Ken Mihara: Serenity in Clay / Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney

Ken Mihara: Serenity in Clay, Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney

Ken Mihara: Serenity in Clay / Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney
November 16 - December 12, 2013

Ken Mihara’s ceramics are a visual ode to his native land, Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, known as the capital of the gods; a land steeped in ancient Japanese myths and legends. The vessels are a culmination of elegant shapes, soft delicate curves, and ancient forms inspired by the surrounding land. Mihara’s striking palette of blues and dark greys intersperses with bursts of beige, gold and orange hues.

Using clay rich in iron from his native Shimane Prefecture, Mihara constructs each work through an organic creative process. Each piece is hand formed using a coil and oinch technique to create a strong linear quality. Mihara states: “I consider it my job to help the clay express its beauty”, and likewise, “clay leads, and my hands follow. I do not know what shape my work is going to end up even while I am making it.” (Ken Mihara in conversation with Nishi Keiko, An interview with artist Mihara Ken, e-yakimono.net, August 2002) His most recent series titled Kei (Mindscape) generate a sense of movement and vitality through gentle folding and bending. The vessels feature double-walled interiors that swirl and spiral similar to small galaxies. The outer walls subtly embrace a complex interior; whilst at the same time the compositional tension allows the form to unravel.

Mihara’s most revered series, Kigen (Genesis), are primordial in formation. The structures are symmetrical and balanced, which create a unique combination of subtlety and solidity. The rough, unrefined and grainy surface texture adds to the ancient ambiance. Mihara repeatedly fires the vessels at high temperatures to slowly unlock subtle and soft colours ranging from deep grey to peach to misty whites and purples. Mihara states: “The high degree of chance and serendipity in any firing is far beyond my control.” (Ken Mihara, “Mihara Ken – The power of chance”, Ceramics Art and Perception, issue 73, 2008, p84)

Ken Mihara was born in 1958 in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, Japan. After completing his studies in 1982 with Funaki Kenji, Mihara participated in numerous exhibitions and prizes. In 2005, he received a grant from Tomo Museum to travel for 6 months throughout Italy, from Milan, then south to Florence, Rome and Sicily. Mihara has been the recipient of many prizes and awards, including the prestigious Japan Ceramic Society Award in 2008; Paramita Ceramics Competition, Paramita Museum, Japan in 2006; The Energia Art Award in 2002 and the Shizuoka Prefecture’s Cultural Encouragement Award in 2009. Mihara has exhibited internationally with SOFA New York, New York (2008), Galerie Besson, London (2010), and most recently with Joan B Mirviss Gallery, New York (2011). His works are held in public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles and The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Since 1996, he has been represented by Yufuku Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.

The Liverpool Street Gallery concomitently hosts the solo exhibition of artist Kevin Lincoln.

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International Ceramic Art Symposium LANDescape / Mark Rothko Art Centre, Daugavpils, Latvia

International Ceramic Art Symposium LANDescape in Daugavpils, Latvia

International Ceramic Art Symposium LANDescape / Mark Rothko Art Centre, Daugavpils, Latvia
12-25 August 2013

Deadline for applications: June 30, 2013

International Ceramic Art Symposium “LANDescape” is a new joint initiative of Daugavpils Clay Art Center and Daugavpils Rothko Art Center which emerged from both partner organizations’ activities and co-operation aimed at promoting contemporary art, including contemporary ceramic processes in Latvia.

In the framework of planned ceramic symposium “LANDescape”, drawing inspiration both from Latvian nature and cultural space, as well as personal world, the participants are invited to create unique ceramic art works with their chosen materials and techniques, although there is a conjunctive theme, that indicates „spurting”, „escaping” „getting away”, „political position” etc., as well as being away from what we are used for and „coming from earth or into it” in the aspect of clay - material used.

Symposium is the place and time when artists, being freed from everyday worries and organizing their social life, can get completely drawn in the creative process. This kind of creative work, not only allows ceramists to meet colleagues from other countries and share experiences, but also to divert as much creative energy of the participants as possible towards creation, that may result in unique works of art.

Daugavpils as symposium venue is significant as it is the eastern border city of European Union, which attracts great artists’ attention with the region’s diverse ethnic, culturally historical environment, with deep cultural traditions and where different cultural and artistic links are self-evident. In addition, within Latvia, it is one of the largest border cities and provides a stimulating environment for cross-border artistic cooperation.

Symposium aims:
1. To collectively create ceramic fire sculpture ensemble, thus improving the cultural space of Daugavpils;
2. To create unique contemporary ceramic objects for Latvian art and cultural space, to create a platform for artists to exchange experiences and generate creative idea, as well as to promote contemporary ceramic processes in the society;
3. To promote high quality contemporary art availability to public, raise public interest in culture, preservation of cultural heritage, to promote the creation of new artworks and their collections.

Symposium organizers’ liabilities:
1. Artists accommodation costs in Daugavpils (hotel and meals);
2. Working studios;
3. Working materials – clay, chamotte clay, glazing, etc.
4. Opportunity to use wood-firing kiln, electric kiln up to 1300 degrees Celsius, as well as a chance to explore different types of individual firing;
5. Publicity (information in mass media, publishing of symposium catalogue);
6. Recreation possibilities: tour around the city and region, visiting educational arts establishments in Daugavpils;
7. Opportunity to present a creative work;
8. Symposium opening exhibition (opening on August 12, 2013);
9. Symposium final exhibition (opening on August 24, 2013).

Download Application form / Download Regulations

Application and other materials added should be sent by e-mail at ceramicsymposium@gmail.com
Contact: Valentins Petjko, +37120207533, valentins.petjko@gmail.com

Like the symposium on Facebook.

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Molly Hatch: REVERIE / Philadelphia Art Alliance

Molly Hatch: REVERIE exhibition Philadelphia Art Alliance

Molly Hatch: REVERIE / Philadelphia Art Alliance, United States
February 7 - April 28, 2013

"In a continued effort to claim the functional surface of the dinner plate as a painting surface, REVERIE includes a new collection of historically sourced plate paintings. In response to the domestic nature of the galleries at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, I have designed “Tea for Two” a historic teacup inspired fabric wallpaper installation.

For REVERIE I worked closely with curators at The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA to source their largely unviewed collection of historic teacups for “Tea for Two”, a fabric wallpaper installation. The story of Francine and Sterling Clark personally collecting hundreds of teacups over a lifetime now housed in the Clark Art Institute archives resonated with my own personal Metcalf family history of collecting and coveting decorative arts.

Rather than seeking source material from an additional museum collection for my new plate paintings in REVERIE, I chose to mine my own family’s collection of ceramic objects. My own family history of collecting resonated with the Francine and Sterling Clark cup collection. Thanks to the generosity of my family, my new plate paintings will be exhibited alongside the originals on loan for the duration of the exhibition.

REVERIE is a personal exploration of the relationship between the historic and the contemporary with artworks crossing over categories of decorative art, design and fine art. Fascinated by how we live with objects, how and why we acquire objects and what happens to them throughout history, I see this exhibition as a reflection of the life of surface pattern through the decorative art continuum.” Molly Hatch

“No art is simply, blithely contemporary. That would be like saying our parents had no influence on us. Today’s art responds to and reacts against yesterday’s art. Hatch serves up the magisterial landscape on a grid of 30 hand-painted ceramic dinner plates. The grid of circles cleverly breaks up and abstracts the scene, but doesn’t abandon its coherence. Indeed, it spotlights the mark-making.” Boston Globe Review of COVET: Modern Riffs on Old Ideas by Cate McQuaid, May 30, 2012

Artist and designer Molly Hatch grew up on an organic dairy farm in Vermont surrounded by a startlingly diverse set of visual influences: the earthy reality of rural life, and the mysterious, disembodied luxury of antique decorative objects from her mother’s family, prosperous Boston merchants who used Chinese export porcelain as ballast in their ships. Inspired by these two seemingly disparate family narratives, Hatch became an artist with a life-long passion for the decorative arts and the dialog between old and new. She has developed a robust studio practice that encompasses both works of art and design for industry, keenly aware of the different concerns and goals of each, while engaging with the ambiguity of objects that seem to exist in both the decorative and fine art realms.

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New Blue and White / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

New Blue and White exhibition Museum of Fine Arts Boston, work by Harumi Nakashima

New Blue and White / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
February 20, 2013 - July 14, 2013

New Blue and White at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, showcases inventive works in blue and white by 40 international artists and designers.

Contemporary sculpture, ceramics, fashion, glass, furniture, and more offer a new twist to age-old imagery

Over the past millennium, blue-and-white ceramics have become an international phenomenon—familiar as Dutch Delftware, Ming vases, and Blue Willow china, among other forms. Today, the popular ceramic medium continues to offer inspiration, especially to the more than 40 international artists and designers whose works are presented in New Blue and White at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). On view from February 20 through July 14 in the MFA’s Henry and Lois Foster Gallery, the exhibition highlights nearly 70 objects made over the course of the past 15 years across a wide array of media. Many of these works offer a contemporary twist to traditional blue-and-white imagery using abstraction, digital manipulation, contemporary subject matter, and even trompe l’oeil to surprise and delight. They range from small porcelains to room-size installations and include never-before-seen creations by artists such as Mark Cooper, Annabeth Rosen, Pouran Jinchi, and Kurt Weiser, and recent MFA acquisitions of work by fashion label Rodarte and ceramic sculptor Chris Antemann. Also on view are ceramics by Nakashima Harumi, Robert Dawson, and Steven Lee. The exhibition is presented with generous support from The Wornick Fund for Contemporary Craft. Additional support is provided by The John and Bette Cohen Fund for Contemporary Decorative Arts, and the Joel Alvord and Lisa Schmid Alvord Fund.

“The works in New Blue and White deftly show how one remarkable set of material traditions, which have had a profound international impact, can inspire new generations of artists. They make surprising, beautiful connections across time and cultures, helping us understand our history and our present,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA.

At its simplest, blue and white refers to the application of cobalt pigment on white clay. It originated in 9th-century Mesopotamia and subsequently captured the imaginations of artists throughout Asia. Through a frenzy of trade networks and stylistic exchange, these coveted works made their way to Europe and eventually the New World. With them went multiple narratives focused on ideas as varied as wealth, power, beauty, family, exoticism, colonialism, and commerce. Inspired by this rich and varied global legacy, today’s artists create works that tell contemporary stories incorporating cultural, social, and historical references. To illustrate this, four themes will be presented to guide visitor engagement with the objects in the exhibition: Cultural Camouflage; Memory and Narrative; Abstract Interpretations; and Political Meaning.

Exhibiting artists: Ann Agee (US), Chris Antemann (US), Katsuyo Aoki (Japan), Felicity Aylieff (England), Robin Best (Australia), Stephen Bowers (Australia), Boym Partners [Constantin Boym (Russian) and Laurene Boym (American)], Caroline Cheng (England), Mark Cooper (US), Claire Curneen (Ireland), Robert Dawson (England), Barbara Diduk (US), Michelle Erickson (US), Front Design (Sofia Lagerkvist, Anna Lindren, Katja S’vstr’m, Charlotte von der Lancken) (Sweden), Gésine Hackenberg (Germany), Molly Hatch (US), Giselle Hicks (US), Sin Ying Ho (China), Pouran Jinchi (Iran), Hella Jongerius (Netherlands), Charles Krafft (US), Steven Lee (US), Li Lihong (China), Beth Lo (US), Livia Marin (Chile), Harumi Nakashima (Japan), Rodarte (Kate and Laura Mulleavy) (US), Annabeth Rosen (US), Richard Saja (US), Eduardo Sarabia (US), Paul Scott (England), Richard Shaw (US), Tommy Simpson (US), Caroline Slotte (Finland), Min-Jeong Song (Korea), Vipoo Srivilasa (Thailand), Kondô Takahiro (Japan), Brendan Tang (Canada), Studio Van Eijk & Van der Lubbe (Neils Van Eijk, Mirian Van der Lubbe) (Netherlands), Peter Walker (US), Kurt Weiser (US), Ah Xian (China).

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NCECA 2013 National Student Juried Exhibition / Glassell School of Art, Houston

NCECA 2013 National Student Juried Exhibition at Glassell School of Art Houston, work by Sasha Alexandra

NCECA 2013 National Student Juried Exhibition / Glassell School of Art, Houston, USA
February 15 - March 23, 2013

Reception: Thursday, March 21, 6-8 PM.

NCECA’s National Student Juried Exhibition (NSJE) is open to all full time undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students enrolled in the United States of America, except for those enrolled at the institutions of the jurors. Applicants must have been working towards a degree or be a post-baccalaureate in art at the time of submittal.

In conjunction with NCECA’s 47th Annual Conference in Houston (March 20-23), The Glassell School of Art of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston hosts NCECA’s 2013 National Student Juried Exhibition from February 15 – March 23, 2013. A reception takes place on Thursday, March 21, 2013 from 6:00- 8:00 pm. New this year NCECA has included the 2013 NSJE artists in the 2013 NCECA Biennial catalog featuring color reproductions of works by all participating artists. This catalog may be pre-ordered on the NCECA’s Online Store.

Participating artists: Sasha Alexandra, Molly Allen, Samantha Bachman, Cori Crumrine, Stephanie Galli, Tyler Houston, Kahlil Irving, Michelle Laxalt, Kathryn Whistler, Tiffany Bailey, Melisa Cadell, Heather Davis, Virginia Eckinger, Thomas Edwards, Marty Fielding, Marisa Finos, Donna Flanery, Anastasia Gabriel, Nick Geankoplis, Violet Goode, Elizabeth Head-Fischer, Natasha Hovey, Michael Hurley, Ah-Young Jeon, Kevin Kao, Lauren Karle, Margaret Kinkeade, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, Robert Kolhouse, Shasta Krueger, Yeon Joo Lee, John Loveless, Marsha Mack, Leslie Macklin, Ashley Maxwell, Spring Montes, Norleen Nosri, Sara Parent-Ramos, Alia Pialtos, Brian Pierce, Louis Reilly, Justin Schortgen, Mitchell Spain, Diana Synatzske, Kristen Tripp, Josh Van Stippen, Austin Wieland, Bill Wilkey, Wesley Wright, Crisha Yantis.

Jurors: Bonnie Seeman, Kevin Snipes.

Bonnie Seeman received her BFA from the University of Miami in 1991, and her MFA from the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth in 1996.  She is a two-time recipient of the Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, and has twice served as a panelist for the Florida Fellowship. Seeman was nominated for a USA Fellow grant in 2010 and was awarded The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation 2005 Biennial Award.  A participant in numerous international and national exhibitions including Art Basel, Switzerland; Art Brussels, Belgium; and the World Ceramic Biennale, Korea, Seeman’s work is featured in many museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; the World Ceramic Exposition Foundation International Collection, Icheon, Korea; the Sadberk Hanım Museum, Istanbul, Turkey; and The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA. Seeman has taught as a summer faculty member at Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Santa Fe Clay, and has presented visiting artist workshops at numerous art centers and universities across the U.S. She currently teaches at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, and serves on the board of Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.

Kevin Snipes combines his love of constructing unconventional pottery with an obsessive need to draw on everything that he produces, creating a uniquely dynamic body of work. Snipes received a B.F.A. in ceramics and drawing from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1994 and completed graduate school at the University of Florida in 2003. Since then, Snipes has led a seemingly nomadic artistic life, constantly making no matter where he is. He has participated in several artist residency programs including the Clay Studio in Philadelphia and Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine; and, he received a Taunt Fellowship from the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana 2008. Exhibiting nationally and internationally as far away as Jingdezhen China, Snipes had a recent solo exhibition at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston. Kevin Snipes currently resides in New Mexico.

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L’usage des jours. 365 ceramic objects by Guillaume Bardet / Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains, Lausanne

L’usage des jours. 365 ceramic objects by Guillaume Bardet Musee de design et d'arts appliques contemporains, Lausanne

L’usage des jours. 365 ceramic objects by Guillaume Bardet / Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains, Lausanne
March 27 - May 26, 2013

Opening reception: Tuesday, March 26, 6 PM.

During the period from September 21, 2009, until September 20, 2010, the French designer Guillaume Bardet drew one object a day. As an extension of this «artistic and human performance», from fall 2010 he saw to the creation of each object. He did so in collaboration with fourteen ceramists from the Dieulefit region (Rhône-Alpes, southeast France), where he had settled in 2009 in order to flee the Parisian hullabaloo.

It took a good measure of determination, passion, enthusiasm and energy for Guillaume Bardet to become the hub of an alliance built up of individuals, companies, institutions and collectivities, all of whom agreed to join this human and creative adventure with him for an over two-year period. It also demanded a great deal of nerve and talent for the designer to bare himself, revealing not only his basic concerns and strokes of imagination, but also his weak spots, his doubts and his trial-and-error approach. And all this in order to uncompromisingly give their full due to his formal and aesthetic solutions.

Guillaume Bardet entrusted the scenography for this itinerant exhibition to his friend, the designer Vincent Dupont-Rougier, insisting nonetheless on a preconception whereby time passes very slowly (a one-year period) and very rapidly (that of a single day). And this by resorting to elements in the service of simplicity, structuring and narration, so as to bring to mind both linearity and profusion, families and uses, moods and fancies.

The exhibition also brings to light various phases of inspiration, the artist’s manner of working and his search for solutions. Interspersed among each of the seasons, information is provided alongside Guillaume Bardet’s sketches, his 3D drawings, and photographs, together with a written record of the remarkably fruitful dialogue Bardet inspired between himself and the many ceramists involved. In the words of one of the latter, Guillaume Bardet found out how to «tell a story» and «seek out the lines» in each of the forms he had designed and observed taking shape in the artisans’ hands.

This outstanding personal challenge entailed a nigh-to-monacal and introspective approach in 2009; it was followed by a more collegial phase in 2010, climaxing in the production of 365 brand new ceramic works. These have since been presented as the theme of a monographic exhibition of a new kind, shown at several museums and exhibition venues partnering this initiative. The mudac represents the last lap on the exhibition’s itinerary, which included Sèvres («City of Ceramics») in France (near Paris), Le Grand Hornu Images in Belgium, the Château des Adhémar (Contemporary Art Center) in Montélimar (France), and the Maison de la Céramique du Pays de Dieulefit in 2012.

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SPECIAL FEATURE: Romanian Contemporary Ceramics

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SPECIAL FEATURE: Romanian Contemporary Ceramics
Written review of Romanian contemporary ceramics through interviews with internationally-renowned and emerging Romanian artists.

In December 2011 we have witnessed the rebirth of Romanian contemporary ceramics through the opening of Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, the first gallery in Romania that promotes contemporary ceramics. The exhibition was titled “Ceramic rendez-vous”, poiting out the fact that it brought together fourteen artists from all over the country: Arina Ailincăi, Bianca Boeroiu, Cristina Bolborea, Adela Bonaţ, Vasile Cercel, Gherghina Costea, Georgiana Cozma, Marta Jakobovits, Romana Mateiaş, Aniela Ovadiuc, Monika Pădureţ, Cristina Popescu Russu, Ioana Şetran and Simona Tănăsescu.

With just two days ahead of the opening day of “Ceramic rendez-vous”, in December the 9th, 2011, Ceramics Now organized the opening day of the first Ceramics Now Exhibition in the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The exhibition marked the launch of the magazine by exhibiting works of fifteen artists from eight countries. The third edition of Ceramics Now Exhibition is being held at Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, between 8-26th of November 2012, and presents the works of 22 world renowned contemporary ceramic artists, including three Romanian artists.

ROMANIAN CERAMIC ARTISTS - Read all the interviews:
Arina Ailincăi - by Vasi Hîrdo
Marta Jakobovits - by Ileana Surducan and Alexandra Mureşan
Romana Cucu Mateiaş - by Andra Baban
Aniela Ovadiuc - by Vasi Hîrdo
Oriana Pelladi - by Vasi Hîrdo
Eugenia Pop - by Alexandra Mureşan and Vasi Hîrdo
Cristina Popescu Russu - by Alexandra Mureşan
Bogdan Teodorescu - by Vasi Hîrdo

The feature is an ongoing project developed by Ceramics Now Association in collaboration with the Romanian Fine Arts Union, the University of Arts and Design Cluj-Napoca and the National University of Arts Bucharest.

Above: Oriana Pelladi, Emptiness, 2007, Ceramics, Video projection.

Romana Cucu Mateias - Artist of the month, November 2012

ARTIST OF THE MONTH / Romanian Contemporary Ceramics, November 2012: Romana Cucu Mateiaş

Romana Cucu Mateias - Ceramics Now Magazine, Digital Issue Two Cover

Interview by Andra Baban for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

As a contemporary artist with extensive knowledge in the field of ceramics, can you share with us a significant experience for your career?

There is no doubt that growing up in a family of artists had a major influence on my life and artistic career. The chance to develop myself in an artistic environment, to be in contact with different genres of art, cultivated my taste for diversity. As a defining experience, I can say that the time spent in the ceramics studio during high school was the most interesting for me. In that period, the studio was an experimentation lab and I was encouraged by my teacher, Judita Crăciun, to discover new things, and so I gathered knowledge that further helped me build my artistic identity. A similar stage was during doctoral studies when I had the opportunity to reshape and enrich my knowledge and vision regarding ceramic art.

What inspires you and how do you start a new project?

New projects usually occur after reflecting on certain subjects, items or concepts that caught my attention and which I want to integrate into the work. Other ceramic projects come as a response to a challenging and interesting thematic for a special event or exhibition. What I particularly like is to closely observe plants, animals and insects, and to study their surfaces with a special attention to the countless details, drawings, textures or structures. The miniature elements extracted from the vegetal and animal world are translated into my work through a personal alphabet of shapes. Besides this, in my work I often use details and anatomical fragments as inspiration. In some works, these fragments lose their original identity and transform into volumetric expressions and complex reliefs.

There is a visible preoccupation for texture in your work; how do you make it and how important is texture and surface for the message you want to send?

The decorative elements are completing the volumes and have an equal importance for the ensemble, the details becoming in this context a work by its own. The texture makes the work more pretentious and transforms it into an object that requires more time and close inspection in order to be discovered. The structures are completing the volumes with nature inspired shapes, vegetal and zoomorphic elements. These graphic traces, reliefs or applied elements on the works’ surface are growing together with the shape. Some of the reliefs are taking form in the process of constructing the work by pressing the material on textured surfaces, and other work surfaces are transferred by imprinting, cutting and etching, or by applying mixed glazes to the surface. It is a big pleasure for me to collect in my kit of tools items that can help me later on with my work. This kit, made over the years, consists of lots of items that are indeed a small treasure - a chest with instruments out of the ordinary and tools made by me for the purpose to obtain new textures and more complex patterns.

[] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two
* Digital Issue Two will be published on December 2012

In 2010 you held a conference in Paris on the topic of Romanian contemporary ceramics. In this context, what can you say about the context of Romanian ceramics? Do ceramist artists have opportunities in Romania?

The presentation of Romanian contemporary ceramics was part of a larger project together with a Romanian contemporary ceramics exhibition with Cristina Popescu Russu as curator. The exhibition, held at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris, was one of the most important events for the Romanian contemporary ceramics in the recent years, being included in the program of the 44th General Assembly of the International Academy of Ceramics (International Academy of Ceramics - ICA). Fourteen artists attended the exhibition but 46 Romanian ceramists were promoted through the materials presented throughout the ICA events. Following this exhibition, new contacts were established between artists.

The visibility of Romanian contemporary ceramics, both nationally and internationally, plays an important role in creating a professional, competitive and creative-stimulating environment which can generate exchanges between renowned and emerging artists, and arise new opportunities for collaborations. Following the records of contemporary ceramists from different generations, with a very original vision in this field, we can notice big differences in the thematic approach, style and forming of ceramic material. The various concerns of the artists for materiality, color, scale or accuracy, and the simplicity of shape are building the identity of Romanian ceramic art. An overview of Romanian contemporary ceramics makes us notice the multimedialism, the interdisciplinary dimension of it, and the new forms and ways of artistic expression generated by new materials, techniques and technologies.

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13 Ways of Looking at “Natural Great Piece” - Meditations on a performance in clay by Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari / REVIEW

REVIEW, November 2012:

13 Ways of Looking at “Natural Great Piece”
Meditations on a performance in clay by Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari

Review by Daniel Fleischmann for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

1. “Natural Great Piece” is an intricate, intimate, communal performance in the medium of clay. Like a dance or a concert, it is more overtly bound to time than most sculptural artwork, and it ends dissolved into the past.

2. Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari make a large and detailed clay sculpture. It emerges from an improvisational score fed by their combined 60 years of art making experience. Passersby are invited to create self-portraits in clay to be incorporated into the artwork. Its surfaces become covered with these figures, which are painted with underglaze.

At a certain point, the construction is complete. Its size is such that it can easily conceal a large adult from view. The words of Tibetan lama Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche are carved into the unfired clay:
Rest in natural great peace this exhausted mind,
Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thoughts
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.
Rest in natural great peace.

A brief performance marks the culmination of the process. Then the Natural Great Piece is dismantled.

3. Rowe and Ari first manifested “Natural Great Piece” at the 2nd Ceramics Annual of America in San Francisco, October 5-9, 2011. They were joined by singer Bridget O’Keeffe and dancer Juliet Lin. In addition, roughly 250 fellow artists, ceramics aficionados, art students, and visitors contributed small figurative moments to the sculpture.

Circumnavigating its concave exterior or squatting in its embrace, you could see a red dragon, a female figure growing from yellow coral, a gnome pouring a jug of water over a balcony, a bloody ghoul, a colony of barnacles, a waiter bringing a head on a tray, a cluster of pink faces on a blue man’s torso, and countless more visual poems and paragraphs.

The chaotic and fascinating fresco captured the essence of the eternal cycle of birth, differentiation, suffering, death and rebirth—in short, samsara. Yet as varied as the details were, all came together in the single, curved wall. Reminiscent of both cave and womb, it described approximately three quarters of a circle and measured about 3m in circumference, 2.5m in height at its apex, and 900 kg in weight.



4. There is no reason to believe that “Natural Great Piece” has a quintessential appearance. Rowe notes, for example, that the moisture in the air at Fort Mason, which sits on a pier above San Francisco Bay, forced her to build a stockier wall. One wing of the sculpture even threatened to collapse on Saturday, calling for quick reinforcement. In a drier clime, the taller shape could easily emerge given Rowe’s gift for stretching the proportions of clay.

For another example, because the venue was a ceramic conference, many participants were artists themselves. Rowe and Ari conceive of this work having an expression in a space where most passersby would not have artistic training. It would yield something quite different and perhaps more compelling to Ari, who says, “The point is that art is for everyone. Everyone gets to express. For me, it’s very powerful to invite people to art making in a way that makes them say yes to the process.”

5. “How do you fire it?” is the number one FAQ. The answer is simple, but few can hear it without questioning further.
“So you’re not going to save it?”
“Then what are you going to do with it?”
“Are you going to take it apart and then fire it?”

You have to have compassion toward these reactions because it’s clear that great effort has gone into building this mother cave. The structural ingenuity, the input of so many people, even the cost of the clay—surely it must be saved.

But when a saxophonist stops blowing, or a monk rises from a meditation of pure surrender, or a trick pilot pivots a plane like a beached fish in midair and then recovers, nobody questions why the transcendent emergence has to end. Nobody asks the pilot, “How will you save that moment?” And even fired clay is only a pause in this fluid reality.
(The second most common question is asked by people who have given Rowe and Ari their clay self-portrait: “Where is the piece I contributed?”)

6. Last summer, Ari and Rowe got together at Rowe’s studio in the hills southeast of L.A. Together, they built two small structures to explore the way their languages combine. They also painted two large drop cloths in prismatic colors to serve as a foundation for the sculpture. Their daughters, Galatea and Mirabai, fast friends, played together while their mothers worked.

The artists first met the previous year at the First Ceramics Annual, but even before that, Ari had seen Rowe’s work and recognized a kindred spirit. “When I saw [it], I thought to myself, ‘If I were to make something big, I’d want it to look like that.”

Rowe had also been instantly attracted to Ari’s work, and had actually set one of Ari’s images as her computer’s desktop graphic before the two ever met.

“So when we met, we quickly started talking about collaboration,” Ari relates. “We had similar energy and ideas.” Over the year, these ideas coalesced, leading them to Fort Mason on October 5, 2011, where they spread the canvases, poured a ring of sand for a base, and began to grow the artwork from the ground up.

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Oriana Pelladi - Romanian ceramic artist, November 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, November 2012: Oriana Pelladi

Oriana Pelladi Ceramics - Romanian contemporary ceramics featured on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two
Translation by Anca Sânpetrean

You are a young ceramist who had started her artistic endeavor early on, during college. How did you discover the passion for ceramics?

I guess it was while working. From one work to another you get new ideas; you get excited, you make things. I remember that at the beginning, in high school, I was fascinated to discover how a crude glaze that was a washy orange became dark green after the firing. When you are applying glazes, a significant part of the process is a mental/ imaginative one. While you are mixing and combining them, you need to imagine their true colors, revealed by the firing process.

What message or feeling do you wish to convey to the viewer through your works? Is the goal of your artistic process one of searching and experimenting?

Absolutely! It’s an experiment which starts from the early stages of the work, and includes the viewer’s reaction to the finished piece. The message is open to various interpretations, depending on the power of understanding and interiority of the viewer. It is important for me to create a starting point for a debate.

The refinement and elegance of your works are the result of the techniques that you employ, together with the subtle interventions on the shape. Tell us more about the creative process of your works.

There isn’t anything new or unusual to it. First of all there is the idea. For me it’s important to know if what I’m going to produce is suitable to be made from ceramic material, that the idea will be best expressed with this medium. Then I carefully choose the material, so that it matches and supports my idea. Most of the time, I prefer white clays or sandstone. The majority of my works are composed of more than one piece, so I usually make plaster molds, in which I press the paste, and then I interfere with the form, depending on what I want to do. When I made the ceramic boats (No Direction Home, 2010), I had to do various tests, including testing the paper’s reaction with the ceramic slip. It had to be not too glossy, but neither too rough or to absorb much water. Furthermore, it is essential to know where and when you should stop.

Oriana Pelladi Ceramics - Romanian contemporary ceramics featured on Ceramics Now Magazine
Oriana Pelladi, The dowry, 2011, Stoneware, White glaze, Wooden pillow.

In 2010 you was an artist in residence at Fule International Ceramic Art Museum (FLICAM), Fuping, China. What was the result of this residence?

China is a fascinating country. I lived within a culture with a rich and vast history, one that relates significantly to ceramics. The residence at Fuping has been perfect for me. First of all, I was taken out of the daily context in which I live, away from the little mundane things that interfere with the work. I had my time, I could think and create. I could choose freely from several types of ceramic paste, with high plasticity, provided by the local ceramic factory. It was incredibly nice to work there. Beside this, I experienced working in a studio together with other Romanian and also foreign artists from all over the world - from different generations and with different points of view. It was challenging in terms of creativity, which is a good experience. The residence in which I took part ended with the opening of the Museum of Eastern Europe. Over several years, numerous residences amounted to the creation of the International Museum of Contemporary Ceramics; the museum was composed of several pavilions representing different countries or areas: Scandinavia, America, Australia, Asia, etc. It was a wonderful project, and I was lucky to be part of it. There are many events which deserve to be mentioned. It was captivating. China inspires you.

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Virginie Besengez - Spotlight, November 2012

SPOTLIGHT, November 2012: Virginie Besengez

Virginie Besengez Contemporary Ceramics - Featured on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

Your body of work consists in reinterpretations in stoneware and porcelain of everyday objects. What sparked your interest for ceramics?

Firstly, an attraction toward the household objects led me to ceramic. I am deeply fascinated by clay and the gesture of the hand cupping the bowl.
Beyond the objects, my interest for this art was aroused by a strong link with the origin of humankind, the ancestral tradition of making household objects out of that universal and natural clay. Finally, meeting with ceramists and contemplating their work was a strong incentive to become part of that story.

The refinement and suaveness of your ceramic pieces are given by your attention to detail. Tell us about your educational background and other related experiences.

I had numerous trainings in France and Belgium with ceramists, during which I learned, observed and appreciated the simplicity of the gesture of the first movement. Permanently, I think of the first gestures man performed in order to create a clay or stoneware object.
I love the primitive aspect of this job whose rules have not changed for thousands of years.

How did the architecture of the North of France and the austere aesthetic of the Flemish still-life affected your work?

I am of Flemish origins, I have always lived in the North of France. I don’t believe in plain inspiration, it comes through our environment and culture. In my region and in the near Belgium country more particularly, the black color is omnipresent: in my ancestors clothes, in the colors of the walls, in Flemish paintings. When I walk around cities like Amsterdam or Gand, or along the enbankment in Anvers Harbor, or wandering in Bruxelles, what strikes me is the simplicity and efficiency of architecture, either XVIth century and ultra-contemporary. Streamlined shapes, huge openings to catch maximum light in spite of often grey skies.
My country is also a landscape of industrial wasteland. Former silos, unused steel factories, traces of a bygone industry in which concrete and rusty steel beams are the ghosts of that prosperous era.

Virginie Besengez Ceramics - Featured on Ceramics Now Magazine
Virginie Besengez, Brimming Over, 2012, Stoneware and porcelain, Diam. 50 cm x H. 40 cm. - View Virginie Besengez’s works

The monochrome compositions that you create give the viewer a subtle remembrance of the object design of the 60’s. Why did you choose not to use color in your works?

Color makes no sense to me, for me it takes too much space and leaves no room for subtlety and details. You need to have a poetic mind to be moved by the grey sea of the North, by the dull skies of Flanders.
Grey and black change according to the light, they are not permanent, thus the object has several lives in one day. I am particularly interested in the numerous shades of grey that light can enhance in a monochrome composition, depending on the clay, its closeness to an immaculate porcelain and the way pieces are laid out.
I have been influenced and inspired by Morandi, but also by urban wastelands, steel compression ready for recycling, odds and ends piled up at the back of an old scottish shop.

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Aniela Ovadiuc - Romanian ceramic artist, November 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, November 2012: Aniela Ovadiuc

Aniela Ovadiuc Romanian contemporary ceramics featured on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two
Translation by Andra Baban

How did you discover the passion for ceramics?

By accident! When I was in high school I studied painting and I believed that nothing could rise to its value; that painting is part of my soul and the only way of expression for me as an artist. But this had changed when in university I have met ceramics, felt in loved and couldn’t separate since. This is mainly due to my professor, Ernest Budeş, the person which showed us all the ways of expressing through this medium, using clay, stoneware, earthenware or porcelain, each with its specific techniques. He taught us that ceramics is made with a lot of patience, dedication and most of all, love. He also educated us to love what we do because an object made with all these “ingredients” cannot be otherwise than good: it lives, vibrates, transmits.

Is ceramics for you an opportunity for introspection?

Art in general is an opportunity for introspection. Ceramics is a material that allows many possibilities of transposing artistic ideas, therefore can be both two-dimensional (decorative tiles, painting, graphic, photography) and three-dimensional (sculpture, installation). In conclusion, clay has a wide range of artistic expressions that can help you translate almost any idea. Unlike other mediums, ceramics implies using all the primordial elements -earth, water, air, fire- to get the final result; this gives you a lot to think about. To give shape to earth you need water, to dry it you need air, but then, giving it to fire (and I say giving because from this point the fire detains most of the control and often is the best adviser and critic that reveals your mistakes and never forgives them) for objectification, fixing, vitrifying, finality.

Tell us more about your creative process. Is there a balance between concept and execution?

The important thing is to have the idea; the rest will follow naturally. When you master the ceramic techniques, you automatically consider the idea in connection with the execution possibilities; it is like the relation thought – word – grammar. You own the concept, the idea, the thought, and can transpose them using a grammatical structure. The same is with ceramics: you visualize the whole process to the ending, and you start to work, meanwhile transposing your thoughts.

It may happen to change the idea in the process – mainly because the difference of time between thought and action is longer than in other artistic media - for example in painting everything happens almost simultaneously (thought, gesture, action and result) but in ceramics, the execution time is slower and the mind begins to work - the reason why changes can occur in the initial idea but also in technique. Usually, I try not to diverge too far from the main idea, but I have to be very careful because if I let myself flow in experiments, I can easily derail and fail to reach the destination, in other words to  what I wanted to convey. Ceramics doesn’t give you much opportunity to step back in the process, instead it forces you to take it again from beginning.

Aniela Ovadiuc Romanian contemporary ceramics featured on Ceramics Now Magazine
Aniela Ovadiuc, The book, 2011, Stoneware, Metalic oxides, 15 x 38 x 3 cm.

[] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

The book is a recurrent element in your creation. What are the origins of this passion?

During Master degree studies I had as research the theme of the Library (Bookcase), concluding that it is the sum of human preoccupations. If Schopenhauer names the book “the paper memory of mankind”, my work “The Library” (Bookcase) wants to put in light the human – library relationship. The library has the meaning of a book depository where the books reflect the man himself. To understand this I had to ask myself: What is a library? - A book depository; What is the book? - The memory of mankind in the shape of words, images and signs; What are the words? -  Language, signs, symbols, gesture. And still, what is the library? – Is purely a human product, which stores all its history and emphasizes the development path, all thoughts, feelings and human desires. All these are in the Universal Library, and man carries it with himself all the way. The library and the man go together, have a common, inseparable route, like a carried and projected shadow. So from now on, I remained faithful to this theme, because it is very complex and inexhaustible, because we are in constant motion and evolution, but especially because the book as an art object is as Daniela Frumuşeanu said - “an exhibition itself!”

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What you get: Two beautiful .PDF and .EPUB files for your PC (Windows), Mac, iPad or iPhone, delivered in December.+ Digital Issue One as a gift, delivered to your email right after you pay. The links are provided by WeTransfer.Read more about Ceramics Now / Ceramic artists listFollow us on Facebook and Twitter & subscribe to our free monthly newsletter. Contact: office@ceramicsnow.org

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Digital Subscription - Ceramics Now Magazine: 10 Digital Issues per year! + Digital Issue One as a gift, delivered right after you pay (.PDF and .EPUB files for PC, Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone). The next one will be delivered in December to your email address.

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~ 50 pages, interviews, reviews, exhibition releases, images, artist profiles, crisp contemporary design.

Digital Issue One - Ceramics Now Magazine
GET IT FOR FREE or name a fair price.

Digital Issue One - Ceramics Now Magazine, is the first issue of our beloved magazine, featuring over forty contemporary ceramic artists in exactly 100 pages. Get it just like that or you can think of a sum to pay for it (yes, there is a maximum of $1000, so please don’t magnify all the thing).

What you get: Two beautiful .PDF and .EPUB files for your PC (Windows), Mac, iPad or iPhone. The link is provided by WeTransfer.

Digital Issue Two (Pre-Order) - Ceramics Now Magazine

Digital Issue Two - Ceramics Now Magazine (to be published in December - available for pre-order), is our second magnificent printed issue, this time made with more care and attention to detail. This issue sees the inauguration of our new Reviews category.

What you get: Two beautiful .PDF and .EPUB files for your PC (Windows), Mac, iPad or iPhone, delivered in December.
+ Digital Issue One as a gift, delivered to your email right after you pay. The links are provided by WeTransfer.

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SPECIAL FEATURE: Overthrown: Clay Without Limits (Denver Art Museum)

Overthrown: Clay Without Limits special feature for The Denver Art Museum - Ceramics Now

SPECIAL FEATURE: Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, July 2011

In partnership with The Denver Art Museum
Written review of “Overthrown: Clay Without Limits” exhibition at The Denver Art Museum through interviews with exhibiting artists and the curator.

The twenty-five artists in Overthrown: Clay Without Limits took on adventurous challenges to make the works in this exhibition. Most were made especially for Overthrown and many are in direct dialogue with our dynamic Daniel Libeskind-designed architecture; they move beyond the pedestal to the wall, the floor, and even the ceiling. A few extend beyond the Anschutz Gallery, across the entire museum complex. They break boundaries that are physical, technological, conceptual, and spatial.

Working in all scales, from architecturally expansive to almost impossibly small, the artists in Overthrown employ twenty-first-century technology hand-in-hand with standard modeling and molding techniques. They use digital cameras, computers, laser cutters, 3-D printers, and computer-controlled mills along with more traditional tools.

Some push the forms of functional objects. Others push the limits of fragility. They take risks that draw on material chemistry and maverick kiln techniques. Some of their works include not only clay, but also found objects such as metal, plastic, and abandoned industrial materials. Overthrowing our expectations of ceramic art—its size, its context, its methods, and its meaning—these artists show us new ways of using this versatile and timeless material.

OVERTHROWN: CLAY WITHOUT LIMITS
View images / Read all the interviews:
Gwen F. Chanzit, Curator
Katie Caron and Martha Russo
John Roloff
Clare Twomey
Paul Sacaridiz
Linda Sormin
Del Harrow
Mia Mulvey
Benjamin DeMott

The feature was presented on Ceramics Now in July 2011, and was published in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue One. The “Overthrown: Clay Without Limits" exhibition was on view at The Denver Art Museum June 11 through September 18, 2011.

Above: Linda Sormin, Mine (i hear him unclip me / blood runs cold), 2010–11. Glazed ceramic; souvenir kitsch; and studio remnants from Tim Berg, Gerit Grimm, Nathan Craven, Robyn Gray, and Ted Yoon. Photo by Jeff Wells.