Month in Review: February 2014

Month in Review, February 2014 at Ceramics Now

Hello friends. Welcome to Month in Review, a summary of the last month of activity here at Ceramics Now.
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Exhibition galleries
Jun Kaneko: Black & White at Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona
Lynda Benglis at Cheim & Read Gallery, New York
William O’Brien: The Lovers at Almine Rech Gallery, Paris
Şirin Koçak at Kuğulu Art Gallery, Ankara, Turkey
Mixed Display 2014 at Marsden Woo Gallery, London

Exhibitions
Gunhild Rudjord and Nils Erik Gjerdevik / Copenhagen Ceramics, Denmark
Gail Goldsmith: Everyday Weapons / William Holman Gallery, New York
Klara Kristalova: Underworld / Galerie Perrotin, New York
Modern and Contemporary Ceramics: Anita Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo Collection / Boise Art Museum, Idaho
Beyond Craft: Decorative Arts from the Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Rose Cabat at 100: A Retrospective Exhibition of Ceramics / Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona
EPURE by Daniela Schlagenhauf & Nathalie Jover / Les Ateliers galerie de L’Ô, Bruxelles
Johan Tahon: Albarelli for all sores / Valerie Traan Gallery, Antwerp
Jun Kaneko: Black & White / Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona
Best Kept Secret: The Scripps College Ceramic Collection / American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California
Lynda Benglis / Cheim & Read Gallery, New York
Dark Light: The Micaceous Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorse / Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
Şirin Koçak / Kuğulu Art Gallery, Ankara, Turkey
William J. O’Brien: The Lovers / Almine Rech Gallery, Paris
Anders Ruhwald and Matt Ziemke / The Clay Studio, Philadelphia
Yeesookyung: The Meaning of Time / Locks Gallery, Philadelphia
Anne Wenzel: The Opaque Palace / TENT Rotterdam
James Tower / Erskine, Hall & Coe Gallery, London
Simon Fujiwara / Contemporary Art Society, London
Sculpture 2014 / Brenda May Gallery, Sydney

Ceramics Now Magazine announces open Call for Papers (Issue 3)

Ceramics Now Magazine announces open Call for Papers, Issue 3

Ceramics Now Magazine is pleased to announce an open Call for Papers, for consideration in Issue 3
Deadline for submissions: March 7, 2014

We welcome contemporary ceramics-related research papers that are lively and engaged with current ideas and debates. The call for papers is open to any author, and any original text involving ceramic art criticism, history or theory will be considered for publication. We would also welcome all submissions that enter the following categories: exhibition, book or project reviews, and conversations.

Submissions (.docx or .doc files) should be emailed to Vasi Hirdo, Editor-in-Chief, at vasi@ceramicsnow.org
Also include your CV and a brief biography.

Accepted articles will be published in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue 3. All credit will be given to the writers, and the articles will be promoted to our readers through Ceramics Now’s website and social media pages. Please note that publishing with Ceramics Now is done on a voluntary basis and will not be remunerated.

Image © Arina Ailincai

Interview with Bente Skjøttgaard

Interview with Bente Skjøttgaard / Featured now
By Andra Baban
Published in Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

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.

Bente Skjottgaard Ceramics

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.

Bente Skjottgaard Danish Ceramics - Purple white cloud

Bente Skjøttgaard: Purple white cloud no 1002, 2010, Stoneware and glaze, hand built, 37 x 55 x 27 cm. Photo: Ole Akhøj
View more works by Bente Skjøttgaard

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.

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Interview with ceramic artist Ken Eastman

Interview with Ken Eastman / Featured now
By Ileana Surducan
Published in Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

Ken Eastman’s work is on the cover of Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

Why did you choose the vessel as the central element of your art? Was there a transition from functional vessels to sculptural ones?

I have been working in ceramics continually since 1980. There have been periods when I have moved away from the vessel, but really it has been at the core of my work for most of the time since then. I do not make functional pots, but rather use the vessel as a subject - to give meaning and form to an expression. For a long time now I have realized that my overriding interest is making new coloured clay forms. This seems for me to be the essence of pottery- to make shapes which occupy and contain space and to decorate those shapes. By decorate, I mean to paint slip or glaze, to draw, to make image or line across the skin of the clay.

Ken Eastman Ceramics

Ken Eastman: For all we know, 2010, Stoneware with painted coloured slips and oxides, 43x31x37 cm.

Does your creative process start from a certain image in your mind, or do you seek for inspiration as you progress?

I have always made things - at first out of Lego and wood and for a long time now, using clay. Working on how to approach creating, so that I can go to work every day and explore shape and colour and move forwards, is always hard. The breadth of ceramic possibilities means that to make any progress it is necessary to build up some strict limitations. I use writing and drawing to approach the spirit of a piece of work, but I do not draw an ‘architectural plan’ of the piece that I am about to make: ideas that work in two dimensions are often different from those that are successful in three dimensions. Also, if I knew exactly what I was going to make before I started work in clay, there would be little room left for the play and invention that is an essential part of creative work. A large part of the reason for making is to see things which I have never seen before - to build something which I am excited about and wish to show and share with others. So I try not to plan anything except roughly how to proceed within my imposed limitations.

Tell us about the slab building technique that you use. What are the challenges that you encounter and the skills that it requires?

I roll out slabs of white stoneware clay by hand with a wooden rolling pin. Most of the rolling is bashing the clay flat and the rolling smoothens the material towards the end of the process. From the moment I start rolling out slabs I have to start making decisions - not what the piece will look like, which will in time become clear, but the details - how wide, how long, how thin or thick the slab, choices which determine shape. The objects which I make are clearly defined, they have drawn ground plans, smooth walls and clear edges, but this resolution emerges slowly. There are certain curves and curlings which a thin slab can manage better than a thicker one, but sometimes it’s the soft fatness of a rim or the weight of a piece which is more important.

Colour is an important part of your work. How do you see the interaction between colour and volume?

As soon as possible in the making process, I begin to make marks on the surface with coloured slips and oxides, whilst the clay is still quite wet. I paint on numerous layers of colour, firing the work repeatedly. I apply it in response to three dimensional form and it is in this way I paint the surface in order to explore and make sense of what I have made. I don’t know what colour I want a piece to be until I find it by working - building up layers of colour can often feel more like a stripping away to reveal what was meant. I am interested in the relationship between colour, the illusionistic space of a surface and actual space. This relationship is a complex one - as well as inhabiting the 2 dimensional space on a curving plane of clay, colour can, in a sense fill the actual 3 dimensional space of the vessel itself. Glen Brown in writing about my work said that colour becomes “volumetric, contained, like real space itself, by the vessel walls rather than merely carried on them: it becomes a fundamental content of the work rather than a superficial aspect of it.”

Today’s contemporary art puts a lot of emphasis on dynamics and interactivity. In this context, what is the merit of an art work that encourages contemplation as an aesthetic experience?

Being a static artwork does not exempt it from being dynamic or profound. Art work which is three dimensional demands that the viewer moves around the work and becomes involved in order to experience it and to contemplate it, which is of course a truly dynamic and interactive experience.

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7 Ceramic Art Competitions and Fairs Where You Should Participate in 2014

Ceramics Now comprised a list of 7 ceramic art competitions and fairs where artists can apply to participate in 2014. Be quick, the deadlines are approaching fast!


1. INTERNATIONAL CERAMICS COMPETITION MINO, JAPAN

The competition is the main event of the International Ceramics Festival Mino, which is held with the aim of supporting growth of the ceramics industry and the enhancement of culture through global exchange of ceramics design and culture. The first festival was held in 1986, and this will be the 10th edition. The last edition gathered 2777 entries from 57 countries. It is considered the largest event in the world entirely dedicated to contemporary ceramics. Read more

Apply online / Download application procedures / Application form: Individual or Company

Deadline: January 10, 2014 / Dates: September 12 - October 19, 2014
Total prizes: ~ USD 130.000 / No entry fee
Entry categories: Ceramics Design, Ceramic Arts


2. INTERNATIONAL CERAMICS FAIR OLDENBURG, GERMANY

Situated around the noble Schloss in the city-center of Oldenburg, the International Ceramic Fair which includes a ceramic market, presentation of professional prizes, special exhibits and artist showcases. The fair ensures that collectors and enthusiasts alike are offered an exquisite range of works from artistic creations to high-quality tableware. Based upon strict criteria a jury of professionals within the field chooses over a hundred workshops and ceramic artists to present their current work. This event attracts more than 60.000 visitors annually. Read more

Download application procedures and terms / Application form

Deadline: January 11, 2014 / Dates: August 2-3, 2014
Entry fee: EUR 240 (includes 3x3 meters stand)


3. CLAY? V EXHIBITION, UNITED STATES

The fifth installment of Kirkland Arts Center’s biennial contemporary ceramics exhibition, Clay? V, is juried by University of Washington, School of Art Professors Doug Jeck, Jamie Walker, and Akio Takamori. Clay? V explores the versatility of clay as a medium of artistic expression. Showcasing a range of sizes, scales, subject matter, and techniques, the artwork of this exhibition is both a testament to the enduring legacy of clay and future of the field.

Read more / Apply online

Deadline: January 17, 2014 / Dates: March 21 - May 17, 2014
Entry fee: USD 25


4. WESTERWALD PRIZE 2014 - EUROPEAN CERAMICS, GERMANY
Competition open only to European citizens.

The Westerwald Prize was first awarded in 1973 to present outstanding ceramic art and craft work in the framework of a competition and exhibition at the Keramikmuseum Westerwald (KMW). This remains a priority of the administration of the Westerwald region for the 13th Westerwald Prize in 2014. A further aim is to promote the dialogue between ceramics and art in the region and to support cultural exchange within Europe.

Download application procedures and form

Deadline: January 19, 2014 / Dates: September 26, 2014 - February 1, 2015
Total prizes: EUR 24.000 / No entry fee
Entry categories: Saltglaze (stoneware and porcelain), Design (serially produced ware), Vessel / Form / Decor, Sculpture / Installation, Talent Award (below 35 years old)


5. INTERNATIONAL BIENNIAL OF VALLAURIS, FRANCE
Competition open only to European Union citizens.

Since 1966 the Town of Vallauris Golfe-Juan has organised a biennial with the aim of promoting and rewarding artistic creation in the field of ceramics. For this edition, it has been decided to use the expression ‘Contemporary Creation and Ceramic’ to stress its intention of making ceramic creation part of the world of contemporary art. The competition is intended to encourage and publicise European talents using the reputation of Vallauris, the town of ceramics, as a springboard facilitating their recognition around the world.

Apply online / Download application procedures / Application form

Deadline: December 30, 2013 / Dates: July - November 2014
Total prizes: EUR 25.000 / No entry fee
Note: You first have to apply online, then to send the required documents by mail (post).

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Interview with David D. Gilbaugh (The Tectonic Method)

David D. Gilbaugh (The Tectonic Method)
Author: Ileana Surducan
Category: Techniques
Published in Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

The objects you create realistically mimic the texture and look of wood stumps, roots and branches. What is your connection with this natural element, and why did you choose to investigate it in ceramics?

Human emergence is the overarching theme of my sculptural work; as metaphors for that I use the aging tree as well as the natural land features of the earth. My life connection with trees and land extends from childhood when I remember exploring the woods and mountains of Colorado with my older brother and friends. Today I continue my fascination and exploration with the woods and mountains here in Southern California, where I live a short walk from the local foot trails of the San Gabriel Mountains. Ceramics is the most appropriate medium for me because clay seems to know what I want and interacts with me in a very agreeable way. The characteristics and behavior of clay seems to have a common goal with me as if it wants to behave in a way that yields a pleasing result. Clay naturally takes on the characteristics of wood and earth.

David D. Gilbaugh Ceramics - Interview for Ceramics Now Magazine

David D. Gilbaugh: Racemosa, 2011, sculpted teapot, 4”(W) x 11”(H) x 8”(D), hand-built slab, B-mix stoneware paper clay with grog, cone 10 reduction, black stain brushed in crevices, water washed iron and rutile stain. Permanent collection of the American Museum of Ceramic Arts.
View more works of David Gilbaugh


In order to make your work, you use a special process called the Tectonic Method. Tell us more about this technique. How did you develop it and what are its characteristics?

The Tectonic Method is a sculptural technique that utilizes the same tectonic forces that shape and texture the surface of the earth’s crust. These forces include stretching, compressing, and twisting. I begin with an idea of the sculptural object I am going to make and the pieces that will make it up. I then cut a piece of clay from the block that is roughly in the shape of what I want. I then use specialized wire hand tools to pre-texture what will be the visible surface. Next, I “naturalize” the pre-textured clay by tossing, slamming, or dropping the clay against the table top in a way that distorts the tooling of the pre-textured surface. The textured surface is not touched by the hand or tools from then on. The result is a dramatically textured form that is very natural looking. I call this a “tectonic form.” I then use specialized techniques to join together numerous tectonic forms to create a “Tectonic Sculpture” like “The Imaginist” or “The Bearded Ghoul.”

Early in my ceramic studies I began developing The Tectonic Method when I was laying them out on the table top to stretch them out. I could see that stretching clay gave it beautiful patterns of cracks and fissures. I soon discovered that cutting the surface of the clay before stretching it resulted in natural patterns that are easy to reproduce and incorporate into sculptures. The method developed very quickly from there. Since those early experiences stretching clay I have found numerous applications by other ceramists who used stretching as a texturing technique and even a throwing tool designed to apply patterns to vessels thrown on the wheel called the “Steve’s Tool.” A bit of research reveals that stretching clay to achieve decorative textures in clay is a very old tradition. What distinguishes the Tectonic Method from other stretching methods is that it includes specialized techniques for pre-texturing the clay, numerous tossing methods for naturalizing textures, and construction methods for building large clay sculptures that can be prone to slumping to the side during firing. The Tectonic Method is a start-to-finish method of forming and constructing both small and large clay “Tectonic Sculptures.”


Many of your objects are made from paperclay. What are the paperclay’s properties and why did you choose to work with it?

Paperclay is extremely versatile clay that works well with my purposes, especially the Tectonic Method. It remains workable even when it is dry. At bone dry it can be drilled, sawed, and even rewetted. Many ceramists try paperclay and find it difficult to use so they go back to what they were doing. This is unfortunate, and I believe it is because it is the change itself that is the real challenge, not the clay. Paperclay is not difficult to work with at all; it is only different and takes getting used to. Before I began throwing with porcelain I was told it was much more difficult than stoneware to throw. However, it is not more difficult, it is only different in its properties, so the artists must be able to adapt their skills and learn new ones to work with it successfully. I also find paperclay is more economical because it can be very easily reconstituted and go from dry to plastic overnight. If a piece is broken it can be reattached even if it is dry - instead of going in the trash, and the list goes on. However, the primary reason I use it is because of the dramatic textures it produces when it is “pre-textured” and stretched.

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Ceramics Now Magazine launches Issue 2

Ceramics Now Magazine launches Issue 2

Ceramics Now has the pleasure to invite you to the launch of Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue 2, March 29, from 6 PM, at The Paintbrush Factory (First Floor), Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Issue Two introduces the work of over 35 international artists, beginning with Ken Eastman, Kimberly Cook, Patricia Sannit, Marianne McGrath, Annie Woodford, Suzanne Stumpf or Ruth Power, and continuing with a special feature on Romanian ceramic artists, and a preview feature for Copenhagen Ceramics gallery. The issue also inaugurates the magazines’ new review category.

Ceramics Now’s goal is to make contemporary ceramics a more visible art field through editing publications and organizing exhibitions, workshops and lectures. The online platform and the magazine unites artists from different communities and facilitates idea exchange between them and the public.

The magazine is distributed in a network of libraries, galleries and institutions all over the world and can be bought online for $15. Ceramics Now is a non-profit organization created by a team of artists and students in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

The Paintbrush Factory is a contemporary art space located at 59-61 Henri Barbusse street.

Read more about the magazine / Download press release / Facebook event

Editorial - Issue 2, 2013

Although the number of contemporary ceramic artists is relatively small, the capacity of ceramics to encompass a broad range of concepts, techniques, and materials in comparison with other arts is surprisingly big. In this issue, as well as in our first, we present artists who work with different materials and techniques, but more importantly, each of them displays a distinct idea, a little hint of what he and his passion are made of. Through the interviews and articles we have included, we want at least a part of the artists’ ideas to be ridden, passed along, and to contribute to the advancement of contemporary ceramics.

While being creative in a field as diverse as contemporary art, it is almost impossible not to draw parallels between your work and someone else’s which was probably created in a media different from the one you use. This happens inevitably, and in my opinion, it always has a purpose – either predefined or not. Even if a parallel is found, each artistic endeavor has its own origin and, at least for the creator, a unique purpose. A new level is reached when the uniqueness of the artistic initiative is recognized and supported by an entire community.

Over the past year, Ceramics Now has become the largest online art platform dedicated to contemporary ceramics, and recently we have opened promotion to artists and galleries worldwide by application. This effort resulted from the wish to offer artists a platform to express themselves, but also from the desire to establish an accessible resource for everyone wanting to research and be inspired by contemporary ceramics. Since the launch of the first issue, we have been cited as a reference by numerous universities and colleges in the United States and Europe. This step was incredibly important for us because it has proven the value of the project and has kept us working hard. Although the current issue was published later than originally planned, what is important is that all the resources we gathered through this process have already traveled the internet in the meantime, creating a powerful community around us.

Our next goal is to become even more active in promoting contemporary ceramics on an international scale. Even though we have already organized four international exhibitions, with two being prepared for this year, all of these events so far have been held in Romania. In addition to inviting foreign artists to our beautiful country, we want to visit artists in their home countries and to organize events in as many places as possible for as many artists as possible. Key to our success will be greater financial stability and transitioning to full-time staffing of this project. It is a big step that can be possible with growing support from our readers. (An act of patronage has infinitely more value than a purchase.)

Vasi Hîrdo
Editor at Ceramics Now

vasi@ceramicsnow.org

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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

Ceramics Now Magazine has some treats for you! Our new package for digital subscriptions + Digital Issue One for FREE. Check our offers below.

Digital Subscription (10 issues) - Ceramics Now Magazine

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.

What’s in a New Digital Issue:
~ 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.

Read more about Ceramics Now / Ceramic artists list
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter & subscribe to our free monthly newsletter. Contact: office@ceramicsnow.org

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