Sculpture photographs Courtesy the artist and Cross MacKenzie Gallery.
Installation photos by Maxwell MacKenzie.
Gareth Mason: More is more / Jason Jacques Gallery, New York
January 22 - February 22, 2014
Opening: Thursday, January 22, from 6-9 pm.
We are very excited to invite you to our newest exhibition with our first contemporary master ceramicist Gareth Mason. Following a show at the American Museum of Ceramic Art and an exhibition at the Korea Cultural Center in London. Gareth will be having his second solo exhibition at Jason Jacques Gallery. We are Publishing a 200 page catalog of Gareth’s work and the first publication of a series of letters between Gareth Mason and Ceramics collector Richard Jacobs which is a discourse of the nature of art and ceramics collecting. We are planning a series of lectures between Gareth Mason and his favorite Collector Richard Jacobs more information in the new year.
Gareth Mason new sculptural vessels are inspired by humanity’s connection to fire “Fire is humanity’s muse. Since the earliest humans pondered the nature of the sun, fire has captivated us with its mysterious force. Hominid fire — progenitor of dreams — spur to our noblest and most terrifying achievements, key to our aspirations and inextricable from the survival of our race, it burns literally and metaphorically in a place distinct from all other stimuli and matter. No wonder then that fire holds such creative potency for the human brain; as we gaze into its depths we ever behold a power of poetic and epic proportions. Of all the arts; silicate, ferric, kinetic, dramatic, sonic, plastic; of whatever place in the assumed hierarchy of creative genres, ceramics offers a unique spotlight on this most potent element. Through ceramics, it is possible to ‘fire’ the imagination and the spirit because ceramic metamorphosis is redolent of human experience. This belief underpins all my ceramic work. The igneous fusion of materials is analogous to human emotion. This is fertile ground for creative exploration and discovery.
Jos Devriendt: Day & Night / Pierre Marie Giraud, Bruxelles
January 17 - February 1, 2014
"Since 20 years I have been working on the archetype of the mushroom. It has been a search for a form that could be a sculpture with two different lives. A mushroom during daytime with an obvious and colourful expression capturing the light, and at night an abstract form giving light.
As a sculptor I want to reshape the form from day to night, solely with light: the daylight, which shines upon the sculpture and the artificial light, which comes from within and erases the material form. After researching the form, I experimented with different colours as a means to alter the meaning of the form. Like abstract painters use colours to give a meaning to their work, I do in a three dimensional way.
Artists have been expressing feelings through the sea, nudes or geometric forms.
Why not use mushrooms?
They have a lot of meaning in life.
Basically you can eat them and may be poisoned.
There is the hallucinating effect of some of the exotic species.
The sexual connotation of the mushroom is in many cultures an important element of mythology.
In essence, mushrooms bring me to the big themes of art: life, love and death, and last but not least to humour.”
CLASS OF 2013 / The National Centre for Craft and Design, Sleaford, UK
November 22, 2013 - January 19, 2014
Each year,The National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, UK selects work by the very best of the current year’s graduates from art colleges and universities all over the UK, and gives them the opportunity of exhibitingat the NCCD.
This year’s show explores the theme of function in objects. A range of high quality, visually striking artworks created by 18 specially selected graduates are on display. They demonstrate a diverse range of skills from fashion and jewellery to ceramics and automata.
Class of 2013 will be open to the public until Sunday 19 January 2014 everyday excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day from 10am to 5pm (3pm Christmas Eve).
Ceramicists exhibiting in Class of 2013:
Luke Bishop, Rongorongo: Forgotten Function 5, 2013, Porcelain and stoneware with latex additions, maximum H46 cm. Photo by Scott Murray.
HE Diploma in Fine and Applied Arts in Ceramics
CityLit / London Metropolitan University
Rongorongo; Forgotten Function is an exploration rooted in the language of function where both memory and meaning are lost. False lids, multiple spouts (some obstructed, some fixed, others detachable), curiously and illogically-placed holes and tubes intentionally disturb the recognized and accepted grammar and syntax of function, causing the viewer and potential user to experience a disruption in the affordance towards the object.
In much the same way that an object excavated from the archaeological record only reveals to us a portion of its story, the meaning and uses of these vessels can never be completely recovered and known. Because the link between craft and everyday use has been permitted to slowly slip away from our collective experience, we are left with what we can only interpret but never fully explain. Function is forgotten.
Luke’s work seeks to invite the viewer to wonder at these curious vessels, and to provoke us to awaken to the process of cultural richness being lost. Its creative corollary, however, is that such richness can endure when care is taken to preserve meaning, ritual, skill and knowledge?
Zoe Clare, Invading Forms #4, #5, #6, #7, 2013, Porcelain, 56x61 / 34x48 / 17x30 / 30x60 cm. Photo by Scott Murray.
BA (Hons) Ceramic Design
Central Saint Martins - University of Arts London
Zoe is an artist who works predominantly with ceramic. She creates sculptures that are visually absorbing, rich in layers, texture and integral repetitive patterns.
Zoe is influenced by the natural world around her and the discoveries made during her travels. The natural world, often overlooked, provides her with rich visual resources, which she then interprets and uses as a vessel to convey commentary and observations.
The ‘Invading Forms’ series explores the effects and conservational issues of invasive, non-native plants and their effects on the bio diversity of South Africa’s endangered environment. The sculptures are a metaphor for the conservational issues and endangered biodiversity we are facing today.
The sculptures, created in porcelain, take on the aggressive character of the invasive plants and become an invading form, growing organically and intrusively, absorbing anything and everything that is in its path.
These structural forms are concerned with internal and external spaces and holds remnants of the extinct plants it has devoured inside for spectators to see. Sections of the invading forms are open, allowing the insides to be examined. Within are surprising textures and glazes depicting the exotic nature of the diminishing South African fauna and flora.
Jade Crompton, Bubble vases, Ceramics, slip cast, semi porcelain, Pieces between 23x24 cm. Photo by John James Clare.
BA (Hons) Design
Liverpool Hope University
Combining traditional plaster mould making techniques with the modern techniques of 3D design, Jade uses prototypes and digital model making to create unique moulds for slip casting.
Jade enjoys taking natural forms and applying structure and pattern using digital software, giving an organic and manmade appearance to her work. Overall her work is intended to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Her current work focuses on casting plaster moulds from 3D printed models and layering laser cut pieces of perspex, this process allows Jade to produce more detailed and precise designs. The works are inspired by the layers found in natural formations such as lava, rock and ice.
Instead of using glazes or coloured slips which Jade finds too unpredictable, she uses airbrushed layers of under glaze which leaves a even matte coverage. She also adds a layer of clear glaze to the inside of her pieces which renders them waterproof.
Ruth Harrison (Porcelain, 2013, Photos by Scott Murray)
Green Gradiant Strip / Red Gradiant Strip, 200x95 mm.
Blue Disk with Orange Inlay / Yellow Disk with Blue Inlay / Green Disk with Red Inlay, 130x95 mm.
BA (Hons) Ceramics
Plymouth College of Arts
Ruth Harrison uses porcelain to create sculptural forms using repeated elements. She is interested in symmetry and the idea of taking one shape and multiplying it many times over or around a cylinder. Her work evokes the childhood memory of running a hand or stick along a fence.
Ruth chooses to use porcelain due to its white body when fired to 1260°c. Porcelain also works very well with coloured stain which she uses for some of her collections.
Ruth draws the attention of the viewer to a section or strip of the finished piece using colour, texture or pattern which is added to the piece as it is being made. Each disk is hand cut using a cookie cutter from 3mm thick slabs of porcelain which are then cut in half, sponged, scored, slipped and attached to a slip-cast cylinder.
What sparked your interest for ceramics?
I was in college taking painting classes and I wanted to learn sculpture. One day I stopped by the sculpture lab to ask the instructor if I could audit the class. She agreed and handed me a piece of clay. I was amazed at the work of the students. A retired engineer was making intriguing ceramic sculptures. The forms were powerful and provocative. At that moment I thought of how versatile and expressive clay could be to express both powerful and delicate ideas. It was, for me, the medium of infinite possibilities.
Immediately my brain had an explosion of ideas. I fell in love. I realized I could create 3D from some ideas of my paintings. In fact, I ended up sculpting so many pieces during the class that The Art Department awarded me a grant to do a whole semester and also the first solo show ever done by a student in the college.
Besides ceramic art, you have also created paintings and murals in order to express your inner universe. How does working in three dimensions change your creative process? Do the processes differ a lot between these mediums?
When I work in 3D, the process of creativity is more fluent, very spontaneous and I can communicate with feelings that I didn’t know I possessed until I felt them in my hands. I can transform them into something visual for others to see. It is a natural process, born of my subconscious. Back in my childhood, I recall helping my father in the garden and end up making objects with mud.
In my paintings, it’s me: my surroundings, my past and present, something very personal and intimate expressed through a different tactile experience.
As with murals, most of them have been collaborative works I’ve done with students at schools. The first one I made came out of the blue. A friend asked me for ideas on what to do with a wall where the tiles had been removed. I had the idea to teach the students about mural making and the importance of recycling material to make art. That’s how the first mural was born.
You express yourself freely using clay. What are the main materials and ceramic techniques that you use?
I like to experiment, so I have been using different kind of clay, such as stoneware, low and mid-fire with glazes and oxides. When I do mixed media, especially installations, I like to integrate other materials like metal, found objects and fresh water pearls. I use handmade techniques from slab, clay relief, and impressed texture to carving.
Your past experience and your personal history seem to be an important source of inspiration for you. Tell us more about the symbolism of your work.
Maybe that’s why I work in different mediums; I am much better expressing my self visually. Sometimes an image will stay with me and I am compelled to paint or sculpt it. Much later, I will realize that these images have a much deeper significance to me, one that transcends the visual. These images become symbols of social-political issues that are at the core of my world views and concerns. For example in the ceramic chains installation, the chains remain unconnected and loose, which symbolizes the right of freedom of the individual; regardless of religion, race, country, and gender. Freedom of expression is something that we, as humans should never have to give up.
Many of your works have an intrinsic femininity. How does being a female artist influence the themes and the ideas you choose to represent?
My themes and ideas begin with personal experiences, past, present, as well as everything that surrounds me: people, places and objects. Sometimes stories interact with different characters in different circumstances. I also like to create surreal landscapes for them.
The white flowers I used in the “Warrior’s Series”, are images from my bank of memories of my father’s garden; he used to mix the flowers in the vegetable garden, which was my play yard during my childhood. “After Chaos”, a woman sleeps peacefully. She is able to find tranquility because she is surrounded by “white warrior flowers” - deceptively frail, and yet possessing all of the strength of memories, nature and the power of womanhood. These flowers guard her as she rests before facing whatever trials the day may bring to her.
You come from Argentina, and you define yourself as a Latin American artist. How does your cultural heritage reflects in your creative experience?
My Latin American roots inform my work. I was born in Argentina, my parents were immigrants of the World War II, and so my back ground tradition at home had a strong European flavor. Even so, I grew up proud for the country that welcomed my parents and the country they taught me to love. Moreover, I am also married to a Puerto Rican man, my son was born on the island too and we spent many years there. This is yet another passage in my life, where the colors and details are reflected more in my paintings than in my ceramics. So you see, my cultural heritage is a potpourri of different tradition and experiences, and everything is reflected in my art.
Uku Rere: Nga Kaihanga Uku and beyond / Whangarei Art Museum, New Zeeland
November 11, 2013 - February 16, 2014
Whangarei Art Museum is the first venue to host this ground-breaking touring exhibition after a highly successful show at Pataka Art+Museum in partnership with Toi Maori. Uku Rere features contemporary ceramics by the five principal members of Nga Kaihanga Uku: Baye Riddell, Manos Nathan, Colleen Urlich, Wi Taepa and Paerau Corneal. Both Colleen Urlich and Manos Nathan are from the Te Tai Tokerau region and this important exhibition is the first major survey of contemporary Maori ceramics and showcases the strength of Maori ceramic art in New Zealand’s contemporary art scene. The exhibition is displayed in the Younghusband Gallery and accompanied by an extensive catalogue available at the art museum.
The exhibition also features Manos Nathan’s unique sculptural work Kaitiaki, which stands to welcome visitors at the Whangarei Art Museum’s entrance. This is his largest work to date and was commissioned in 2002 by the Whangarei Art Museum with assistance from Te Waka Toi – Creative NZ Arts Council. The artist chose the concept of ‘kaitiakitanga’ as the theme of the art work, portraying both welcome and guardianship.
The exhibition coincides with Kokiri Putahi – the 7th International Gathering of Indigenous Artists, organised by Te Atinga the Contemporary Visual Arts committee of Toi Maori Aotearoa in which both Colleen Urlich and Manos Nathan are members of. Since the first gathering in 1995 the committee has worked to develop Maori contemporary art practice for both emerging and established artists working in a range of media, and next year the gathering will also coincide with the January 2014 Ngapuhi Festival in Kaikohe.
The concurrent exhibition held in the Mair Gallery, Salon to Marae – first glimmerings of a Maori Modernism will feature works from the 1950s-1970s by artists Ralph Hotere, Clive Arlidge and Selwyn Wilson. A selection of Wilson’s early ceramics from the family’s private collection adds a unique dimension to the story of Maori ceramic artists. Selected works from Ross T Smith’s two photographic series Hemi Tuwharerangi Paraha (1998) and Stillness Falls Gradually (2000) will also be on display, adding to the significant development of Maori contemporary art practice.
Uke Rere: Nga Kaihanga Uku illuminates the strength of the contemporary Maori ceramic movement in New Zealand. From Taepa’s chunky, rugged pots full of personality to the refined elegance of Nathan’s sculptural pots, the exhibition showcases the remarkable vitality and diversity of the individual practices of the five influential artists. Over the last twenty-five years these artists have redefined and expanded ceramic art - imbuing it with indigenous concepts and a deep commitment to Maori culture.
What made you choose ceramics as a way of expressing yourself?
Clay is as good as any other medium, it is a material with lots of possibilities but it doesn’t influence my personal perception of art. Sometimes because of its limitations in format, in height, due to the measures of my kiln I have to find other solutions than I used before, but that are technical issues. I have also used other materials like papier maché before but the outcome of my figurines would be the same.
What is for you the importance of figurative representation?
It’s the essence of my work. It wouldn’t be possible for me to make work if my thoughts and feelings are not involved. All of them have a meaning and reflect my personal view on society. It’s not necessary for the public to understand it, you can enjoy them without knowing the background, but I need to be able to make them. Some of my works have a spiritual dimension. Love, understanding and insight, the meaning of existence - of evil, the happiness of life and the tragedy of death affect us, but are by themselves invisible. You can see it as a spiritual quest in which I will not flee, but indeed want to decompose and play with. The human figure in this case is the most suitable.
Art no longer has to be “beautiful”, since the beauty of an object is derived not only from its appearance, but also from it’s concept and use. Tell us more about the aesthetic categories embodied by your work, and your motivation in choosing them.
The followers of modernism only repeat a trick, a cheap shock effect - desecrating the beauty. It has been repeated so many times and now it belongs to the popular circuit. An authentic artist is always looking for new styles, new forms to express himself and will not be guided by expectations. The emptiness of existence can contrast strongly with its beauty and vice versa. Beauty, ugliness, two sides of the same coin. It’s the perception of it that counts; something very beautiful can be experienced as ugly when you discover the essence, the inner side of it. Art exists in many layers, for those who want to see it. My work can be considered as superficially aesthetic, but the deeper meaning is of a different order. There isn’t much beauty in the emptiness of an existence as in the Sisyphus series. “L’existence précède l’essence”. Existence precedes essence. (Jean Paul Sartre)
The Human Hybrids series emphasizes a new twist of an old idea. Humans with animal characteristics have been a constant presence in many cultures since thousands of years ago. Compared to their traditional representation, what do you want to express with your works?
Indeed, one of the oldest known is an ivory sculpture, the Lion man of the Hohlenstein Stadel, Germany, a human-shaped figurine with a lion’s head, determined to be about 32,000 years old. Anthropomorphism is assigning human (behavioral) characteristics to animals. After reading an article about genetic engineering, I started on human hybrids. You can make goats, produce cobwebs or grow a human ear on the back of a mouse, etc. These techniques don’t stay within the walls of a laboratory. Since a number of years, you can find genetically manipulated fish in the aquarium trade. A familiar example is the glowfish: a gene of coral polyps was implanted in a zebrafish so that the fish has become luminous. Wherein ancient civilizations, men thought that they could get the spirit of the animal at their sides in the hunt by performing rituals, men now literally attempt to change certain qualities or appearances of people through genetic modification. Currently one is allowed to blend DNA of humans and animals and keep this hybrid alive up to 14 days, and this with the purpose to investigate the study of human bred organs for organ transplantation. There are both positive and negative elements to this evolution, but you can wonder who will eventually be the freak in the future: modified or unmodified humans. I want to start a dialogue about it with the Human Hybrids.
Graciela Olio: Proyecto Sur, Serie Home (Project South, Home Series), 2010, Porcelain sheet (Keraflex) print with photoceramic (gum bichromate process), Printing directly on raw sheet before handbuilding, 15x15x15 cm. Photo by Hernán Cédola.
Graciela Olio: Proyecto Sur, Serie Home (Project South, Home Series), 2011, Porcelain sheet (Keraflex) print with laser decal on raw sheet before handbuilding, Acrylic box with led light, 50x25x20 cm. Photos by Martín García Olivares.
Michal Fargo: Else, 2012, Porcelain, fired mold technique, fired to cone 6 electric, 20x7 cm. Photos by Mel Bergman.
Michal Fargo: Else, 2013, Porcelain, fired mold technique, fired to cone 6 electric, 28x15 cm. Photo by Mathew Stanton.