Courtesy the artist and Jason Jacques Inc.
Michael Geertsen: Still Life, Still Lives / Jason Jacques Gallery, New York
May 21 - June 21, 2014
Jason Jacques Gallery is pleased to announce its second contemporary exhibition with contemporary ceramic master Michael Geertsen. Following a ceramic installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and a show at Puls Ceramics in his native Denmark, Michael Geertsen has come back to show in New York. Geertsen is known for sleek ceramic works with alien-like sculptural bodies, and stacked sculptures of utilitarian objects like plates and cups. His whimsical and animated forms are executed with machine-like precision, thanks to his background in industrial ceramics. Michael claims American streamline design and Italian Futurism as his primary influences.
His most recent works have reinterpreted ancient Greek pottery, taking the classical forms and integrating them with modernist elements. He adds antlers, knobs and nipples in metallic gold and platinum. The gold and platinum protrusions create mirror like reflections which, when placed next to other works, distort the forms further, shifting perceptions of their form or shape.
Geertsen says his use of gold and silver is a nod to Western decadence. He started using these elements in his work while exploring Soviet constructivism where Gold and silver screamed hedonism, abundance and American kitsch. The use of gold and silver is also a reaction against 1960’s naturalistic pottery, making the works cheeky and stylized. The artist and scholar Edmond de Waals described his work as always “questioning the place that ceramics has inhabited, as well as the place that ceramics will inhabit in the future.” Michael’s most recent innovations have made that statement even more fitting.
Oh la la - Majolica … a Pottery Slam, by Peder Rasmussen and Michael Geertsen / Copenhagen Ceramics, Denmark
May 24 - June 16, 2012
Artists talk: Saturday, 26 May at 2 pm.
With their common educational background in the now almost vanished pottery tradition, Danish ceramists Michael Geertsen and Peder Rasmussen are challenging themselves and each other in an exhibition-tour-de-force within a classic ceramics discipline, the Majolica – tradition. Not only have they produced their individual works – but occasionally they have left the decorating of their own pieces to the other.
Michael Geertsen and Peder Rasmussen both belong to the small group of contemporary ceramists, who also apprenticed as potters – in their certificates termed as free-hand-throwers.
As young they found themselves in a world of age-old crafts and were thus among the last links in a very long chain.
Speaking of this, they say: ’We both share great love of classic pottery; of the idea of the vessel and the ceramic figure as artistic medium, even in a world being ever more technological, as far from our starting point as can be imagined. Does this show in our work? Is there any reminiscence of something archetypical still present in our otherwise highly contemporary expression? In our own opinion, yes! We actually insist that our education within a tradition-bound craft has imbued us
with a deep respect for professionalism. It has also provided us with a reservoir of references – possibilities for ’professional quoting’. Anything goes. With the apprenticeship-certificate as baggage, we know that there are lots of unoccupied seats within the space of tradition’.
This time both ceramists work with Majolica, the age-old technique of white-glazed and decorated earthenware, known especially from the Italian renaissance. From the great artists of the Della Robbia dynasty or the Deruta-workshops. Hispano-Mauresque faience, too, has been in their view with its ornamentation, lustres and other metallic effects. The technique itself tempts with a richness of colour unequalled in other techniques, thus offering possibilities for new stories, stylistic approaches and quotes.