Simcha Even-Chen: Balance in Motion / Benyamini Contemporary Ceramics Center, Tel Aviv

Simcha Even-Chen exhibition at Benyamini Contemporary Ceramics Center, Tel Aviv

Simcha Even-Chen: Balance in Motion / Benyamini Contemporary Ceramics Center, Tel Aviv
May 15 - July 5, 2014

Curated by Tirza Yalon Kolton

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

In my meetings with Simcha, in preparation for the exhibition, we frequently discussed the sensations that works of art induce in us: opposites, balances and imbalances, floating… The work of sculpting the massive clay matter sends a message of stability and a sense of floating in space. I am fascinated by the duality of the interaction between softness and harmonious flows, between the ascetic black and precise, repetitive patterns that speak of uncompromising harshness.

Read More

Michael Geertsen: Still Life, Still Lives / Jason Jacques Gallery, New York

Michael Geertsen exhibition at Jason Jacques Gallery

Michael Geertsen: Still Life, Still Lives / Jason Jacques Gallery, New York
May 21 - June 21, 2014

Jason Jacques Gallery is pleased to announce its second contemporary exhibition with contemporary ceramic master Michael Geertsen. Following a ceramic installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and a show at Puls Ceramics in his native Denmark, Michael Geertsen has come back to show in New York. Geertsen is known for sleek ceramic works with alien-like sculptural bodies, and stacked sculptures of utilitarian objects like plates and cups. His whimsical and animated forms are executed with machine-like precision, thanks to his background in industrial ceramics. Michael claims American streamline design and Italian Futurism as his primary influences.

His most recent works have reinterpreted ancient Greek pottery, taking the classical forms and integrating them with modernist elements. He adds antlers, knobs and nipples in metallic gold and platinum. The gold and platinum protrusions create mirror like reflections which, when placed next to other works, distort the forms further, shifting perceptions of their form or shape.

Geertsen says his use of gold and silver is a nod to Western decadence. He started using these elements in his work while exploring Soviet constructivism where Gold and silver screamed hedonism, abundance and American kitsch. The use of gold and silver is also a reaction against 1960’s naturalistic pottery, making the works cheeky and stylized. The artist and scholar Edmond de Waals described his work as always “questioning the place that ceramics has inhabited, as well as the place that ceramics will inhabit in the future.” Michael’s most recent innovations have made that statement even more fitting.

Read More

State of Flux / An Talla Solais, Ullapool, Scotland

image

State of Flux / An Talla Solais, Ullapool, Scotland
April 17 - June 1, 2014

Featuring work by: Edina Andrási, Artúr van Balen, Fiona Byrne Sutton, Melanie Davies, Sinéad Dunn, Morgane Deffense, Tilly Gifford, Nicola Henderson, Kevin Morris, Emma Pratt, Ester Svensson.
Curated by Kevin Morris and Fergus Stewart.

Clay, in a state of perpetual flux, formed formed by the earth and then in the hands of the artist, will be transformed again in the eyes of visitors to this exhibition at An Talla Solais. Led by two artists, Fergus Stewart a well-established potter in the highlands and Kevin Morris a highly acclaimed new graduate from Aberdeenshire, State of Flux features a wide range of handmade and unique pieces of ceramic art from eleven of Scotland’s finest graduates.

Artúr van Balen’s installation of porcelain chickens reinvents the polystyrene wrapped, headless mounds of poultry meat bought in supermarkets into precious and valuable objects, these ceramic sculptures were cast in Berlin where porcelain was once more expensive than gold.

‘A Journey’ by Ester Svensson creates an imaginative world using porcelain, wood and string. Strange creatures and morphed forms which are delicately glazed create a three-dimensional fairy tale, open to interpretation.

These pieces contrast well with the aesthetic of Fiona Byrne-Sutton’s press moulded vessels, which are physical expressions of geological processes. Her vigorous handling of clay is a balance of risk and control. Each of her vessels are unique, formed with black stoneware and embedded with clays she digs up near the principal rivers of Scotland. Nicola Henderson’s open formed vessels are also rich in geological reference. Her vessels are influenced by a type of metamorphic rock known as gneiss. Deep beneath the earth’s crust these rock are formed under huge temperatures and pressure causing separate layers to form which compress and distort, giving the impression of waves and movement. Henderson has developed this layering effect in an attempt to impart a subtle energy and flow. She says ‘I wanted to reflect the fact that though we think of rock as something static, unmalleable and permanent, it is in a state of flux, having a life cycle of its own, changing and recycling itself over millions of years’.

Alongside this exhibition runs a series of educational activities using clay, including artist-led workshops in slip casting, mold making, throwing, and constructing and firing in an outdoor kiln.  These activities are designed to introduce participants to the different ways of working with this inspiring material through hands-on experience. These workshops will be taught by artists involved in the exhibition, providing a very rare opportunity for visitors to interact with real specialists and explore new art forms, literally getting their hands dirty!

The project State of Flux has grown out of the fact that opportunities to learn how to work with clay have dwindled a great deal over recent years. In 2012 Scotland’s last specialist degree course in Ceramics closed and it is no longer possible to study this subject as a full degree. An Talla Solais has acquired a brand new kiln in the light of this lack and this exhibition is just the beginning.

Thanks to Highland Stoneware and Breedon Aggregates who sponsored this exhibition.

Read More

Jun Kaneko: Black & White / Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona

Jun Kaneko Black and White ceramics exhibition at Bentley Gallery

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

Many Arizonans are familiar with Jun Kaneko’s large-scale ceramic dango sculptures (Japanese for dumpling) at Sky Harbor Airport, and his ceramic tile wall in front of Phoenix Art Museum. Bentley Gallery will be exhibiting his monumental glazed dangos and heads covered in geometric shapes and pure color. The sculptures are made with large amounts of clay, slowly built by hand using the slab technique. The glazing on Kaneko’s new works are reminiscent of his classic dangos, punctuated by graphic polka dots, spirals, stripes, and zigzags in pure black and white. These rhythmic designs are analogous with the Japanese Shinto concept of the Ma, which loosely translates into “attachment through space.”

Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942, Kaneko came to the U.S. in 1963 and studied at the Chouinard Institute of Art. His innovative work is in more than 70 international museum collections including Arabia Museum, Helsinki, Finland; Detroit Institute of Arts; Houston Museum of Fine Arts; Los Angeles County Art Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Art and Design, NY; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum and Smithsonian American Art Museum. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska, the Massachusetts College of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art in London.

This past summer, a large scale outdoor exhibition of Kaneko’s Tanuki sculpture (a symbol of fertility and prosperity) was installed at Millennium Park in Chicago. In 2012 his costumes, sets and lighting designs were featured in the San Francisco Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. He has also created costumes, sets, and video backdrops for Madame Butterfly, which began touring in 2006 and is still in production today. The artist lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

Read More