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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Transformation 9: Contemporary Works in Ceramics / Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh April 25 - November 1, 2014
The Transformation series, one of the Society for Contemporary Craft’s signature programs, was established in 1997 as a biennial juried exhibition focusing on traditional craft media–glass, wood, metal, clay, and found materials–in rotation. The exhibition seeks out an international selection of artists redefining their medium to create work that is challenging and thought provoking; inviting us all to reconsider our notion of “craft.”
This year’s focus is on clay. Clay has been used, decorated, coveted, and collected for thousands of years, yet in the hands of contemporary artists this irresistible medium continues to surprise through innovative techniques, forms, and functions. Visitors are invited to see what happens when makers push the boundaries of time-honored craft materials—right before our eyes, something old is new again.
In conjunction with each Transformation exhibition, the jurors award the participating artist whose work best displays the tenets of excellence and innovation the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize. Named in honor of SCC’s founder, the award is accompanied by a $5000 cash prize.
"I fell in love with both the material and the vessel as a magical form; but it was a long time before I realised how I wanted to use it… I was seduced by the alchemy of change where you take a material…and it is transmogrified into something else."
Born in Staffordshire in 1934, Henderson became interested in painting and sculpture while working for a timber company in Cardiff and started attending evening classes at the local art school. In 1964 Henderson began a foundation course at Goldsmiths College in London where he first encountered clay. Later he would study ceramics under, among others, Hans Coper and Lucie Rie, at the Camberwell School of Art. But he always made time to draw and paint. He graduated in 1968 and continued his studies at Edinburgh College of Art before returning to London.
Dates: August 11-25, 2014 Location: Mark Rothko Art Center, Daugavpils, Latvia
International Ceramic Art Symposium “LANDescape” 2014 is a joint initiative of Daugavpils Clay Art Center and Daugavpils Rothko Art Center which emerged from both partner organizations’ activities and cooperation aimed at promoting contemporary art, including contemporary ceramic processes in Latvia.