi & Casoni: Regeneration / All Visual Arts, London
October 13 - November 10, 2012
Private view: October 12, 7-9 pm.
All Visual Arts are proud to present Regeneration, a unique installation from Italian artists Bertozzi & Casoni. The artists are acclaimed for their delicate depictions of a culture in decay, deftly rendered in fragile ceramic clay. Their latest work Regeneration queries the hierarchy of aesthetics, revealing the beauty in the neglected and discarded ephemera of our seamless culture. The pieces compel the viewer to confront the visceral decay of contemporary society, to expose the cracks between the artifice of the world we are presented with and to explore what lies within these fissures. With this imaginative approach to their practice, Bertozzi and Casoni align the traditional with the experimental, and allow us to construct our own narrative around their evocative scenes.
Bertozzi and Casoni manipulate the indistinction between the real and the simulacrum in their work, an obsession for detail which evokes the Decadent taste for imitation and crafted artifice as superior to the natural. In fabricating these visually and emotionally compelling still-lifes, the artists engage the viewer in deeper themes of impermanence and mortality. Through rendering the abject and overlooked in such exquisite detail, Bertozzi and Casoni signal the return of the repressed, the avoidance of our own mortality. In one piece in which the memento mori is explicitly rendered, an ox skull is dominated by a vivid monitor lizard, symbolic of both death and rebirth in its habitat across Asia and Australia. In the antonymously titled DisGRACE, vibrant blooms sprout from the polluted detritus of a decadent and avaricious society, a scene of nature triumphing over the excesses of hyper-capitalism.
Regeneration contemplates the possibility of change through rebirth, rediscovery and reappropriation, manipulating earth into elegant and fragile structures. In one piece, a cluster of butterflies flock to raise the severed head of a deer from an ornamental platter, recalling the Renaissance representations of John the Baptist or Holofernes. In a similar echo of classical scenes, and dominating the Regeneration is the serene image of a silverback gorilla resting in the Buddhist lotus position on a bed of discarded mattresses. A roe deer lies prone across its body, while wrens and goldcrests commune around the pair. The piece is an evocation of symbolic power, from the visceral confrontation of our Darwinian descendent dying out in front of our eyes, to the shift between the viewer and sculpture, object and subject as we find ourselves caught in the compassionate gaze of the animals. Our own mortality is inscribed in the tableaux where urban structures, religion and the animal world collide to reveal the grace in disgrace which Bertozzi and Casoni seek to capture.
It seems appropriate that the duo push their material to its limits and question the possibility of representation in their work at every turn. Their liberal accumulation and compilation of cultural references is evident in the playful amalgamation of objects in a work where a swordfish’s head juts from a guitar case; the shapes tessellating the natural with the cultural. Their curiosity and playful approach to objects creates a process of continual experimentation and discovery, freeing themselves from convention and the stereotypes of the ornamental and domestic associated with the ceramic medium, and producing unexpected moments of pathos and humour through their synthesis of past and present, nature and artifice. The artists subvert the established rules about the perception of applied arts through inverting the symbolic power of their traditional medium, exceeding the inherent conservativism of ceramics to sculpt fantastic and grotesque scenes that liberate both the artist and viewer’s imagination.
Anna Von Mertens - Portraits
"Odd avenues of knowledge and inquiry interest me. I research further and uncover phenomena in isolated fields of study that mirror information about my own private world. I then translate this empirical data into a subjective version to reflect the parallels I see.
I have tracked how energy is dispersed in a nuclear explosion and how energy is stored in a cell; exposed hidden topographies (of the human body, of the ocean floor); contrasted migration routes of birds to the migration routes of humans; and shown the stars exactly as seen above violent moments in American history.
These patterns reveal to me aspects of our existence, whether it is how we experience time and face the infinite - embedded in that is our own mortality - or how the boundary of the body is presented to others versus how it is felt internally.
I use the stitch to follow these trails, tracing the paths with my fingers. The dotted line of hand-stitching is a marker of uncertainty, a way of exploring. The time invested in making the work, allowing for contemplation and internalizing, becomes a part of how the work is viewed.
“I have always been interested in the ability of a ceramic vessel to point to something beyond itself—to function as metaphor. Ceramic vessels, physically structured with necks, shoulders, bellies, and feet, can evoke the gesture and anthropomorphized stance of the human body; they also reveal deep aspects of human experience and of the natural world.
My fervent interest in clay vessels has led me to explore new territories in form and surface. Recent work explores three variations on the ceramic vessel form:
The ceramic vessel as a Wellspring or Womb, with possibilities of both fecundity and barrenness;
The vessel as Bottle, whose forms evoke the elongated posture of Cycladic idols and the scarified texture of Yoruba terracotta heads;
The Planet Series explores swirling colored surfaces on rounded orbs, suggesting planets and depths of earthly strata.
These series represent different but related expressive interests. Each piece in a series is part of a continually evolving solution to a set of questions or parameters I have chosen to work within. The parameters, themselves, may change as the series evolve.
Through spontaneous handling of inanimate clay, I attempt to find and breathe life into form. My creative process is grounded in reflective practice—imposing ideas on and listening to the material in cycles of learning. The material directs me as I direct it. We are in a reciprocal relationship.” Ellen Schon
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Cycladic Bottle (green comb), 2011, Stoneware, 16” x 7” x 7” (left)
Cycladic Bottle (green stripe), 2011, Stoneware, 16” x 7” x 7” (right)
James Hoff: I’m Already a Has-Been exhibition / VI, VII, Oslo
August 31 — December 5, 2012
For his first exhibition at VI, VII, American artist, writer and editor James Hoff presents two groups of paintings based around language, and abstraction as a culture-bound illness.
One set of paintings tries to imagine a visual counterpart for syndromes that enter language through specific geographic contexts as the outcome of locally existing phenomena and paranoia—Nigerian ‘Brain Fag’ syndrome for example—formulating abstraction as a cultural malady that is linguistically spread.
A second set of works is based on drawings found at stationary stores in cities like Oslo and New York, casually and communally scribbled onto notepads when customers were testing their pens.
In these works, the scratch pad functions as a surrogate for abstraction illustrating the collective pathos of the community from which they were born. All of this, of course, goes back to Freud and can be traced through the Dadaist affinity with automatic writing and the very imperfect science of twentieth century gestalt theory which used mark-making as a way to determine cognitive skills, sanity and mental health.
In preparing this exhibition, the artist chose to include new works not previously addressed in this press release. The works were composed by means of flocking the areas left exposed after a first-pass tearing away at the shrink wrap around pre-fabricated canvases, freezing with small colored fibers set into wet paint, the exact moment the canvas is about to be freed to be painted on. In this sense each of these partially flocked works is a still life, soft to the touch, that documents the innate and every everyday activity of unwrapping a package. (via Contemporary Art Daily)
Images courtesy of VI, VII, Oslo. Photos by Jon Benjamin Tallerås.
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Reviving the light: Zsolnay Ceramic Design / ILIAD, New York
October 17 - November 30, 2012
Opening reception: Wednesday, October 17, from 6 - 8 pm
Works by Eva Zeisel, Julia Kunin, Zsuzsa Füzesi, Viktor Erdei, Sándor Dobány, Edina Andrási.
Curators: Julia Kunin and Andrea Megyes
Balassi Institute New York and ILIAD are proud to present the exhibition Reviving the Light: New Zsolnay Eosin Ceramics, featuring contemporary designs by a select group of Hungarian and American artists prepared at the Zsolnay porcelain factory in Pécs, Hungary. The exhibition opens on October 17, 2012 at ILIAD and will be on view until November 30. The Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacturing Company, founded in the 1850’s, has been known to produce the finest in Hungarian ceramics, particularly during its “golden age” in the Art Nouveau and Secession periods at the turn of the 19th and early part of the 20th century. To revive old traditions lost during the Second World War and the Soviet occupation, six artists participated at a workshop held at the Siklós Ceramics Arts Center in southern Hungary in summer 2011. The aim of the workshop was to produce objects that would highlight Zsolnay’s traditional role in producing high-end ceramics and demonstrate the compatibility of techniques like eosin glaze with contemporary art and design. An express goal of the symposium: the presentation of those works in a special showing in New York City.The exhibition testifies to the unique reservoir of traditional techniques safeguarded at Zsolnay while showcasing the innovative potential for contemporary design highlighted by these iridescent and luminous glazes. Of special interest are a series of vases by Eva Zeisel, which she contributed to the Siklós symposium in 2011. These were originally designed for Royal Stafford, and now enriched with iridescent glazes. Re-contextualizing some of her late-career trademark designs, on view will be examples of select forms designed by her in 1983 when she was invited to collaborate with the Zsolnay factory. These designs for eosin-glaze pieces were first executed in 1998 in a limited number.
Artists include Viktor Erdei, a young designer at the Zsolnay factory, whose works re-imagine Art Nouveau in their invocations of natural forms. Sándor Dobány is an expert in architectural ceramic design, and creates fantastical porcelain objects painted with surreal imagery. Zsuzsa Füzesi’s Whimsical Vessels series in eosin glaze investigate the geometries of structure and matter, and Edina Andrási’s experimental deconstructions of historical Zsolnay vases create objects that are both evocative of and radically different from their original sources.
Finally, New York-based artist Julia Kunin’s recent pieces explore concepts of excess, growth, and decay, often bringing to mind memento mori. The works incorporate iridescent glazes, which change constantly with the light, creating psychedelic surfaces on the baroque forms. Apart from her contribution as artist, Kunin both proposed the show to New York City partners and co-curated the exhibition.
Liliana Folta exhibition / Amazing Things Art Center, Framingham, MA
September 27 - October 28, 2012
Opening reception and Artist talk: October 4, 7-9 pm.
Liliana Folta is a Latin American multidisciplinary artist. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts.
"The potential ability of the imagination has an important impact in our lives. Minds have visual images that we collect through our lives.
These inner-images that represent my works are examinations of my existence. However, in this bank of memories I cherish every possible emotion; happiness, growing pains, family loss, first love, motherhood, sexuality, multicultural experiences, frustration, society’s rules and most importantly the celebration of life.
As an artist I like to work with different mediums especially acrylic paintings and ceramic sculptures. For the past few years I have been experimenting with mixed media installation. The freedom of expanding my work in another dimension makes me feel more connected with the viewers.
The process of my work mostly is very spontaneous; the rest comes along with what my subconscious has been saving in my bank of memories, throughout my life and the happening of the moment.”
Exhibition in collaboration with Mike Vickers (Light effects) and Gustavo Jiménez (Experimental sounds).
Curator: Olga Shmuylovich.
Liliana Fonta’s works are in several private and public collections in the United States, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Australia, Spain, Poland, Museum of Contemporary Ceramics - Dominican Republic, Ku Art Center - Beijing.
Francesco Ardini was born in Padua, Italy, and graduated in Landscape Architecture at the IUAV, Venice, in 2011. He discovered ceramics during the study years. Currently works in Padua and Nove.
The vision of reality in Ardini’s studies relates to broken objects, uneven surfaces, the apparent dissolution, the linearity undermined by failure. All these lead to a naturalism where the works provide biological cycles in which the dissolution is always followed by a formal definition.
Francesco Ardini understands the scientific course that begins with Einstein’s relativity, Max Planck’s quantum theory, going on with the Hubble’s discovery of galaxies, to land - in the second half of the twentieth century - within an epistemological revolution that places the possibility/probability above the necessity. Ardini accepts the idea that a large part of reality is not linear, but chaotic, and has a view of a universe development which will end in a cosmic catastrophe. These ideas place Ardini’s work in the sphere of conceptual art.