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.
Gaku Shakunaga: New Pyramids in Black / Yufuku Gallery, Tokyo July 10-19, 2014
Gaku Shakunaga (b. 1978) creates swirling stoneware pyramids drenched in luscious black glaze accentuated with lacquer. One of the younger ceramists of Yufuku, Shakunaga represents the future of Japanese ceramic sculptors, of artists who are not afraid to create non-functional ceramics that are devoid of function, and are challenging conceptual objects that are modes of expression as well as outlets for the artist’s aesthetics. Having graduated with a degree in sculpture from the leading Tokyo University of Arts, the most prestigious of art universities in Japan, Shakunaga’s new works find the artist combining the forms of his previous Sekiso series with his new-found muse in black.
“Up until two years ago, my father, Yaakov, had an agricultural mechanization workshop. Every time I visited the workshop, I found myself entranced by the power of the iron boards and the pile of black and rust colored iron pipes of different diameters, waiting to be used”, Simcha Even-Chen reminisces.
“When I saw the call for entries for the contest and exhibition at Kapfenberg, Austria, entitled “At the Moment”, I decided to use these memories of my father’s workshop. This was the birth of “A Moment Before…” a work I created in 2009, which has since led to the growth of a whole body of works”.1
The memories that awakened this body are the evolution of the artistic research Even-Chen had been immersed in during the period of 2006-2009. This group of sculptures, entitled “Illusion”, was exhibited at The Fifth Israeli Ceramics Biennale at The Eretz Israel Museum (2008), among other places, and even received the Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Award.
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.
Sakiyama Takayuki and Fukumoto Fuku / Joan B Mirviss, New York June 10 - August 22, 2014
Sakiyama Takayuki: Tidal Forms
Sakiyama Takayuki (b. 1958) continues to expound on his series: Chōtō - Listening to the Waves. Focusing now on the power of the ocean, the artist created these highly sculptural ceramic works to evoke the sublime nature of the waves and currents.
Sakiyama continues to mine the rugged coastline and beaches of his home on the Izu Peninsula for inspiration. The surfaces of his strikingly unique centrifugal forms give the appearance of having been made from sand. A special glaze that he developed highlights the intricate designs, which the artist achieves by carving the clay. Moving and receding across the surface, the texture also echoes raked Zen Gardens. These substantial double-walled vessels maintain true to their functional origins while conveying a highly sculptural quality.
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.