Ceramic artists list
> Ceramic artists list 100. Tim Rowan 99. Graciela Olio 98. Michal Fargo 97. Ryan Blackwell 96. Ellen Schön 95. Francesco Ardini 94. David Gallagher 93. Elizabeth Shriver 92. Jason Hackett 91. Patricia Sannit 90. Bente Skjøttgaard 89. Steve Belz 88. Ruth Power 87. Jenni Ward 86. Liliana Folta 85. Kira O'Brien 84. Annie Woodford 83. Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso 82. Bogdan Teodorescu 81. Kimberly Cook 80. Paula Bellacera 79. Debra Fleury 78. Cindy Billingsley 77. David Gilbaugh 76. Teresa & Helena Jané 75. Marianne McGrath 74. Suzanne Stumpf 73. Deborah Britt 72. Kathy Pallie 71. Els Wenselaers 70. Kjersti Lunde 69. Brian Kakas 68. Marie T. Hermann 67. Mark Goudy 66. Susan Meyer 65. Simcha Even-Chen 64. Barbara Fehrs 63. Shamai Gibsh 62. Natalia Dias 61. Bethany Krull 60. Amanda Simmons 59. Arthur Gonzalez 58. Chris Riccardo 57. Akiko Hirai W 56. Johannes Nagel 55. Rika Herbst 54. Liza Riddle 53. Chang Hyun Bang 52. Virginie Besengez 51. Jasmin Rowlandson 50. Chris Wight 49. Wim Borst 48. Rafael Peréz 47. Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir 46. Cathy Coëz 45. Merete Rasmussen 44. Carol Gouthro 43. JoAnn Axford 42. David Carlsson 41. Margrieta Jeltema 40. David Roberts 39. Patrick Colhoun 38. Abigail Simpson 37. Signe Schjøth 36. Katharine Morling 35. Dryden Wells 34. Antonella Cimatti 33. Cynthia Lahti 32. Carole Epp 31. Blaine Avery 30. Ian Shelly 29. Jim Kraft 28. Wesley Anderegg 27. Connie Norman 26. Arlene Shechet 25. Young Mi Kim 24. Jason Walker 23. Peter Meanley 22. Shane Porter 21. Jennifer McCurdy 20. Yoichiro Kamei 19. Debbie Quick 18. Ian F Thomas 17. John Shirley 16. Grayson Perry 15. Vivika & Otto Heino 14. Georges Jeanclos 13. Daniel Kavanagh 12. Nagae Shigekazu 11. Matthew Chambers 10. Tim Andrews 9. Claire Muckian 8. Adam Frew 7. Maciej Kasperski 6. Roxanne Jackson 5. Keith Schneider 4. Celeste Bouvier 3. Tim Scull 2. Kim Westad 1. Sara Paloma

Ceramic art

Marit Tingleff and Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl: X–Scapes / Copenhagen Ceramics

Marit Tingleff and Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl: X–Scapes at Copenhagen Ceramics

Marit Tingleff and Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl: X–Scapes / Copenhagen Ceramics
May 1-24, 2014

Landscape as the scene of everyday life. Sculptures as concrete drawings in space. Huge, robust ceramic dishes are set against more fragile, sinuous accumulations of abstract form in the exhibition of Marit Tingleff and Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl at Copenhagen Ceramics.

X–Scapes is the title of the joint exhibition by Norwegian ceramicist Marit Tingleff and Danish artist Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl. The title refers to ’scape’ as in landscape, while also pointing to numerous other possible scapes - physical and mental scenarios– anything from seascape and cityscape to mindscape; from the concrete to the abstract.

This x-scape represents the pivotal point of the meeting in clay between the two artists, where, in spite of the obvious differences in their artistic expression, the ambience of their work overlaps and visual resonance appears.

Marit Tingleff is internationally renowned as one of Norway’s greatest contemporary ceramic artists.Throughout her career she has consistently worked with, and against, the deep-rooted cultural layers of ceramic tradition.

Her particular strength lies in her ability to express the monumental character inherent in everyday phenomena. She manages to elucidate the metaphorical qualities of even the most ordinary functional objects, precisely by insisting so powerfully on their familiar and beloved forms. These are often presented in a monumental format - very large ceramic dishes or platters are her particular subject.

In the work she will be showing at Copenhagen Ceramics, she treats the landscape as a painterly theme with reference to early faience tableware.
Blue landscapes were favoured as subject matter and are still found on plates, cups and dishes in many homes. Tingleff uses the landcape of her own daily life as a starting point for an interpretation of these ceramic landscapes.

In a very different manner, a sense of being within landscape is equally the theme for Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl, in an abstract vein. In his ceramic sculpture the underlying agenda is to emphasize simple existence in space. Characteristically, he insists that even the most casual, banal gesture in space can be made important through a precise formal elaboration. Here is the crossover with Marit Tingleffs work: both have a vigilant eye for the monumental within the seemingly insignificant.

In his new works, entitled Spatial Drawings, he aims to establish the conditions for creating an intuitive, spatial form. He sets up his own obstacles to avoid consciously planning the figures. Out of endless small bits of clay tubes he builds parts that are then assembled into larger structures, which move around in space - dancing, groping their way, rising and falling. Like sculptural equivalents of semi-consciously scribbled doodles, they just exist – perhaps they emerged out of a void of thought – a distracted sense? They could have looked completely different. A pure sculptural movement. A captured account of the here and now.

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  • InCiteful Clay / Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, USA

    InCiteful Clay at Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock

    InCiteful Clay / Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, USA
    April 4 - June 29, 2014

    The Arkansas Arts Center, the state’s leader in international, visual and performing arts, presents the exhibition, InCiteful Clay, on view April 4 - June 29, in the Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery.

    “This exhibition of brilliantly expressive ceramics offers extraordinary insight into the artists’ creative imaginations,” said Arkansas Arts Center chief curator and curator of contemporary craft Brian Lang. “Each work in the exhibition tells a unique and compelling narrative and illustrates the diversity and limitless potential of the clay medium.”

    Artists have long used their creations as powerful vehicles to confront current and major societal issues, moving beyond paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs to installations and electronic media over the last century. Social concern has also become an area of increasing interest in contemporary craft.

    For more than fifty years, the Arkansas Arts Center has been a leader in collecting and exhibiting contemporary craft. InCiteful Clay continues this tradition and is a follow-up to the landmark exhibition, Confrontational Clay: The Artist as Social Critic, which was also presented by the Arkansas Arts Center in 2000. This national travelling exhibition offers an unparalleled overview of an emergent movement in contemporary ceramics dedicated to social commentary.

    Incorporating a broad range of work, InCiteful Clay includes approximately 35 ceramic sculptures by artists who utilize a millennia-old medium to create provocative critiques of contemporary social, political, cultural and environmental issues. The exhibition is organized around five themes: war and politics; the social and human condition; gender issues; environmental concerns; and popular and material culture. The artists have conveyed their messages in styles that are aggressive, violent, disturbing, irreverent, and at times, humorous, but all the while ever passionate. They rely on figurative imagery, narrative content, and a range of expressive avenues, including caricature, parody, satire, obscenity, erotica and the grotesque.

    Featured artists in the exhibition include: Toby Buonagurio, Nuala Creed, Michelle Erickson, Richard Notkin, Anne Potter, Richard Shaw, Akio Takamori, Ehren Tool, Patti Warashina and Paula Winokur, among others. Among the specific topics they address are: the social consequences of war, the impact of declining moral values on children, capital punishment, consumerism and global warming.

    Traditionally, ceramics have served functional and decorative purposes and have been associated with positive experiences. Visitors to this exhibition will come away with a new appreciation for the expressive capabilities of clay media to convey substantive content and to deliver the powerful critiques more routinely seen in painting and sculpture.

    InCiteful Clay is organized and circulated by ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, with the Arkansas Arts Council and The National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition is curated by Judith S. Schwartz, Ph.D., an internationally recognized specialist in contemporary ceramics. A professor and director of craft media in the Department of Art and Art Professions, New York University (New York, New York), Schwartz recently published a groundbreaking study of this movement within ceramic art, Confrontational Ceramics: The Artist as Social Critic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).

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  • Sara Radstone / Marsden Woo Gallery, London

    Sara Radstone at Marsden Woo Gallery London

    Sara Radstone / Marsden Woo Gallery, London
    April 3 - May 10, 2014

    Sara Radstone describes her work as ‘a lifetime obsession with things that are overlooked or discarded’. Thoughts of archived objects and the traces or fragments of long redundant artefacts all haunt her work; they represent, as she puts it, the ‘frozen remains of what might have been.’

    Her most recent sculptures on the theme of distant and fragile memory make reference to both past works and more universal themes. Some aspects of her investigation include the re-envisioning of her personal visual language. She speaks of ‘Re-visiting a sense of volume and seeing it differently’, to overturn the original idea to the degree of ‘going to the absolute opposite’. Thus formerly enclosed shapes are now ripped open, while a delicate, skeletal wall-mounted piece, composed of frail fragments, makes poignant reference to an earlier sculpture, sadly lost alongside numerous other contemporary British artworks in the MoMart warehouse fire of 2004.

    Traces of thoughts and the notion of ideas gradually taking shape and accumulating over time are also represented in a series of folder or book-like forms. These thin and precarious objects appear dry and brittle, torn, scratched and punctured, while bearing the sheen of use. Radstone found herself returning to work on the books almost as a daily ritual; as such they became the focus of her interest in ‘building up a sort of diary of marks’, serving as a record of ‘the struggle to express things on their pages’.

    Sara Radstone (b.1955) studied at Herefordshire College of Art (1975-76) and Camberwell School of Art & Design, London (1976-79). She has exhibitedinternationally and her work can be found in numerous public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum, USA; Shigaraki Cultural Park, Japan; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

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  • Gunhild Rudjord and Nils Erik Gjerdevik / Copenhagen Ceramics, Denmark

    Gunhild Rudjord and Nils Erik Gjerdevik at Copenhagen Ceramics

    Gunhild Rudjord and Nils Erik Gjerdevik / Copenhagen Ceramics, Denmark
    February 27 - March 22, 2014

    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.

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  • Modern and Contemporary Ceramics: Anita Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo Collection / Boise Art Museum, Idaho

    Modern and Contemporary Ceramics exhibition at Boise Art Museum

    Modern and Contemporary Ceramics: Anita Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo Collection / Boise Art Museum, Idaho
    February 22 - October 5, 2014

    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.

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  • Rose Cabat at 100: A Retrospective Exhibition of Ceramics / Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona

    Rose Cabat at 100 Retrospective Exhibition of Ceramics at Tucson Museum of Art

    Rose Cabat at 100: A Retrospective Exhibition of Ceramics / Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona
    February 1 - September 14, 2014

    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.

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  • Jun Kaneko: Black & White at Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona
    January 9 - February 28, 2014

    Courtesy of the artist and Bentley Gallery.

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  • Johan Tahon: Albarelli for all sores / Valerie Traan Gallery, Antwerp

    Johan Tahon Ceramics Exhibition at Valerie Traan Gallery, Antwerp

    Johan Tahon: Albarelli for all sores / Valerie Traan Gallery, Antwerp
    January 23 - March 8, 2014

    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."

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  • Best Kept Secret: The Scripps College Ceramic Collection / American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California

    Best Kept Secret: The Scripps College Ceramic Collection, American Museum of Ceramic Art

    Best Kept Secret: The Scripps College Ceramic Collection / American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California
    January 11 - March 30, 2014

    The American Museum of Ceramic Art is honored to present Best Kept Secret: The Scripps College Ceramic Collection, an exhibition organized by The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College. Curated by Kirk Delman, Collections Manager and Registrar, the exhibition will feature work from the Scripps College Ceramic Collection. The show will provide viewers insights into the contributions of individual donors and an opportunity to assess the RCWG’s achievements as a collecting institution for more than six decades.

    During the mid-1950s the ceramics department at Otis Art Institute (then Los Angeles County Art Institute) was a place of artistic vitality and innovative energy. At Otis, Peter Voulkos led a “revolution in clay” by questioning the tradition that ceramic forms must be utilitarian and by creating instead nonfunctional, sculptural works that gave the medium a new freedom of expression. Voulkos and other notable artists maintained the momentum of this philosophy in Northern California at U.C. Berkeley.

    The Scripps Collection is also remarkable in that much of it came to the college through one donor, Fred Marer, who was a teacher of modest means. Fred Marer was a mathematics professor at Los Angeles City College, and never had substantial resources, but amassed his collection slowly through actual contact with the artists themselves. Because his budget was limited, he most often bought works directly from the artists. Fred began collecting in the early 1940s, first acquiring a piece by one of the leading ceramists in Southern California, Laura Andreson. This purchase piqued his interest in clay and encouraged him to investigate further.

    It was due to the influence of renowned ceramist Paul Soldner, who came to Scripps after graduating from Otis and built the Scripps ceramic program into a major center of study. Soldner’s leadership of the Scripps program along with the Scripps Ceramic Annual (celebrated its 70th ceramic annual exhibition in January, 2014), were the prime reasons Marer decided to make this generous gift to the college.

    This exhibition of more than one hundred and eighty objects will include works from the Otis group as well as highlighting many others, including, Laura Andreson, Robert Arneson, Hans Coper, Phil Cornelius, Shoji Hamada, Jun Kaneko, John Mason, and Jim Melchert.

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  • Lynda Benglis / Cheim & Read Gallery, New York
    January 16 - February 15, 2014

    Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York

    > More exhibitions / View the list of contemporary ceramics exhibitions

  • William J. O’Brien: The Lovers / Almine Rech Gallery, Paris

    William O'Brien: The Lovers at Almine Rech Gallery Paris

    William J. O’Brien: The Lovers / Almine Rech Gallery, Paris
    January 9 - February 15, 2014

    Almine Rech Gallery is pleased to announce ‘The Lovers’, the first solo exhibition by William J. O’Brien in France.

    Prior to a major survey exhibition of the young American artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, this exhibition brings together a series of ceramic sculptures made between 2008 and 2013, and a series of new works on paper. This exhibition reflects the diversity of mediums and themes found in O’Brien’s work for almost ten years.

    William J. O’Brien is part of the return to ceramics in contemporary art, seen over the last ten years with artists such as Rosemarie Trockel, Thomas Schütte and subsequently taken on by a younger generation of artists. His ceramic sculptures reflect the extent of his vocabulary by developing complementary or opposite forms: they oscillate between matt and gloss, between anthropomorphic shapes with smudges and drips; as well as geometric abstraction reminiscent of Calder. The shaping hand always present, there is a primitive element that immediately stands out – whether referencing the grinning masks of the South Pacific or the plastic qualities found in the culture of native Americans. For O’Brien this is not an identity issue nor a tribute to a native history: the artist was born in Ohio, and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, so his use of primitive forms is more akin to Picasso, Paul Klee or the Surrealists; taking an oppositional stance relative to a certain automated sophistication of form found in many artists of his generation. O’Brien’s ceramic practice skillfully plays with this return to primary expressionism (it is curious to note that the artist was an instructor at a center for the mentally ill), a representation of the human sometimes flirting with the grotesque, but presented on pedestals made by the artist, an institutional device that is simultaneously perfect and ironic. This primitive and modernist dual heritage is also an important anchor in teaching at the Art Institute and on Chicago Art, which shapes the sensibilities of such artists as Nancy Spero or more recently Sterling Ruby. Indeed, one of the first group shows to introduce O’Brien was “Modern Primitivism” at the Shane Campbell Gallery in 2009. The Lovers affords us the possibility to understand the extent of his expression, both sensitive and informed.

    Born in 1975 in Eastlake, Ohio, William J. O‘Brien lives and works in Chicago. Recent and important exhibitions include Wet ‘N Wild at Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York, 2013); The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, KS, 2012); Works on Paper at SHAHEEN Modern and Contemporary Art (Cleveland, Ohio, 2011); and The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago (Chicago, 2011). The artist‘s first major survey exhibition opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago in January 2014.
    Words by Judith Souriau

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  • Lynda Benglis / Cheim & Read, New York

    Lynda Benglis exhibition Cheim and Read Gallery

    Lynda Benglis / Cheim & Read Gallery, New York
    January 16 - February 15, 2014

    Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1941, Lynda Benglis moved to New York City in the late 60s. Her early, ground-breaking work – landscape-like, sculptural installations of poured polyurethane foam and latex – confronted the then-current, male-dominated tropes of Minimalism with brightly-colored, biomorphic forms which embraced themes of ambiguity, femininity, nature and transformation. Their formal ambiguity resisted easy definition: Benglis has long critiqued the art world’s attempt at classifications and hierarchies, as well as societal boundaries of sexuality and gender. Simultaneously seductive and grotesque, Benglis’s work has always been the result of a fluid and organic working process, in which difficult-to-control materials help determine the final outcome. Her ceramic sculptures, though more intimate in scale, are also constructed with deference to the medium’s inherent characteristics. While the clay works accentuate issues she has addressed throughout her career – the blurring of distinctions between pliable and rigid, accidental and intentional, form and shapelessness – they also expand the scope of her artistic methods, engaging notions of craft, functionality, and primeval history.

    Benglis had experimented with clay as a student in the early 1960s, but didn’t pursue it as a medium until the early 1990s. Her newest work, made in New Mexico, retain the earthy, elemental, primal nature of clay, and highlight the material’s unique susceptibility to the artist’s touch: clay easily preserves the physical impressions of the hands which mold it. Benglis does not use a potter’s wheel, but hand-builds with tubes and slabs of clay, pinching, stacking, squeezing, pulling and smoothing them into complex sculptural compositions. Sometimes wave-like and lyrical, sometimes squat and spherical, Benglis’s ceramics explore various manifestations, excavations and manipulations of form. She collapses the boundaries between interior and exterior space, using both hollowed out and compacted elements which collide and fuse together reinforcing the sexual undercurrents of her muscular, polymorphic shapes.

    Benglis’s ceramics condense the full-bodied gesture of her earlier work into the more focused expressions of her hands. As with her other work, color becomes an equally important component. Benglis’s glazes – pinks and mauves, earthy greens, blacks, ochres, and blues – are oozed, dripped, brushed and poured on, coalescing in some areas and avoiding others, providing texture and variability to the already tactile, unglazed surface of the clay. Benglis’s painterly application of glaze re-contextualizes her forms, as if they were not sculptural, but paintings in three-dimensional, physical space. Again, ambiguity and transformation remain at the core of her practice. Benglis’s creative process is evident in her works’ final realization: one imagines its physical making and thus identifies with the intensity and focus of her artistic methodology.

    Lynda Benglis resides in New York and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work is in important public collections, and has been exhibited extensively. Benglis was the subject of a 2010-11 international retrospective which traveled to The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; The Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Le Consortium, Dijon; New Museum, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

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