Graciela Olio Ceramics: Proyecto Sur, Serie Home (Project South, Home Series), 2011, Porcelain sheet (Keraflex) print with laser decal on raw sheet before handbuilding, all 30x20x0,8 cm.
Graciela Olio Ceramics: Proyecto Sur, Serie Home (Project South, Home Series), 2010, Porcelain sheet (Keraflex) print with photoceramic (gum bichromate process), Printing directly on raw sheet before handbuilding, 15x10x12 cm. Photo by Hernán Cédola.
Graciela Olio: Proyecto Sur, Serie Home (Project South, Home Series), 2011, Porcelain sheet (Keraflex) print with photoceramic (gum bichromate process), Printing directly on raw sheet before handbuilding, both 15x10x12 cm.
Alexis Rago: Chaos Contained / Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, UK
January 7 - March 1, 2014
The National Centre for Craft & Design confirms that Alexis Rago: Chaos Contained will begin its life as a touring show in Farnham. Originally curated by Laura Mabbutt for the NCCD, the exhibition opens at the Crafts Study Centre on 7 January 2014 continuing until 1 March. Touring Manager, Liz Cooper says “During its 70 day run at NCCD, over 4,600 people of all ages viewed Chaos Contained, making it one of the most successful exhibitions we have held in our Roof Gallery. We hope to repeat that success in Farnham.”
Alexis Rago worked as a biologist and his artwork is inspired by the Cambrian explosion, when diverse life forms rapidly evolved. He hand crafts his sculptures, allowing them to take shape while he works, and incorporating the imperfections characteristic of work created by the human hand. For Chaos Contained, Rago created brand new, technically challenging, large scale ceramic works,with integrated media, such as digital sound and projected imagery. Avideo of Rago describing the work as he createdit explains his thoughts, creative processes and techniques.
The exhibition has received critical acclaim, with the New Scientist describing it as “Beautiful Biology, pure fantasy, a collection of intricate, totem-like clay sculptures that look as if they are made from natural organisms”. Elements from the exhibition formed a key part of the Frequency Digital Festival, which took place in Lincoln in October 2013.
Public praise for Chaos Contained, captured in the gallery comment book, includes “serene, elegant, fascinating and wonderful”, “Beautiful, life-affirming – a delight”, and “Superb! Biologist myself – love the forms”. It has inspired art students to take up clay work and children to complete wonderment: “antastic, my little girl was mesmerised and spent time considering how they [the forms] stand up, she is only seven”.
The National Centre for Craft & Design is a unique and ambitious gallery that seeks to exhibit the most innovative, challenging and accomplished artists practicing within the craft and design arena today. Under one roof, the NCCD has five galleries dedicated to the exhibition, celebration and promotion of national and international craft and design. The NCCD is committed to creating exhibitions that can be seen by as many people as possible. Through its touring programme, the NCCD works with some of the UK’s leading galleries and museums.
Body and Soul: New International Ceramics / MAD Museum, New York
September 24, 2013 - March 2, 2014
In recent years, the human figure has returned to center stage in the work of artists around the world. Body & Soul: New International Ceramics underscores the power of the figure to convey strong emotions, and also to the accessibility of the ceramic medium. Through clay the figure becomes the catalyst for addressing the emotional impact of contemporary pressures that confront our society today. Each work, inspired by a personal incident or symbolic tale, expresses a deep emotional identity, contrasting societal, political, and personal views on themes such as anxiety, bias, mortality and memory.
The exhibition will highlight approximately 25 international artists who came to clay as painters, draughtsmen, or sculptors. Many are being shown for the first time in the United States. The range and quality of the works will make this exhibition engaging and provocative, and will bring this special area of creativity into a much-deserved focus.
“The artist with a social conscience who models in clay strives to capture an immediacy and a passion through tactile manipulation. With a focused purpose, he or she creates a specific message of historical or current concern, giving voice to a cause,” said Guest Curator Wendy Tarlow Kaplan. “Body & Soul underscores the ability of the human form to convey intense emotions, and we feel privileged to bring this important work together for the first time, and to address the human condition with raw power and pathos.”
“From ancient Greece through the Etruscans and Romans to the Renaissance and, ultimately, to the twenty-first century, clay has remained a powerful and immediate way of expressing ideas,” added David Revere McFadden, William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator, Museum of Arts and Design. “Since 1956, when the Museum of Arts and Design opened in its first manifestation as the Museum of Contemporary Craft, we have underscored our commitment to ceramics in general, and ceramic sculpture in particular. The MAD collections include landmark works by such luminaries as Robert Arneson and Viola Frey, both of whom concentrated their vision on the human figure and its perpetually evolving nature. Body and Soul: New International Ceramics is the latest manifestation of how the humble and quotidian material born of the earth itself once again claims center stage in contemporary art.”
This exhibition is organized and curated by Wendy Tarlow Kaplan with the advisement of Laurent de Verneuil, Martin S. Kaplan, and by David McFadden, William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design.
Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics and Bamboo Art / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics and Bamboo Art / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
November 12, 2013 - September 8, 2014
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), presents Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics and Bamboo Art, an exhibition that highlights the meticulous craftsmanship and highly creative sculptural forms of Japanese decorative arts. Among the first exhibitions to present contemporary ceramics alongside baskets, Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo offers an in-depth look at 60 objects created by dozens of leading artists based in Japan. Drawn from a recent gift of Stanley and Mary Ann Snider of more than 90 pieces spanning the late 20th and early 21st centuries, many of the works are on view for the first time at the Museum. Enhanced with a selection of contemporary textiles, screens and paper panels, the exhibition is open through September 8, 2014 in the Japanese Decorative Arts Gallery and is accompanied by an illustrated publication.
“Several years ago, Stanley Snider challenged the Museum to become a center for contemporary Japanese decorative arts,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “Through the generous gift that he and Mary Ann made in 2012, and the infectious enthusiasm that they have conveyed to others, we are now well on our way to achieving that goal.”
During the late 19th century and into the 20th century, ceramics and bamboo arts in Japan evolved from traditional crafts into modern art forms, as those who produced them evolved from craftspeople into artists. As modernization continued, a new generation of artists began to assume creative control over the works they produced, creating unique pieces with their own hands, based on their own ideas. Creativity—rather than mere technical excellence—became the standard for an artist’s work. In Basket with bamboo-root handle (1930s), for example, Maeda Chikubōsai demonstrates an early example of bamboo art as a form of personal expression.
“The MFA has been at the forefront of promoting contemporary Japanese decorative arts for many years,” said Anne Nishimura Morse, William and Helen Pounds Senior Curator of Japanese Art at the MFA. “These works have attracted new audiences from around the globe in the last decade, and this exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to continue our long history of cultural exchange with Japan.”
This exhibition is generously supported by the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Exhibition Fund.
In the years following World War II, avant-garde clay artists in Japan declared that their work no longer had to take the form of traditional vessels. Many of these artists maintained respect for ancient methods and aesthetics, while embracing the non-functionality of their ceramics. Akiyama Yō intentionally exploited deformations that would be considered defects in commercial products with Untitled MV-1019 (2010), which purposely employs cracks in the clay to provide a weathered effect. Fukami Sueharu––who brought Japanese ceramic arts global attention––also adopted inventive approaches to traditional techniques. His The Moment (Shun) (1998) is a keenly edged abstract work of porcelain that slices through space like a knife.
Recently, international praise has centered on pioneering female ceramists. Until the postwar era, virtually no women in Japan were ceramic artists; men feared that the presence of women would pollute their kilns. Koike Shōko was one of the first female graduates of the ceramic department at Tokyo National University of the Arts. Her shell-shaped vessels, such as Shell 95 (1995), were first thrown on a wheel and then sculpted from the clay of the Shigaraki region. Whereas traditional Shigaraki vessels are left unglazed, Koike applies layers of white slip (liquefied clay) to the surface. Sakurai Yasuko, also among the first women to work with clay on a university campus, plays with forms that make the viewer aware of light and shadow in Vertical Flower (2007).
Betty Woodman: CONTRO VERSIES CONTRO VERSIA / Gallery Diet, Miami
an inaccurate history of painting and ceramics
December 2, 2013 - January 1, 2014
Gallery Diet is delighted to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Betty Woodman: CONTRO VERSIES CONTRO VERSIA an inaccurate history of painting and ceramics. The exhibition, which opens December 2nd, 2013, gathers a body of 2D and 3D works produced over the past two years that continue Woodman’s evolving relationship with painting, the vase, and the history of ceramics. Over the past several years, the resurgence in ceramics, craft aesthetic, and abstraction has led audiences to earlier generations of practitioners. Often credited as the “godmother of American ceramics,” Woodman is considered one of the pioneers in bringing the vase out of the craft world and into the realm of high art. As Peter Schjeldahl wrote of Woodman’s solo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “she is beyond original, all the way to sui generis. She has been well known in art circles since the 1970s, when her work was associated (incorrectly but advantageously, given the art world’s chronic disdain for anything that smacks of ‘craft’) with a briefly fashionable movement called Pattern and Decoration.” Since 1948, when she entered Alfred University’s ceramics program, Woodman has been pushing the boundaries of sculpture and form. This will be her second exhibition at Gallery Diet in Miami, Florida. Her work “Aztec Vase,” recently acquired by the Pérez Art Museum Miami, is also part of the inaugural permanent collections exhibition at the PAMM.
Born in 1930, Betty Woodman is an American artist living and working between New York City and Antella, Italy. Her work is represented by numerous galleries around the world including Gallery Diet, Salon 94, Francesca Pia, and Isabella Bortolozzi. Her works are part of prestigious public and private collections such as The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Denver Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art New York, National Gallery of Art, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Most recently her large scale installation Alessandro’s Room was exhibited as part of Unlimited in Art Basel 2013.
Exhibiting artists: Brent Rogers, Alex Trommler, Aaron Wolf-Boze, Eric Bladholm, Nikki Renee Anderson, Robert Pulley, Michael Janis, Xavier Monsalvatje, Yuriy Musatov, Anna Lypko.
As a Danish ceramic artist, do you consider the living climate an important influence in your work?
I think it’s fair to say that my works have a certain Nordic nature component. Danish nature is not wild and magnificent – more one that offers quiet experiences: a misty morning over the ploughed fields; an old, dead tree; rainy weather that starts as dark streaks on the horizon; the weather clearing up after rain. Danish weather is changeable and often a cold, clammy affair, but this makes one more keenly aware of the light and small shifts in nuance.
Your work have been described as highly experimental. From the slip-cast rigorous design to the hand-built structures, you have been experimenting different body of works over the years. How do you find yourself shifting subjects and manners? Is it a continuous change?
I have never personally felt that I undertook dramatic shifts. I see my work as an on-going development, where one thing leads to the next. I will never completely finish – fortunately. While working, new ideas emerge that have to be tested. One could say that the experiments themselves ask the next questions. Ceramics has so many possibilities, and I like challenging the material and myself.
Portrait of Bente Skjøttgaard, 2010, Photo: Ole Akhøj
What influences and inspires you the most in your creation? How would you describe your current body of work?
With my background as a ceramist I nearly always have my point of departure in an idea to do with material or form. This can, for example, be new form expressions achieved by special compositions, or through cuts or glazing experiments that result in strange surfaces and textures. I often gain inspiration from nature’s formal principles and phenomena. Work takes place systematically and always on the premises of the ceramic material, but the investigations often develop into something that is reminiscent of large, amorphous nature-abstractions, with plenty of glaze. The fantastic thing about clay is that what is nature’s own material can constantly be transformed into something new and relevant.
Delicacy and sensitivity are two powerful characteristics of your work. How much do you rely on intuition and how much on unpredictability?
I make use of both in my work. Ceramics has an innate unpredictability, especially because it is out of one’s hands during the firing at high temperatures. This unpredictability is a challenging co-partner and opponent. All the time, one gets something more or less intentional for free, and from there one has to decide if and how it can be used. My intuition has probably been honed by many years’ experience of this process.
Besides a very playful approach in manipulating clay, you ingeniously use colors and assets of glazes in your work. Tell us more about the importance of color and its use in your creations.
Previously, I was mainly interested in the ability of glazes to interact and behave differently, according to the thicknesses involved. At my ‘Interglacial Period’ exhibition in Galleri Nørby in 2005, it was mainly green/turquoise, because copper is very good at producing that sort of thing. Then came the exhibition ‘Elements in White’ at Galerie Maria Lund in Paris in 2008, where I almost washed the slate clean and experimented with various textures within white glaze.
It was not until the more recent works ‘Clouds’ that I seriously explored selecting more precise colours. Here I have thought more in psychedelic colours, the colours of the sky, sunrise, violet, pink and yellow. It has been interesting to include these more ‘un-ceramic’ colours.
You are one of the initiators and directors of the Copenhagen Ceramics platform. How did this project start? Tell us more about the objectives of this new Danish movement.
The project Copenhagen Ceramics has been implemented by the ceramic artists Steen Ipsen, Bente Skjøttgaard and Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl, based on having noted that there was no longer any exhibition venue in Copenhagen where the best of the great diversity of ceramic expression existing in Denmark could be shown and experienced ‘live’. Another important aspect of the project is the Internet platform www.copenhagenceramics.com, which we wish to use to disseminate knowledge of Danish ceramics internationally.
We have planned the 10 exhibitions for 2012: 4 solo exhibitions, 5 two-man exhibitions and a single group exhibition with six of the best ceramic artists from the younger generation. The individual artists have been selected and linked together in new constellations that enable completely new artistic facets in all of them to emerge – also among those already more established.
Graciela Olio: Proyecto Sur, Serie Home (Project South, Home Series), 2010, Porcelain sheet (Keraflex) print with photoceramic (gum bichromate process), Printing directly on raw sheet before handbuilding, 15x15x15 cm. Photo by Hernán Cédola.
Graciela Olio: Proyecto Sur, Serie Home (Project South, Home Series), 2011, Porcelain sheet (Keraflex) print with laser decal on raw sheet before handbuilding, Acrylic box with led light, 50x25x20 cm. Photos by Martín García Olivares.
Graciela Olio: Proyecto Sur, Serie Home (Project South, Home Series), 2010, Porcelain sheet (Keraflex) print with photoceramic (gum bichromate process), Printing directly on raw sheet before handbuilding, 10x10x12 cm. Photo by Hernán Cédola.