The Open West 2012 Award Winners exhibition / Gardens Gallery, Cheltenham, UK

The Open West 2012 Award Winners exhibition Cheltenham

The Open West 2012 Award Winners exhibition / Gardens Gallery, Cheltenham, UK
November 15-20, 2012

Private view: Thursday, November 15, 6 pm.

Artists: James P. Graham, Haruka Miyamoto, Koji Shiraya.

Following the open west’s acclaimed exhibition at Gloucester Cathedral earlier this year, curators Lyn Cluer Coleman and Sarah Goodwin are now presenting an exhibition of the three award winners, James P Graham (University of Gloucestershire Award) Haruka Miyamoto (Ecotricity Award) and Koji Shiraya (Curators Award).
This year’s award winning artists are connected by their concerns for the environment, showing acute awareness of the origins of the materials they use, from base metals to volcanic rock, leather, waste rubber and plastic, porcelain and feldspar.

James P Graham lives and works in Italy and London and exhibits internationally. Originally trained in film and photography, James’ recent sculptural work is informed by landscape and nature. His new sculpture, Golden Cage, coming to Cheltenham directly from the Chelsea Physic Garden, uses volcanic rocks from the active crater on Stromboli, which have been wound and suspended with gold thread. The work “symbolises man’s attempts to imprison and control nature,” (CNN, Eco Solutions, 20.7.12).

Haruka Miyamoto lives and works in London. Her training is in textiles (recently graduated from Chelsea College of Art & Design) and she works as a fashion, shoe and product designer as well as an artist. “The idea of my work is based on lifecycles in nature. I rescue materials from the bin and give them a second life, so they don’t end up in landfill. The impact that humans have on nature can be devastating. The dodo, which became extinct due to human activities, is a symbol of extinction.” Haruka showed in British-ish, the best of the UAL design graduates at the V&A for London Design Festival, and auctioned her work ‘Extraordinary Rubbish’ in the Faberge Egg Hunt 2011.

Koji Shiraya who works in London and is soon to return to Japan, is an artist who completed his MA in Ceramics and Glass in 2010 at the Royal College of Art. His work After the Dream shown in the darkened crypt at Gloucester Cathedral captured an intriguing ambiguity, using porcelain spheres as metaphors for the mind, and its Gardens Gallery setting will stimulate a new language. In his sculpture Trinary 2011 all of the samples in the jars are filled with some of the main components of the earth’s crust. Koji has shown work at Einfall: Beyond Spontaneity at the Freud Museum and at Designers & Makers at Somerset House.

Applications for the open west 2013 will be received from December. See theopenwest.org.uk for full details.

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Caroline Andrin and Francois Ruegg / Puls Ceramics, Brussels

Caroline Andrin and Francois Ruegg / Puls Ceramics, Brussels
October 13 - November 17, 2012

Caroline Andrin exhibition Puls Ceramics, Brussels

Caroline Andrin
Swiss ceramist Caroline Andrin maintains her studio in Brussels as well as holding the Ceramics Department chair at La Cambre. Widely traveled and exhibited, this is her second Puls exhibition. Andrin has entitled this series of work Skin Game.

Much of Andrin’s art has been inspired by the examination of the intimate relationship that we have with the objects in our everyday environment, objects that we wear or use. Throughout her career, Andrin’s work has developed from one object to the next, sometimes by taking into consideration the function of the original object and sometimes by a larger context. She has been inspired by the principle that every form hides another form within it and that through a process of her own using clay, both the inside and the outside of an object can be made visible.

The title of this series is particularly apt. It asks many questions. Skin: what is it, when and where do we encounter it, and what deeper consequences does it hold for us as individuals and our values. We seldom pause to remember that the skin of a mammal—and specifically humans—is the largest organ in the body. As for game, is it the mere entertainment of stalking and bringing back a trophy to hang on a wall or the hides that kept our prehistoric ancestors alive through the Ice Ages?

The series consists of an ensemble of Trophies and Accessories. Game here of course assumes its double meaning, referring to play as well as hunting.

Andrin pits our visual perception against our sense of touch. She has captured the visual qualities of skin and then assaults the innate coordination of our sense with entirely the wrong texture. The work certainly has the look but not feel. She is challenging the very essence of the materiality we expect.

Each Trophy originates from a pair of leather gloves. The gloves are turned inside out, cut up and sewn back together in order to make a mold into which clay is poured. This process involves the casting of clay slip. Traditionally clay is cast in plaster molds. Since 1996 however, she has used material for molds that leave a trace on the final object. This is a verification of the idea that one form contains another.

The manipulation of the original object (the leather glove) creates an imaginary bestiary which speaks of the skin. Andrin examines our emotional relationship with objects and in this case, all that the objects represent.

Francois Ruegg exhibition Puls Ceramics, Brussels

Francois Ruegg
Francois Ruegg is an award winning Swiss ceramist exhibited at Puls for the first time. Ruegg intentionally uses allegory to color the figurative presence of his objects and their complex allusions. He plays with our innermost expectations, our stereotypes, and sends us on strange trains of thought. Ruegg deliberately leads us astray as he challenges our internalized landmarks and creates confusion in our perceptions. This is work that provokes, destabilizes, and opens up only enough to give up a few clues to understanding.

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Melissa Stern: The Talking Cure / Smart Clothes Gallery, New York

Melissa Stern: The Talking Cure exhibition Smart Clothes Gallery, New York

Melissa Stern: The Talking Cure / Smart Clothes Gallery, New York

Opening Reception: November 8, 6-9 PM.

Smart Clothes Gallery and its founder Paul Bridgewater are pleased to present “The Talking Cure,” by Melissa Stern, a multi-media art exhibition integrating sculpture, original contemporary literature, and audio technology.

The Talking Cure, takes its name from Sigmund Freud’s original description of psychoanalysis. The exhibition consists of twelve mixed material sculptures by Melissa Stern, each accompanied by an interactive audio track created by a literary collaborator. Stern asked twelve writers- poets, novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights- to each chose a sculpture to which they relate most intimately. Each has written his or her imagined monologue of the goings on in the sculpture’s mind. The written work was then transformed into audio recordings by actors. A QR tag accompanies each sculpture. When the viewer points a Smartphone, Blackberry or iPhone reading device at the QR tag it triggers audio to hear the inner voice of the sculpture.

"I have long been fascinated by what goes on in people’s minds when they look at art," said Stern. "What stories do they tell themselves? What emotions and memories are triggered?" In this project we will have a chance to hear what others think goes on in the minds of these sculptural people. Viewers will also have the opportunity to record their own imagined interior monologue for each sculpture.

The exhibition will also feature twelve drawings to accompany the sculptures. These pieces address psychological states and experiences in a non- narrative, image based way. They are the dreams that accompany the sculptures.

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Anne Tophøj and Marianne Nielsen: Elitist Folklore / Copenhagen Ceramics

Anne Tophøj and Marianne Nielsen: Elitist Folklore exhibition Copenhagen Ceramics

Anne Tophøj and Marianne Nielsen: Elitist Folklore / Copenhagen Ceramics
October 25 – November 17, 2012

Artist talk: Saturday, October 27, at 2 pm.

The dish, the plate, the table and the flower. These common everyday objects and the most beloved iconic shapes from nature are framing in the lives of most people. For their shared exhibition at Copenhagen Ceramics Marianne Nielsen and Anne Tophøj are investigating why and how we value these universal expressions of culture and nature. But what is elitist folklore? What does it look like from their point of view?

Marianne Nielsen occupies a very special position in Danish Ceramics. She takes interest, in an almost nerdy way, in the role of nature in our culture. In recent years her work often has concluded in definite renderings of natural subjects: mountains, feathers, leaves and now flowers and plants. As a kind of souvenir they refer to something beyond ourselves, being continuous, universal and something which, through its authenticity, contains an essential beauty. Yet, the representations of nature are about ourselves, since they only acquire their meaning through our very own gaze.

Marianne Nielsen articulates this: ’Flowers hold a modest position in the arts as something banal, soft, often assigned the subordinate part. For these pieces I have let the flower be on its own, allowing it to make up the entire work. The works are about what is not directly present – the references linked to flowers, both as representatives of beauty and natural souvenirs. But they also deal with that particular application that has worn down the flower-motif and turned it into a cliché.’

In a similar way Anne Tophøj is working with the values and inherent meanings of things. Either because the artifacts contain specific images or symbols that pass on a story or message, or by suggesting a particular use or way of handling.

Characteristic of her work she investigates the dish and the plate, objects that we are all very familiar with and make daily use of. As she herself puts it:The plate and the dish are signs of human culture and how we raise ourselves above the animals; they are pivotal in all eating rituals and our daily meals. Artefacts that we all have in common – universal, banal, indispensable tools helping us to sustain life. They are beloved and treasured objects that different cultures and times have shaped endlessly for use and for ornamentation, for the table and for the wall.”

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Ceramics Now Exhibition, 3rd edition / Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

Ceramics Now Exhibition - International contemporary ceramics exhibition, third edition

Ceramics Now Exhibition, 3rd edition / Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, Romania
November 8-26, 2012

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 8, 6:00 PM.

The international Ceramics Now Exhibition is an itinerary exhibition of contemporary ceramics which presents works of artists that are featured in Ceramics Now Magazine’s platforms or are invited. The exhibition reunites artists from different countries and communities, and facilitates contact between them and the public. Ceramics Now Magazine and Exhibition operate as an exchange platform between artists, galleries, museums, collectors and people passionate about art.

In the context of the globalization of arts and of rapid exchange of information, it is more and more necessary to make a serious coagulation of what is contemporary ceramics. The incorporation of many diverse subjects, working techniques and mediums in creating a ceramic object, are more and more frequent, risking if not counterbalanced, to take this domain back to crafts. The harmony between the compositional elements and concept can be realized through exercise, and this exercise is a reference point for contemporary artists. In creating a contemporary ceramic object, an equilibrium can be reached by those who feel the need to create and who create with depth. Originating either from Australia, Africa, Europe, Asia or America, practice, delicacy and accuracy are characteristics that unite them. The Ceramics Now Exhibition reunites these artists and brings their work together aiming to create an open platform between them and the public. The third edition of our main event will be held between 8-26th of November 2012, at Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, and will present the works of 22 world-renowned contemporary ceramic artists.

EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Steve Belz (USA), Gherghina Costea (Romania), Kimberly Cook (USA), Ossama Mahmoud Emam (Egypt), Nato Eristavi (Georgia), Jason Hackett (USA), Teresa and Helena Jané (Portugal), Brian Kakas (USA), Yoichiro Kamei (Japan), Kentaro Kawabata (Japan), Allison Luce (USA), Nicolae Moldovan (Romania), Akio Niisato (Japan), Heide Nonnenmacher (Germany), Szilvia Ortlieb (Austria), Barbara Schmid (Austria), Avital Sheffer (Australia), Suzanne Stumpf (USA), Kouzo Takeuchi (Japan), Shinya Tanoue (Japan), Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso (China), Gavril Zmicală (Romania).

Curator: Vasi Hîrdo
Coordinator: Cristina Popescu Russu

Ceramics Now Magazine is a comprehensive and innovative publication & online art platform specialized in contemporary ceramics. Founded in 2011, the magazine celebrates the creative field of ceramics through publishing interviews, reviews and works of new and world-renowned ceramic artists, and providing information on contemporary ceramic art exhibitions.

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Cynthia Lahti exhibition / Zentrum für Keramik, Berlin

Cynthia Lahti exhibition Zentrum für Keramik Residency for Ceramics Berlin

Cynthia Lahti exhibition / Zentrum für Keramik, Berlin
November 4-11, 2012

Opening reception: November 4th, 2-5 PM.

We are very happy to announce the upcoming exhibition of artworks created Cynthia Lahti during her residency at the Zentrum für Keramik - Berlin. Cynthia is from Portland, Oregon, where she has been working as an artist for over 24 years. She is a mixed media artist whose work explores human emotions through the evocative power of the figure. 

"My goal is to create works of art that resonate with honesty and reflect the beauty and chaos of the world. My art is influenced by human artifacts from ancient times to the present, as well as by my personal experiences and emotions. Like the varied objects I draw on for inspiration - from 1940s knitting catalogs and outsider art, to Native American cedar carvings and Degas’ sculptures of dancers - my artworks force an explanation of reality and compel viewers to connect to a larger human experience. I work in various media, including drawing, collage, and sculpture." Cynthia Lahti

The Residency for Ceramics-Berlin is located in the neighborhood of Pankow, 3 miles north of Mitte, the center of East Berlin on a spacious lot surrounded by a beautiful old garden.

The residency is designed for artists working in clay or artists with a background in ceramics who wish to undertake a clay project and it provides an opportunity for them to work in a new context, to experiment and develop new approaches and to explore another culture. The location provides a fantastic opportunity to explore a fascinating city with a thriving local art scene.

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Duet: Mark Goudy and Liza Riddle / SMAart Gallery & Studio, San Francisco

Mark Goudy and Liza Riddle exhibition SMAart Gallery Studio, San Francisco

Duet: Mark Goudy and Liza Riddle / SMAart Gallery & Studio, San Francisco
November 1-30, 2012

Opening Reception: November 1st, 6-10 pm.

Mark Goudy and Liza Riddle (Thundercloud studio) present a collection of their beautiful recent works. Both artists use metal salts that permeate the surface of their burnished vessels. The results are an incredible watercolor like surfaces reminiscent of galaxies, the deep ocean weathered stone, frosted glass or microorganisms.

"My approach is to combine ancient methods of stone-burnishing and earthenware firing with computer-aided shape design to produce talismans that fuse traditional and modern aesthetics. Surface markings are created by painting water-soluble metal salts on bisque-fired clay. These watercolors permeate the clay body, and become a permanent part of the surface when fired. I have a strong affinity for intricate abstract patterns, ones that can’t be fully comprehended with a single glance, an invitation to in-depth exploration." Mark Goudy

"I seek to create a work which evokes a sense of wonder and mystery, forms that beckon to be held and admired. I find delight in closely observing and then interpreting natural objects and events – weathered boulders on a mountain slope, wind ripples on a gray blue sea, complex designs on a delicate bird egg – their rhythms, patterns and forces have greatly inspired my work." Liza Riddle

SMAart Gallery & Studio was founded in September 2012 and opened its doors at 1045 Sutter Street in San Francisco.

SMAart offers gallery exhibits, studio rentals and ceramic classes. Founder Steven M Allen opened SMAart to fulfill a longtime dream of having a gallery, a place to teach art to the community, and a place to create art in a creative open environment surrounded by other inspiring artists.

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Kim Simonsson exhibition / Galerie Favardin & de Verneuil, Paris

Kim Simonsson exhibition Galerie Favardin & de Verneuil, Paris

Kim Simonsson exhibition / Galerie Favardin & de Verneuil, Paris
October 16 - November 10, 2012

One of the major artists of the young Finnish art scene, Kim Simonsson epitomizes this new generation of artists working beyond the ideologies of the post-modernism advocates, while his work is deep-rooted in pathos. Japanese manga leave its mark on his sculptures whose empathic dimension imparts them a universal impact.

"Works by Kim Simonsson come from another world filled with children looking as doleful as well-behaved, as neat as vicious. (…) We find ourselves in stories of hybridisations and transmutations, in the land of hazy identities, sagas where beasts and beauties invert themselves, where innocence plays constantly with violence, purity and perversion, where black and white, gold and silver glaze various forms of anxiety, power struggles and child sexuality." (Elisabeth Védrenne, Connaissance des Arts, November 2009)

Simonsson was awarded the prestigious “Young Artist of the Year” award in 2004 and the Pro Arte award in 2009. During the same year, he became the first Arabia Art Department Society Guest artist and got a studio at the famous manufactory. More recently he’s been selected for a residency at the Manufactory of Sevres.

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When I Woke / Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbrân, UK

When I Woke exhibition Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran, Wales

When I Woke / Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbrân, Wales, UK
October 6 - November 18, 2012

When I Woke – an exploration of the human condition curated by Claire Curneen and Lowri Davies.

When Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre invited celebrated ceramicists Claire Curneen and Lowri Davies to curate an exhibition as part of the centre’s “Makers to Creators” series both artists relished the opportunity to expand their artistic horizons and provide a completely different perspective to their practice.

Inspired by Dylan Thomas’ poem ‘When I Woke’, the exhibition is full of questions about life, death and change. Each of the exhibitors examine the gritty questions which surround the human dilemma. The body and the figure are central to these artists and the exhibitors explore issues in relation to beauty, the visceral body, myth, folklore and tradition. The subject matter is complex and in very different ways they strive in search for something hidden or lost.

Artists: Tamsin van Essen, Sam Bakewell, James Page, Lina Peterson, Audrius Janusonis, Sophie Woodrow.

Tamsin van Essen explores the cultural obsessions with perfection and beauty. There is a tactile beauty in the objects surface and form yet they talk about the visceral decaying body which leaves us somewhat unsettled.

The visceral is also evident in Sam Bakewell and James Page’s work. Bakewell uses solid masses of clay to suggest the body, the objects are dense and immediately physical. These objects are not static forms, they are in a state of flux and are bursting with life.

James Page asks us to reassess our perception of our own bodies. His work is a celebration of the physical nature of the human body with an affirmation of our earthly connection.

Lina Peterson is a jeweller that tells a human story. Her work has a sense of the ritual, in some instances drawing inspiration from Roman artifacts. Peterson response to ancient artifacts is to ‘fill the gap’ and to put back what is missing, in turn creating a new and original narrative.

Audrius Janusonis and Sophie Woodrow use traditional figurative modes of practice. They explore a sense of place, often mythical and sometimes untangible. Janusonis is Lithuanian whose work is known across Europe but has never before been shown in  UK. His figures have a strong allegorical message often referencing the texts of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. His understanding of the human form is extraordinary.

Sophie Woodrow entices us in to a strange world where the relationship between animal and human are blurred. Her figures stare out at us revealing some sinister folk story. They are reminisent of staffordshire flatbacks, domestic in scale yet subversive in nature.

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Three exhibitions at The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA

Three exhibitions at The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
October 4-28, 2012

Peter Morgan exhibition The Clay Studio Philadelphia

Peter Morgan: All Aboard at Harrison Gallery
The 2011-2012 Evelyn Shapiro Foundation Fellowship Exhibition

All Aboard includes work that Morgan made this past year, while serving as the Evelyn Shapiro Foundation Fellow. This fellowship afforded him a monthly living stipend, materials and firing stipend, free studio space, this solo exhibition and a tri-fold publication produced in support. A representational sculptor, Morgan received a BA in fine arts from Roanoke College, Salem, VA, a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA and his MFA in 2005 from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred NY. His work builds on a tradition in ceramics that began in the 1960’s and emerged out of California’s Bay Area. The artists working within this tradition created representational sculpture, oftentimes humorous and/or tongue in cheek, irreverent and anti-establishment, their inspiration drawn from the beat movement, Pop Art, and the then burgeoning counter culture revolution. 

Morgan employs many of the practices of his Funk predecessors using word puns and humor, to create surreal narrative compositions, layered in meaning. His sculptures may grow out of a childhood memory, his love of a specific food item, history or a perplexing current event. With All Aboard, Morgan takes the viewer on a train ride like none other they’ve had. As in all his work, the train cars are skillfully and sensitively sculpted, Morgan’s interest in and love for his subject matter evident and felt. 

His sculptures are real and unreal, familiar yet foreign. Morgan states, “The work is an investigation and celebration of cultural mythologies. I think of my sculptures as being platonic ideals in physical form. They focus on our ideal understandings and desires of these objects in our minds, yet they often bear very little in common with the actuality of these concerns.” Jeff Guido, Artistic Director

Blue and White exhibition The Clay Studio Philadelphia
Blue and White at Reed Smith Gallery

The field of ceramics is laden with numerous traditions of technique, material, style, and form specific to a given culture and or specific time period. Few traditions moved beyond borders or lasted through time to become significant to multiple cultures. The tradition of Blue & White is one that has; a white clay body serving as ground for blue decoration applied by hand, stenciling, or screen transfer. Islamic tin-glazed tile of the 9th century, pinyin or blue flowers drawn on 14th century Chinese porcelain pots, the narrative hand-painted Delft pots of the 16th century Dutch, to the English and American traditions of Willowware, the process of cobalt blue decoration on fine, translucent, and white porcelain is a deeply rooted tradition, crossing cultures and spanning great lengths of time.

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Cristina Popescu Russu - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Cristina Popescu Russu

Cristina Popescu Russu - Romanian contemporary ceramics

Interview by Alexandra Mureşan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

In 1975 you graduated Ceramics at the Nicolae Grigorescu Arts Institute in Bucharest. You have been active in this domain for over 35 years, all marked by a large number of exhibitions, as well as participations to international symposiums. How was this passion for ceramics born? Have you had any masters that marked your career?

In the Music & Fine Arts Highschool in Craiova, the teachers Şopov Cole Nicos, Ion Marineanu and Vasile Buz have inspired me a love for painting as well as for molding. I fell in love with our prehistoric ceramics and from then on I knew I would dedicate myself to this domain.  
In the N. Grigorescu Arts Institute in Bucharest I had the privilege of meeting remarkable teachers: Lucia Ioan Neagu, Costel Badea. I learned something from each of them, namely to learn as much arts history as possible, to investigate, to experiment and to be creative at the same time, to not plagiarize, to know that talent had no significance without daily work, and that only the well made work, the passionate one - can lead to performance.
Being fascinated by the renaissance techniques in painting and by the technology of ceramics - like I was then, I used to work all day long in the Institute with the love and the exigency that have been taught to us by our professors.

The material that you most often work with is porcelain. What determines you to prefer it to all others? What are the artistic proprieties of porcelain that makes it more suitable for you than any other material?

In the ’70 and the ’80 there was collaboration between the arts institutes and the factories in the country that specialized in porcelain, tile, sandstone, glass and other materials. The students used to make their internship and their diploma works there, benefiting from what is vital for an artist: the specific materials and technologies. My love for porcelain was born there as a challenge. Only the ones who have knowledge in the technology of ceramics can comprehend how difficult it is to achieve performance when porcelain is the material of choice. It is a difficult material, hard to manage, because it has a memory and you have to know with precision the distortions, the contractions, the burning curves, when you want to obtain something in particular. Everything is fascinating about this material: the pure white, the translucence gained by the thinning of the fragments, its resonance when it is well burned, its preciousness. 

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

You are the founder of Galateea Gallery, the only gallery in Romania dedicated to promoting contemporary Romanian ceramics. What is the Gallery’s history and what are its projects?

In 1953, the Artists Union in Romania is granted the use of the space for an exposition hall. In 1955, arh. Eugen Vernescu arranges it to host painting and sculpture expositions. Twenty years later, arh. Mircea Coradino dramatically modifies its interior and façade, and the art critiques Mihai Ispir and Mihai Drişcu titled it Galateea Gallery.

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Arina Ailincai - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Arina Ailincăi

Arina Ailincai - Romanian ceramic artist, Romanian contemporary ceramics special feature

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

What was your first contact with ceramics?

The first meeting with ceramic took place when I entered the university, as I decided to take the admission exam for the Ceramics Department. The reason for this option was the liberal reputation held by the Ceramics Department, mainly due to the young teachers of various formations, who were encouraging the free investigation subordinated to an “interdisciplinary” that at that time was quite attractive.

Because originally I had a sentimental inclination for Graphics - I was more familiar with expressing myself through lines and white / black tonal values. My way of perceiving the world and building volumes remained indebted to the graphic vision.

After graduation, due to my job as a designer at the porcelain factory in Cluj, I familiarized myself with the subtle expressivity of porcelain and its processing technology, practicing with this material for a long time, and ending up loving it.

You have participated in many competitions and international group exhibitions. What are the most important things you have learned by taking part in these events?

For me they represent a form of self-assessment and validation of my personal approach to ceramics in a context of ongoing dialogue with other colleagues. As for the residences and symposiums, they are extremely benefic cultural exchanges for the refreshening of one’s ideas. They also bring the sense of being an ambassador of one’s own culture and historical traditions who makes a personal contribution, no matter how small, to the international artistic context. These kinds of events are especially significant for Romanian artists who have suffered, as we all know, from a period of political restrictions that had made the direct contact with the cultural world outside the Communist Bloc almost impossible.

What message or feeling do you want to convey to your viewer through your works? The portraits and the imprints that constitute your work are part of the artistic approach, or they are simply the result of a process of searching?

I find it hard to give a clear answer to this question, because it implies a number factors of which an artist is not always aware. Maybe is best to say that my works are the imprint of my inner trials and tribulations. In other words, they are a way of sensitively relating to the socio-cultural climate that surrounds me.

How the viewer can “read” my work, depends on one’s cultural heritage or current state of mind, and on other many things… but the perception with its various interpretations will always remains an open question. But oh, what joy we experience when the viewer interpretation comes close to the intended meaning, proving that our discourse is not just a monolog lost in void. 

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

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Marta Jakobovits - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Marta Jakobovits

Marta Jakobovits - Romanian ceramic artist

Interview by by Ileana Surducan and Alexandra Mureşan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

What message or emotion do you want to convey to the observer through your works? Is your artistic undertake based on a certain idea or is it more of a searching process and experimentation?

For me, this process is never conscious, programmed or preconceived. It is more of a constant experiment that is absolutely instinctive. My only guides on this path are those primal, undefined sensations generated by touching and feeling the malleable and permissive clay.
Only afterwards I come to realize with wonder that a kind of actualization takes place - a humble identification, like a translation of some archaic, immemorial message. When I stop and ”read” the pieces that I created, and I analyze the way I created them, I marvel and realize that an actualization was already in me, that that translation was made through me.
Good or bad, this is my path; through it I try to understand, not in a rational way, but rather through sensations and feelings, some of the facts of my existence, trying at the same time to leave some signs behind, signs that have meaning only if they are perceived by others.

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

Many of your works are created in raku – a technique that is not the most convenient for everybody. Why did you choose this technique? What are the advantages and disadvantages that it presents?

Raku is a technique that allows one to obtain very special and organic effects, both surprising and discreet. The expressive potential of the surface is greatly enhanced and can vary according to time and to different types of materials used in the burning – crumbled paper, sawdust, grass or dry leafs. Because of the strange appearance obtained through the ulterior reductions, the objects that are born through raku seem to me to be part of an ancient world, they appear timeless.

The process of preparing the clay for the object that will be raku fired is special and equally important to me, because this offers just as many possibilities. The preparation involving different salts, oxides, engobes or glazes, in diverse combinations gives the final piece a special and unique visual individuality.
Throughout the years I tested many of these possibilities, and through numerous repetitions I tried to understand and feel the spell of prompt intervention and immediate decision. These interventions can give you the impression that you work directly with the magical proprieties of the ceramic material.

Marta Jakobovits Contemporary Ceramics featured on Ceramics Now

Clay is perceived by many to be a docile and easy to manipulate material, but a real ceramic artist knows its potential and limits. In your opinion, what should be the relation between an artist and the material he uses?

Clay is a material that is very open to the tactile dialog of touches, and this opening is very important to me because it creates a link to a world full of miracles and secrets. Through the material I am capable to connect with messages from ancient times. Clay seems to transport me into a different time, a different dimension. This is the reason why, whenever I find myself face to face with clay I try to reach the highest level of sincerity.

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Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso - Spotlight, October 2012

SPOTLIGHT, October 2012: Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso

Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso - Spotlight on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Ileana Surducan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

Your work evokes artificial landscapes and strange architectural agglomerations. What is your source of inspiration?

Most of my work inspired by man-made objects; something like a view of building blocks from the sky, transformer boxes out in the field, and strange formations on the roof. Recently I started to add more abstracted objects, like the connection parts of an exhaust fan, pipe or even inside a lock. I am inspired by something that is recognizable but has an uncertain function.

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

What technique do you use in order to achieve the monolithic, geometrical volumes that compose your work? Take us through the process of creating your work.

For most of my work I combine hand building, slip casting, and wheel thrown techniques. In terms of surface, I achieve an ultra-smooth finish by using a range of sandpaper from 200-600 grit. I then use a marble polisher to sand the surface till it is as smooth as butter. For my industrial landscape series, “The View From Above,” I leave the clay surface as it is this emphasizes the unique qualities found within a raw clay body. For my “Industrial landscape series”; I apply glazes, sometimes paint or enamel to achieve the old sanded look.

The Industrial Landscape series are exploring the mysterious relationship between how one object fits unexpectedly into another and becomes a whole new composition. Tell us more about this relationship.

The mysterious relationship between space and curiosity has always influenced my work. I think those space redefine objects and give those objects meaning. For example, when you have a simple form like a cup, the space created by the handle defines the shape of the cup, when you added a saucer to this cup, the composition has changed. It redefines the function of this cup not only by adding more meaning to it, but also increasing the tension. I believe that one object needs another object and the space in between are the main reason why I am interested in this relationship, it is also what peaks my curiosity and motivates my work.

Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso Contemporary Ceramics
Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso, Zeta, Industrial landscape Series, 2011, Porcelain, paint, wood, hobby paper and metal, H 13 1/4” x W 14” x D 6”
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Bogdan Teodorescu - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Bogdan Teodorescu

Bogdan Teodorescu - Romanian ceramic artist, Romanian contemporary ceramics

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

You are a versatile visual artist who works in mediums such as painting, collage, video art, but also ceramics. In the process of creating a new work, do you allow yourself the freedom to change the medium of expression?

Versatility it’s not entirely a positive feature, at least not for an artist. To be consequent could be in many cases a better option. Up to this moment, my flexibility didn’t create a strong image of myself, but instead surrounded me with an aura of strangeness and ambiguity.

Changing the medium could be an important, valuable quality, mostly when you’re forced to work in difficult conditions. For example, if you don’t have your own kiln or the brightest and most refined porcelain, you have to improvise, for example to do installations of found or smashed objects. If you record the process on camera, you also have good chances of becoming a video artist or a performer. I don’t feel like it’s hard to transfer one idea between different types of media, but it is quite frustrating. I have always imagined myself doing heroic jobs, but I have to acknowledge my limitations and therefore pay attention to small or discreet things. From this point of view, things become even more ambiguous.

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

Are your creations the results of research processes or they are on-the-spot transpositions?

Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t. Let’s say I like spontaneous ideas. I don’t bother that much with research. I’m always intrigued when someone titles his collection of exhibited images a project, evoking some ideas he is attached to. If you’re honest to yourself you will notice how clear everything is. Everything you do comes from a background. I will give you an example: some years ago I developed a project on an accidental idea. I asked two of my friends, a poet and a monk, to start an artistic collaboration, taking advantage of this multidisciplinary friendship. The monk opened a book and picked a word for a theme. The poet had to write something regarding this, and I had to paint or draw. Almost from nowhere, an idea appeared: smashing watermelons! Then I started the research, amazed by all coincidences I had found. This innocent image had a huge iconography and transgressed many cultures. It was like a revelation.

Bogdan Teodorescu Ceramics
Bogdan Teodorescu, This is the best world from the others, 2012, Porcelain, feldspat, approx 27 x 28 cm.
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