In this series, works depicting physical aging and a gendered issue surrounding dementia are engaged from a female point of view. Questions surrounding social responsibility are visited through an intimate look at a mother’s dilemma. My focus shifted to my mother after a few years of observing and caring for her while she navigated her days living with Alzheimer’s disease. My mother’s countenance emerges in the work through clay figures over a period of time and through multiplicity. By investigating concrete representations and creating situations that the viewer will identify with, I hope to engage the viewer in a deeper way.
Zane Bennett Contemporary Art is pleased to announce Complications, an exhibition of works in glass by Matthew Szösz. The opening is Friday, June 27, at the gallery, from 5-7 pm as part of the Railyard Arts District Last Friday Artwalk.
Matthew Szösz, born in Providence Rhode Island, resides and practices in northern California. He holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts, a Bachelor’s of Industrial Design and a Master of Fine Arts in Glass all from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and has been awarded grants by prestigious institutions in his field such as the L.C. Tiffany Foundation. Szösz has held numerous artist residencies all over the world including the Danish Royal Academy. Szösz has an extremely impressive resume for an artist of such a young age.
Szösz’s creative process involves investigation of his chosen materials, resulting in a dance or a dialogue between artist and material. His interest lies in the moment of transformation which is what fuels his impulse to create.
I have developed a process utilizing my knowledge of various casting methods and glaze, chemistry to create forms made entirely glaze. The color and texture is appealing and repulsive at the same time. When viewed through a magnifying glass the surface resembles Scanning Electron Micrographs of cancer cells. The fragile and fleeting appearance of these pieces symbolizes the transient nature of human life. This series of glaze, casted hands represent the genetic passing of disease from generation to generation. It is my fear that my family’s history with cancer is somehow genetic.
Watt’s Up? explores the relationship between ceramics and light by presenting some thirty works of art from all over the world, all created in recent years. Oddly enough, this relationship seems to inspire artists more than designers, trained to create objects such as lamps. Perhaps that’s because light transcends objects and gives us a whole new take on the world. Light affects our vision by modifying our perception of space and movement. In addition, there is a symbolic, poetic and mysterious element to it. As the French author Jean Giono once put it, very clever mysteries hide in the light. If light and ceramics go hand in hand, it’s mainly courtesy of porcelain’s unique properties of translucency, which can give light – produced by a candle or a tungsten filament – a soft, poetic aura and elicit a feeling of wonder. Ceramics offers a broad palette of sensations to play with. Faience is heavy, glossy and sensual in its interaction with light. Pottery absorbs lux units and asserts its own material plasticity to counter the intangible nature of light. Porcelain is lightweight and translucent, and the matte aspect of unglazed biscuit forms a striking contrast with the gloss of the glaze. Watt’s Up? is an unprecedented investigation of the latest innovations and know-how, both sensorial and intellectual in scope. As the topic was complex and broke new ground, it took nearly two years of research to bring these thirty or so works together. These works are by fifteen artists exhibiting for the first time in France. They are the result of technical prowess – manual and technical – as well as fresh creative thinking. None of them represent any particular school of thought, creative trend or artistic movement. Each work is an explosion of creativity, born of the artist’s reflections and inspiring a sense of wonder. This exhibition sheds new light on the art of ceramics.
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.
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.
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.