Territorios Conmovidos / Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Latinoamericano MACLA, La Plata, Argentina

Territorios Conmovidos exhibition at MACLA, La Plata 2014

Territorios Conmovidos / Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Latinoamericano MACLA, La Plata, Argentina
May 15 - June 29, 2014

Curated by Lucía Savloff.

The exhibition was born from the sensations that were aroused to a group of artists from La Plata after the perception of what happened during the terrible flood that hit their city last April 2nd of 2013. The artworks of Marcela Cabutti, Mariela Cantú, Gabriel Fino, Graciela Olio and Paula Massarutti display a diverse set of poetics that allows us to think about how the construction of images and artistic devices participates in the process of building a collective memory.

Certain circumstances constitute an event to the extent that causes a deviation in the course of our everyday experience. Natural or social tectonic movements displace the foundations on which we build us. The unpredictable breaks, hits, and then opens, letting us see what was below that which has been moved. The flood brought our attention to what we usually don´t look, putting our fragility in public, and revealing that the way we live, build and socially act modifies the territory we inhabit. The artworks in this exhibition do not try to “represent” what happened. The artists conceive the practice of memory from the field of poetry, creating works and devices that function as meeting spaces that enables dialogues unknown a priori. As blocks of sensations or resonance boxes, the artworks create meeting infrastructures and invite to build from its empty spaces.

Read More

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

Michael Geertsen exhibition at Jason Jacques Gallery

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

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

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

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

Read More

Alexandra Lerman: Immediate Release / Tina Kim Gallery, New York

Alexandra Lerman: Immediate Release exhibition at Tina Kim Gallery

Alexandra Lerman: Immediate Release / Tina Kim Gallery, New York
May 1 - June 28, 2014

Tina Kim Gallery is pleased to present Alexandra Lerman’s first solo exhibition, Immediate Release.

A coincidence of the calendar becomes a critical frame. The first of May commemorates May Day, an ancient folk festival meant to awaken the wintering body through conviviality, dance, and song, also, International Workers’ Day, the 20th century’s concession to the solidarity of laboring bodies in almost every country of the world. The 1st of May saw the opening of Immediate Release, the new exhibition of multi-media artist Alexandra Lerman.

Alexandra Lerman’s Immediate Release presents a multi-layered installation of drawings, terracotta tablets, ceramics, and performance by Madeline Hollander that literally and metaphorically diagrams the capture of the body by the intersecting forces of technology, capital, and representation. The inauguration of a new kind of May Day, then, that understands that the body’s movements are no longer simply instrumentalized through the mechanics of labor, but also by the codification of its informal moments of respite: social communication, relaxation, aesthetic expression.

Two walls of the gallery are hung with terracotta maps depicting the gallery staff’s circulation through the space, traced by a finger dragged across the wet tablet’s surface and finished with a pinch, a now ubiquitous gesture for minimization, for which Apple briefly owned a patent. On an adjacent wall, Sumi ink drawings on legal forms render the 26 poses of Bikram Yoga, which tried to license to traditional, commonly-held wisdom of the body movements it taught. These components supplied a kind of elementary formal dictionary for Hollander’s choreographed performance that unfolded in front of them: at the opening, and then again on May 10th, the gallery’s central column become a kind of maypole for four dancers who looped through a series of movement sequences abstracted from Apple Inc.’s touch screen gestures, BikramChoudhury Yoga Inc. poses, and moves from Balanchine™ Ballet. In the intervening time, the stage around the column has been strewn with freestanding ceramic totems impressed with the positions the body takes during the performance.

At one level, the performance exists as the corollary release to the implicit capture of the body through the licensed systems of movement it borrows from: emancipation through appropriation. The movements are loosed from their various proprietary rationalizations and applications, existing momentarily for and by themselves. And yet the intentionally awkward and repetitive choreography also asks where exactly is this body being released into? Not just a commercial gallery, but, more generally, another regime of representation that may prove to be no less administered.

We are reminded that the original spirit of the folk May Day, like every bacchanal, was not just immediate release but temporary release, too, sanctioned only by its agreement to be defined as an exception. In this way, Lerman’s art is also like the festival: not an outside, but an interval- the moment of the body in mid-air, when the feet have left the ground and not yet returned.
—A.E. Benenson

Immediate Release is curated by Ceren Erdem.
Alexandra Lerman (born 1980, St. Petersburg, Russia) lives and works in New York. Lerman completed her MFA at Columbia University in 2012 and received her BFA from Cooper Union in 2004. Lerman’s individual and collaborative projects have been shown at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, Anthology Film Archived, Austrian Cultural Forum, Artists Space, Janos Gat Gallery, the New Museum in New York, MUSAC in Spain, and the Hermitage in Russia. For 2012-2013, Lerman was a resident at LMCC Workspace Program, New York; in August, 2012 she took part at The Banff Centre Visual Arts Program: 01 The Retreat: A Position of dOCUMENTA (13), Alberta, Canada; from 2014 through 2016 she is taking part in the Open Sessions at the Drawing Center, New York. In 2012 Lerman co-founded Torrance Shipman Gallery, an artist run space in Brooklyn.   

Read More

Transformation 9: Contemporary Works in Ceramics / Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh

Transformation 9: Contemporary Works in Ceramics at Contemporary Craft

Transformation 9: Contemporary Works in Ceramics / Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh
April 25 - November 1, 2014

The Transformation series, one of the Society for Contemporary Craft’s signature programs, was established in 1997 as a biennial juried exhibition focusing on traditional craft media–glass, wood, metal, clay, and found materials–in rotation. The exhibition seeks out an international selection of artists redefining their medium to create work that is challenging and thought provoking; inviting us all to reconsider our notion of “craft.”

This year’s focus is on clay. Clay has been used, decorated, coveted, and collected for thousands of years, yet in the hands of contemporary artists this irresistible medium continues to surprise through innovative techniques, forms, and functions. Visitors are invited to see what happens when makers push the boundaries of time-honored craft materials—right before our eyes, something old is new again.

In conjunction with each Transformation exhibition, the jurors award the participating artist whose work best displays the tenets of excellence and innovation the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize. Named in honor of SCC’s founder, the award is accompanied by a $5000 cash prize.

Transformation 9: Contemporary Works in Ceramics features the work of all 31 of the Raphael Prize finalists, a selection of internationally recognized and emerging artists. The exhibition highlights outstanding and innovative examples of contemporary works in clay, all of which have been created within the last year. The work of three regional artists—Chuck Johnson of Venango, PA, Erica Nickol of Pittsburgh, PA, and Ian Thomas of Slippery Rock, PA—is included in the exhibition.

Linda Swanson of Montreal, Quebec has been selected as the winner of the Society for Contemporary Craft’s (SCC) 2013 Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize competition. Two honorable mention honorees, Lauren Gallaspy of Salt Lake City, UT and Lee Somers of Montevallo, AL, and one merit recipient, Lauren Mabry of Philadelphia, PA, were also announced at the exhibition opening on April 25, 2014.

Swanson’s winning entry, Cypreus Lumen, 2013, is a 20 inch round wall disk made from crystalline glazed porcelain with a painted aluminum rim. The turquoise glaze looks almost liquid with the faintest ripple of movement on the surface. A patch of deep red disrupts the calm in a dynamic swirl of motion. “Processes of change, formation, and dissolution are caught in this crystalline glazed surface,” says Swanson of the piece. “A flow of molten colorants in an optically ambivalent and luminous frozen moment recalls geology as well as biology, and elicits material affinities between the body and the world around us.”

Linda Swanson Ceramics - 2013 Raphael Prize Winner

As the 2013 Raphael Prize winner, Swanson shows several other ceramic works in Transformation 9, each exploring the changing nature of matter. A site-specific installation similar to her piece Osmogenesis (recently seen at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN) was installed in SCC’s main gallery throughout the run of the exhibition. Combining the slow and steady drip of water onto a clay-covered steel surface, the piece is constantly changing. As the water burrows through the clay, the underlying metal surface is exposed in a collection of bubbling craters. Swanson describes the piece as exploring the “interdependence of organism and environment, as well as organism and organism – in which one species is created, or at least sustained, by and through another.”

Born in Los Angeles, CA, Swanson received her B.A. in Art History from University of California Santa Barbara, her B.F.A. in Ceramics from California State University, and her M.F.A. in Ceramics from the School of Art and Design at Alfred University, Alfred, NY. Currently, she lives in Montreal, Canada where she is an Assistant Professor at Concordia University. Swanson’s ceramics have been exhibited in SOFA Chicago with the Lacoste Gallery, Elemental at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, and INFESTATION, a public art installation at the Parcs Canada Lachine Canal Historic Site in Montreal. In 2013, Swanson was named an Emerging Artist by NCECA, the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.

An honorable mention award was given to Lauren Gallaspy for her piece, Giving Up the Ghost, 2014. The startling 16” tall sculpture combines soft, feminine lines with a mass of ceramics shards and strips. Gallaspy received her M.F.A. in Ceramics from Alfred University and has been named a NCECA Emerging Artist. She describes her work as being “about imbalance—the vulnerability of living things— and the sometimes violent, sometimes pleasurable, almost always complex consequences that occur when bodies and objects in the world come into contact with one another.”

A second honorable mention award was presented to Lee Sommers for his work, Scape IV, 2014. Having also received his M.F.A. in Ceramics from Alfred University, his work has been exhibited throughout the United States and China. Known for his distinctive ceramic collages, Sommers explains his process as “a coupling of fleeting notions and physical realities. Collage is a key strategy in both the physical and conceptual organization of my work. Drawing from a variety of sources, ongoing acts of sampling, collecting and cataloging, leads to a critical mass of components. Weaving a matrix of relations between these parts, I find compositional epiphanies - parallels to aesthetic experiences etched in my memory.”

Additionally, the jurors gave a merit award to Lauren Mabry for her piece, Curved Plane, 2013. The artist, a M.F.A. graduate from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, describes her work as “painterly, abstract, ceramic sculpture.”

Lauren Mabry Ceramics at Transformation 9

The jury for the 2013 prize was composed of Joshua Green, Executive Director of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts; Jae Won Lee, a Korean American ceramic artist and Associate Professor at Michigan State University; Alexandra Raphael, enamel artist, London, England; Catherine Raphael, metalsmith and storyteller, Pittsburgh, PA; Kate Lydon, Director of Exhibitions at SCC; and Janet McCall, Executive Director at SCC.

“This prize honors artists who are redefining the boundaries of their media to create work that is challenging and thought-provoking. The strength and recognition of this competition has grown over the past 17 years and continues to challenge our viewers understanding of craft today,” said McCall.

Read More

Jun Kaneko: A Stage for a Shared Dream / Locks Gallery, Philadelphia

Jun Kaneko contemporary ceramics exhibition at Locks Gallery

Jun Kaneko: A Stage for a Shared Dream / Locks Gallery, Philadelphia
May 2-31, 2014

Locks Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of ceramic works by the artist Jun Kaneko, alongside video excerpts of the artist’s opera design for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Stemming from his ongoing concerns regarding spatial relationships and installation, Kaneko has fluidly moved between his sculpture and theater practice. The late art critic Arthur C. Danto applauded Kaneko’s previous opera design (for Madama Butterfly) stating that, “The production unfolds like a shared dream.”

The exhibition highlights the imaginative color palettes along with the bold and organic patterns that have become a creative signature for Kaneko’s interdisciplinary aesthetic. Discussing his glazing process, the artist remarked that, “I start thinking about orchestration of the colors around the work as a whole… sort of like a symphony. Everything has to make an interesting harmony to become one, to be there as one statement.”

With this installation of Kaneko’s Dango (freestanding stele forms) and wall-mounted slab works, a new conversation can begin between the artist’s studio and his contributions to the opera stage. Within the varying forms of his Dangos, their figurative presence is transformed to the theatrical. The exhibition is presented on the occasion of the east coast debut of The Magic Flute at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. alongside an installation of monumental Dangos in the Hall of Nations.

Jun Kaneko (born in Nagoya, Japan) lives and works in Nebraska. The artist has shown extensively in the U.S. since 1964 and has had exhibits in Finland, Norway, Japan, South Korea and Canada. Kaneko’s work is in over fifty museum collections throughout the world including the Arabia Museum, Helsinki, Finland; Detroit Institute of Arts; Los Angeles County Art Museum; Museum of Art and Design, NY; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum; Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 2013, Kaneko’s recent sculptural works were the focus of a large-scale installation in Millennium Park in Chicago.

Kaneko’s design for the opera Fidelio debuted at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia in 2008. The east coast debut of his design for the opera Madama Butterfly became the catalyst for a citywide celebration in Philadelphia with sculptural exhibitions at the Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza, City Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and at Locks Gallery.

Coinciding with the Locks Gallery exhibition is a sculptural installation in the Kennedy Center’s Hall of Nations from April 9th through May 19th, 2014. The Magic Flute— featuring Jun Kaneko’s set, projection, and costume design—will run at the Kennedy Center from May 3rd through the 18th, 2014.

Read More

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.

Read More

Emma Woffenden: Falling Hard / Marsden Woo Gallery, London

Emma Woffenden: Falling Hard at Marsden Woo Gallery, London

Emma Woffenden: Falling Hard / Marsden Woo Gallery, London
May 15 - June 21, 2014

Emma Woffenden continues to explore the figure and the fragmented body in her latest sculpture series, ‘Falling Hard’.

Using a variety of mixed materials including glass, jesmonite, polystyrene, clay and metal, Woffenden creates a discourse around the interconnectivity of the body as a physical and psychological site and the impact of what the body – whole or fragmentary – expresses. The influences of social structures and the dynamics of power relations on the individual imbue her sculpture with a palpable sense of internal conflict.

Interpretation of contradictions and opposites is a pervasive theme in this new series of work; how internal emotional experience is expressed through theexternal action of the figure, the aesthetics of symmetry and asymmetry, the erotic and fetishistic power of religious sculpture, culminating in the unsettling yet exquisite appearance of her sculptures. The dualities Woffenden confronts in the ‘Baby Hammer’ hybrid object - corporeal and material, playful and brutal, fragile and resilient - hint at violence both real and symbolic.

Woffenden’s uncanny forms trespass upon the viewer’s imagination, casting an oblique light on the human condition.

Emma Woffenden (b. 1962) studied at West Surrey College of Art & Design (1981-1984) and the Royal College of Art (1991-1993). She employs a full range of complex glass and mixed media techniques to make works that explore the power of myth and archetypes, and the human condition.
Widely recognised as one of Britain’s leading glass artists, her work is included in a number of international public collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Wellcome Trust and the Crafts Council, London; Ernsting Glass Museum; Broadfield House Glass Museum, West Midlands. Her award winning designs for Transglass can be found in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She was appointed North Lands Creative Glass Artistic Director in October 2013. She lives and works in London and France.

Read More

SCORES: Fujita, Cole & Lopez / Cross MacKenzie Gallery, Washington DC

SCORES: Fujita, Cole & Lopez /at Cross MacKenzie Gallery

SCORES: Fujita, Cole & Lopez / Cross MacKenzie Gallery, Washington DC
May 9-31, 2014

Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present “SCORES” an exhibition of new ceramic sculpture and photographs by three artists whose work is based on repeating dozens or “scores” of elements to create something greater than the sum of their individual parts. Each artist’s work is full of repetitions, multiples, and variations of a seemingly simple form, built up to a greater whole, creating order out of disorder. Together, the pieces are in conversation with one another.

Michael Fujita’s ceramic hand rolled tubes are laid row upon row until a handsome vessel takes form. Glazed in blues and greens, the macaroni-like bowls evoke various visual textures, drawing upon our tactile sensibilities. This is a labor of love, patience, and detail, and it therefore comes as no surprise that the artist experienced carpal tunnel syndrome while building these works. In his previous show at our gallery, Fujita’s repeated element was individually glazed spheres the size of gumballs, each work was multi-colored and looked almost machine-made. His new work, however, differs in its monochromatic palette, and the ragged edges serve to emphasize the handmade aspect of the vessels. Stacked one by one, each tube is completely unique, and the overall effect is of an entity growing organically of its own accord.

Linda Lopez’ ceramic sculptures are also labor intensive. Like Fujita, she becomes entranced in her repetitions and creates rather comical furry shapes that are reminiscent of sea anemones. Her clay teardrops elegantly melt down along the surface and are placed layer upon layer until the entire form is covered as densely as a head of hair. Lately she has extended tendrils from the core opening up her monoliths into the surrounding space, growing outward.

John Cole’s new series of photographs called the “Full Bleed Series” at first glance seem like Washington Color School paintings, Gene Davis-like, made of multiple stripes of color. The fact that these are actually extreme close-up views of the edges of stacked magazines is a delight. By refocusing one’s eyes to take in the tiny scale of the magazine page colored edges, it simultaneously gives us a way of looking at the ceramics. His observations give us a full perspective by both zooming in and zooming out of focus. Each image is made of scores of pages, not only filling the frame of the photograph, but also continuing past the edge of the frame, implying an endlessly repeating pile of magazines.

Read More

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.

Read More

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

image

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Hannah Wilke: Sculpture 1960s-’80s / Alison Jacques Gallery, London

Hannah Wilke: Sculpture 1960s-’80s at Alison Jacques Gallery, London

Hannah Wilke: Sculpture 1960s-’80s / Alison Jacques Gallery, London
April 24 - May 29, 2014

Alison Jacques is proud to present its fourth solo exhibition of the late American artist Hannah Wilke (1940 – 1993). For this show, the focus is on Wilke’s sculpture from her early terracotta works of the ‘60s through to the more richly coloured installations of the ‘80s. The show also encompasses the theme of her body as sculpture seen in performative photographs as well as drawings from the ‘60s and ‘70s which either refer to her sculptures or demonstrate a visceral physicality that feels completely in dialogue with her sculptural practice.

The gallery has worked in partnership with The Hannah Wilke Collection & Archive, Los Angeles, who have enabled us to assemble a succinct survey of iconic and lesser-known works which shed light on the many aspects of Wilke’s sculptural vocabulary. One of her earliest and most important sculptures That Fills Earth, (1965) is an earthy terracotta cube opening into organic forms. By pairing this explicit symbol of Modernism: the cube, with quasi-Metaphysical essentialism, Wilke demonstrates an idea of the “Modern Woman” – deconstructing a complicated living being into an ostensibly simplistic material form.

The show continues with a survey of sculptures that have been widely identified by scholars but rarely seen in public – from a trio of bronze sculptures, Athens (1979) to examples of her Generation Process Series grid groups from the mid-1980s. In each of the latter, Wilke placed hand-painted ceramic sculptures in geometric arrangements across painted boards, employing colour, pattern and her signature folded-gesture forms to both acknowledge and subvert her male contemporaries’ obsession with the mathematics of grid systems.

The main focus of the show is Wilke’s choice of materials and what they represent. In the exhibition catalogue to accompany Gestures, the most comprehensive survey of Wilke sculpture to date (Neuberger Museum, New York, 2008), the curator Tracy Fitzpatrick states:
“Wilke’s practice is rooted in her devotion to malleability and her interest in vulnerability. Throughout her career she created art from unusual materials, plastic and fragile in composition, and then placed these objects in compromising situations – hinged with pins or glued to walls and boards, placed freely on the floor, always seemingly on the verge of disaster, always questioning: Will it fall? Will it crack? This vulnerability, so much a part of Wilke’s work, is also carefully constructed strategy, perilous but orchestrated by the artist. The combination of these seemingly opposing forces creates a unique tension throughout her artistic production.”

An area of Wilke’s work, which is shown here in depth, are the kneaded erasers series from the 1970s, in which Wilke used simple everyday grey colour erasers and adapted this material into an entire series of work. Wilke placed her kneaded erasers, moulded into little gestural folded forms, onto various surfaces including boards on plinths but also everyday utensils such as Fork and Spoon (1974) and vintage postcards including Sea Wall (1975), and The Beach, The Pines, Cotuits, Mass (1977).  Other materials including Wilke’s signature chewing gum are present in the show, from photographs which make up the iconic SOS series to her lesser known large-scale photographic work called California Series where Wilke photographed her gum sculptures outdoors attached to foliage and flowers.

Earlier this year, The Guardian newspaper described Hannah Wilke as “one of the most subversive women artists in history”. Throughout this exhibition, in whatever medium her sculptural forms reside, we are constantly reminded that Wilke saw no contradiction between creating pioneering, confrontational works that helped redefine the extent of feminist activism, whilst creating aesthetically pleasing forms. Wilke was an unapologetic aesthete, stating in an interview with Lil Picard in 1973: “The concept of the disagreeable object had offended me, and I decided to make ‘agreeable objects’. I don’t feel happy on any level with disagreeable forms – I love beautiful things”.

Read More

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).

Read More