Nathan Lynch: Another High / Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco

Nathan Lynch: Another High at Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco

Nathan Lynch: Another High / Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco
May 13 - July 3, 2014

Brunch reception: Saturday, May 17, 11 am - 1 pm.

Inaugurating our new space at 1639 Market Street, Nathan Lynch will present a series of ceramic work which, like the gallery itself, recalls the past while grappling with an unsure future.

Motivated at first as homage to his late teacher Ken Price, Nathan Lynch’s abstract ceramic and wood sculptures make physical the difference between what we want and what we get. The work consists of abstract “blobjects” that appear to slump, sag, burst, drip, and ooze off of their platforms. Like a 4-day old helium balloon that is neither all the way up nor completely down, the forms hover in the layered emotions between elation, confusion, and disaster, suggesting the potential futility in even our best efforts. As Nathan describes; “In all levels of our life, we are in constant pursuit of the best solutions, from personal fitness and desktop applications to the national political debate. By remodeling this idealism, my work questions our value systems, revealing ironic, contradictory, and embarrassing culture narratives.”

Nathan Lynch was raised in Pasco, WA, an agricultural community in the shadow of Hanford Nuclear Power Plant. This environmental contradiction gave Lynch an acute sense of location and deep appreciation for irony. In the five formative years after graduation Lynch worked as the prop master for a local community theatre, the effects of which are still being realized in his current body of work. His concerns for political conflict and environmental upheaval are filtered through notions of absurdity, hand fabrication, and the dramatic devices of storytelling.

As a sculptor and performance artist, Lynch has made collaboration and experimentation major components of his practice. Recent projects include a residency at the Exploratorium, habitat restoration design for Ashy Storm Petrels on the Channel Islands, and a reinterpretation of David Ireland’s Dumballs for Southern Exposure’s 39th anniversary show, The Long Conversation. He is currently included in YBCA’s Bay Area Now 7 in San Francisco. At the University of Southern California Lynch studied with Ken Price, and later earned an MFA at Mills College with Ron Nagle. Lynch is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Ceramics Program at California College of the Arts.

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Ewen Henderson / Erskine, Hall & Coe, London

Ewen Henderson ceramics exhibition at Erskine Hall and Coe

Ewen Henderson / Erskine, Hall & Coe, London
May 6 - June 5, 2014

"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.

Hendereson very soon left the wheel behind and moved to the freedom of hand-building. Throughout his career he explored clay as a medium in its own right, and said of his work that:

"It explores the significance of what is broken, torn or cut, the ability of single or multiple forms to speak of either compression or expansion, flatness or fullness. It is a kind of drawing in three dimensions. I start with fragments - familiar, found, improvised - and then build up to complex structures that invite the observer to complete the circuit, so to speak, by considering such matters as memory, invention and metaphor."

In parallel with ceramics his passion for painting continued throughout his career, with watercolours, gouaches and collages becoming increasingly inseparable from his ceramics.

Ancient cultures, geological forms and landscapes were persistent influences during his career - Avebury, Eden Valley in Cumbria, the Rollright Stones in north Oxfordshire, Orkney, and Manorbier in Pembrokeshire where he had a home for the last year of his life.

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Edmund de Waal: Atmosphere / Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent

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Edmund de Waal: Atmosphere / Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent
March 29, 2014 - February 8, 2015

Edmund de Waal: Atmosphere presents a new installation by the renowned ceramic artist and author.
De Waal, who grew up in Canterbury and is best known for his large installations of porcelain vessels and the international bestselling book Hare with the Amber Eyes, showcases a major new commission for Turner Contemporary’s Sunley Gallery. This is the third commission produced for the Sunley Gallery following those by Maria Nepomuceno in 2012 and Daniel Buren in 2011.

For this ambitious project the artist has created an installation in response to the space, light and architecture of the Sunley Gallery with its double height windows and spectacular views over the North Sea. Atmosphere (2014) comprises of a series of 9 large, suspended vitrines that are in conversation with the mutable light from the sea.

Suspended at different heights, the lines of the 20-40 vessels within each of the vitrines offer the viewer an array of horizons as they move through the space both on the gallery’s ground floor and from the overlooking balcony. In Atmosphere De Waal brings the changing weather into Turner Contemporary and echoes the ways in which artists as diverse as Gerhard Richter, Hiroshi Sugimoto and JMW Turner have thought about clouds and horizons.

This commission will be accompanied by two other works by the artist. Juxtaposed alongside Atmosphere is Bauspiel, a group of vessels residing on a floor based plinth in a configuration which reflects those in the nearby suspended vitrines. Turner Contemporary’s ground floor corridor is transformed by a new wall-based text installation, which sees De Waal convert the corridor walls into a life-size notebook, drawing on an array of sources from Turner’s letters to the poems of Baudelaire.

Edmund de Waal states: “When thinking about the changing landscape of clouds, I remember Constable’s beautiful letter about lying on his back and doing ‘a great deal of skying’. There is no more extraordinary place to look at the sky than the Sunley Gallery at Turner Contemporary. Atmosphere is my attempt to make a response to this threshold between a building and the air outside. Suspended in the space are nine vitrines holding 200 small celadon and grey porcelain vessels. I hope they will provoke some skying of their own.”

The exhibition coincides with a new monograph, Edmund de Waal published by Phaidon Press and featuring contributions from AS Byatt, Peter Carey, and Colm Toíbín amongst others. Edmund de Waal, which will be released on 5 May 2014, will be the first and only complete survey of the artist’s career to date, weaving together both his literary and ceramic practices.

Edmund de Waal was born in 1964. He studied English at Cambridge University and ceramics in both England and Japan. De Waal is best known for his large scale installations and much of his recent work comes out of a dialogue between minimalism, architecture and music, and is informed by his passion for literature.

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State of Flux / An Talla Solais, Ullapool, Scotland

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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.

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Anna Maria Maiolino. Between Senses / Hauser & Wirth, New York

Anna Maria Maiolino. Between Senses at Hauser Wirth New York

Anna Maria Maiolino. Between Senses / Hauser & Wirth, New York
May 7 – June 21, 2014

Opening reception: Wednesday, May 7, 6–8 pm.

Anna Maria Maiolino is one of the most significant artists working in Brazil today. In a career spanning five decades and a diversity of disciplines and mediums, ranging from drawing, sculpture, and artist books to video and performance, she expresses through her art a bottomless concern with creative and destructive processes and, above all, the never-ending search for identity. Maiolino’s multidisciplinary practice has consistently explored the viscerality of embodied experience – often obliquely through fragmentation and abstraction – and engaged the human body’s processes as analogs for both the making of art and the making of modernity. As an immigrant coming of age in politically unstable Brazil, Maiolino has perfected a dialogue between opposite yet complementary categories in a practice that dissolves dichotomies of inner and outer, self and other. Hers is an art in search of a new language for the liminal realm of daily human existence.

Beginning 7 May 2014, Hauser & Wirth will present Anna Maria Maiolino. Between Senses, the gallery’s debut exhibition devoted to the artist. On view will be a selection of drawings, works on canvas, sculptures, photographs, and videos, as well the sound installation ‘Two Beats’ (2012), which features the artist’s poem ‘Eu so Eu (I am I)’ that was presented at dOCUMENTA 13.

Born in wartime Italy in 1942, Anna Maria Maiolino immigrated with her family to South America in 1954, living first in Venezuela and moving to Rio de Janeiro in 1960. ‘I found myself being an immigrant again, without speaking Portuguese’, the artist recalls. ‘What kept me going was my obstinate search for a language, my obsession to become an artist. All my energy was spent trying to become an individual. The existential and art formed one anguished body. My life was dominated by anguish and doubts, although I also wanted to participate in that moment of great political, social and artistic effervescence that was pushing artists to make alliances with the previous generations… We wanted to develop an autonomous national art, far removed from external patterns and models. We dreamt of a free and autonomous Latin America, with its own economic resources, and art was no different in this respect’.

Maiolino’s early experiments in the 1960s connected her to important movements in Brazilian art history, shadowed by the turmoil and governance of military repression: Neo-Concrete, New Figuration, New Objectivity. Maiolino took part in the radical reconfiguring of the art object – and thus the art institution and the artist – during this period. Along with Lygia Pape, Lygia Clark, and Hélio Oiticica, Maiolino participated in the 1967 exhibition, ‘New Brazilian Objectivity,’ which symbolized a cultural shift in previous constructivist traditions and established a new vision for the production of art in Brazil. After living in New York from 1968 to 1971, she returned to Brazil and devoted herself to drawing as a means of self-expression. Working to further define her identity as both an individual and an artist, she initiated a new series of works on paper that gave emphasis to the gesture, the action, and the process of making. Since the 1990s, Maiolino’s drawings – examples of which are included in the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth – have engaged similar methodologies in her continual exploration of other materials and media, from sculpture to video and installation.

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Annabeth Rosen / Ventana244, Brooklyn

Annabeth Rosen exhibition at Ventana244, Brooklyn

Annabeth Rosen / Ventana244, Brooklyn
May 2 – June 14, 2014

Opening reception: Friday, May 2, 6–9 pm.

Ventana 244 is pleased to present new work by Annabeth Rosen, who will be showing a group of pieces developed over the last few years - lumpen forms with rich, densely packed and cracked molten surfaces. The shapes and surfaces seem to have emerged from the natural world and are described in her words as “…reduced in scale into concentrated simple forms… Heaps or hives or nests, sometimes with a human interference, formed by an intensive, focused energy. Against the weight and the impervious nature of fired ceramics, they seem to be in flux, slowly heaving and settling. Unsure if the works are found or formed… they infer yielding and resistance, thoughtfulness and recklessness…”

In the catalogue, Nancy Princenthal writes about Rosen’s work and includes this quote from Lucretius: “No rest, we may be sure, is given to atoms in the void abyss but rather, as unceasing different movements impel them, some, colliding, leap great intervals apart, while others recoil only a short distance from the impact… “

Rosen holds the Robert Arneson Endowed Chair in Ceramic Sculpture at The University of California Davis and is represented by Gallery Paule Anglim and Beam Contemporary Art. Her work can be found in the collections of The Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Oakland Museum of California, and The Denver Art Museum, and in many private collections.

A catalogue of Rosen’s work from 1989 to the present includes an essay by Nancy Princenthal was published for the exhibit with support from Beam Contemporary and The University of California Davis. The exhibition is curated by Josie Browne and organized by Dan McCarthy.

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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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Beverly Mayeri / Duane Reed Gallery, Saint Louis

Beverly Mayeri at Duane Reed Gallery, Saint Louis

Beverly Mayeri / Duane Reed Gallery, Saint Louis
April 11 - May 10, 2014

Beverly Mayeri is a studio artist living in the Bay Area with over 30 years experience as an established ceramic sculptor. She earned a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA in sculpture at San Francisco State University.

Mayeri works with refined and elegant heads and figures often using meticulously patterned details that allude to the inner life of emotions, thoughts and human frailties. The pieces are painted in washes of acrylic paint. Mayeri’s figures “evoke a richly complicated human presence,”and often “bridge the psychological, the political and the sensuous within one hybrid form.” Her work has been shown extensively in numerous museums and galleries, and is included in many public and private collections. She has received 2 NEA grants, and a Virginia Groot Grant, and has lectured and taught many workshops throughout the U.S.

Since its opening in 1994, the Duane Reed Gallery has represented and exhibited nationally recognized contemporary artists working in the fields of painting, photography, and sculpture. This program itself has been committed to showcasing innovative, established and emerging artists working both figuratively and abstractly in a variety of mediums that also include ceramics and glass. Works of gallery artists can be found in major public and private collections that include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOMA, The Museum of Arts and Design, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Carnegie Museum, Philadelphia Museum, LA County Museum, Victoria and Albert, and the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, to name a few.

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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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Klara Kristalova: Underworld / Galerie Perrotin, New York

Klara Kristalova Underworld exhibition at Galerie Perrotin New York

Klara Kristalova: Underworld / Galerie Perrotin, New York
February 27 - April 12, 2014

Opening reception: Thursday, February 27, 6-8 pm.

There is something fascinating about circuses, not the big productions kind, but the small family type that travel around the countryside. They aren’t perfect but you get a sense that they really try; the kind of atmosphere were strange things can happen but we are still close to ordinary life. – Klara Kristalova

Galerie Perrotin, New York is pleased to present “UNDERWORLD”, its first solo exhibition by Klara Kristalova in New York and the artist’s fourth solo show with Galerie Perrotin.

Klara Kristalova constructs a dark, odd, and yet familiar world. The characters that inhabit her universe are peculiar, alone, quiet, perhaps lost, as if they have just escaped from a cruel tale, waiting for a passer-by to stop and indicate the way. Made from glazed ceramics, Kristalova ‘s figures carry a raw, vulnerable, human feel to them. Drawing from Nordic storytelling and traditional myths, Kristalova manages to convey basic human emotions such as fear, love, sadness and guilt, which emerge from her work like memories from our own childhood.

For her first exhibition at Galerie Perrotin, New York, Kristalova presents a series of new characters who form an ambiguous circus cast: performing acrobats, a bird with a girl’s face, a boy with mosquito wings, a magician’s daughter. How they ended up together is for us to guess though don’t be fooled by their seemingly innocent look. As with “Double Face”, they all carry their own enigma of good and evil. Perhaps they deserve their fate; perhaps they are unaware of their own condition. Kristalova crafts their portraits at a specific moment of their mysterious lives, providing us with a few elements before the curtain drops and the show begins, leaving us to write the rest of our their narrative.

Kristalova was born in former Czechoslovakia in 1967 and moved to Sweden with her parents when she was only a year old. She studied at the Royal University College of Fine Art in Stockholm and lives in Norrtälje, Sweden. Recent exhibitions include the Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Sweden (2012), Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2012), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2011) and SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico (2009), among many others.

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Dark Light: The Micaceous Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse / Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Dark Light, Micaceous Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Dark Light: The Micaceous Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse / Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston
February 7 – May 11, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, February 7, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
5:30 - Artist Talk by Adrian Esparza
6:00 - Artist Talk by Christine Nofchissey McHorse

The opening will also feature Spectra by Adrian Esparza in the Front Gallery. Open studios by current resident artists to follow talks. 

In Dark Light: The Micaceous Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) presents works by one of the most innovative contemporary forces in Native American pottery.  Working from traditional materials and techniques, Christine Nofchissey McHorse’s vessel-based art blends the boundaries of pottery and sculpture, erasing the line between function and form. As the Navajo artist’s first traveling exhibition, the show exhibits the unadorned sophistication of the sultry curves, black satiny surfaces, and modern forms of her Dark Light series, created from 1997 to present. An amalgam of Puebloan, Navajo, and contemporary influences, each sculpture possesses a cultural splendor that is as fertile as the Northern New Mexico riverbeds where McHorse harvests her clay.

Through the unadulterated beauty of micaceous clay and with Puebloan construction techniques learned from her Taos mother-in-law, McHorse transforms her sketches into voluminous shapes that swell upwards like a natural spring. Dismissing the rudimentary forms that define Native American ethnic identity in craft, she returns to primordial shapes, akin to the modern aesthetic of Henri Moore. Experimenting with shape, mass, volume, and line, she creates organic vessels in the vein of her ancestors, who recognized the spiritual power of water, air, and earth.

To complement her natural forms, McHorse gives each piece its own unique skin by pushing the boundaries of a raw material. Traditionally used for cookware and valued for its structural integrity, micaceous clay permits McHorse to build thin-walled structures that can withstand high temperatures, yielding a black satiny finish. The darkness of the fired clay provides a dramatic contrast to the tiny bits of reflective mica, glistening as light dances across each piece. Using light gradation as her palette, McHorse controls the presence of light by creating differently textured surfaces that either catch or reflect the light.  When combined with the elegance of each sculpture’s form, the element of light in McHorse’s works renders a captivating visual experience.

Born in Morenci, AZ, in 1948, Christine Nofchissey McHorse is a first generation, full-blooded Navajo ceramic artist. After marrying Joel McHorse, a Taos Pueblo Indian, she learned to make pots through his grandmother, Lena Archuleta, who taught her to work with micaceous clay, a rare but naturally occurring clay high in mica content that can be found in the Taos area. McHorse has since become one of the most admired and successful Native potters, working with traditional techniques but making the kind of reductive, sculptural pots that one would have expected Brancusi to make, were he alive today.

From 1963 – 1968, McHorse studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, where her studio is now located.  She has received numerous awards from the SWAIA Indian Market, Santa Fe, and the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial, Gallup, as well as the Museum of Northern Arizona. Her works are in the collections of the Denver Museum of Natural History, the Museum of New Mexico, the National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution, the Navajo Nation Museum, and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. McHorse also has the unique distinction of winning Best in Show for both pottery and sculpture at the annual Santa Fe Indian Market.

Dark Light: The Micaceous Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse is organized by The Ceramic Arts Foundation, New York, NY, and curated by Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio.

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