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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 email@example.com
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
Arlene Shechet: Meissen Recast / RISD Museum, Providence, USA
January 17 – July 6, 2014
In the first U.S. exhibition of her one-of-a-kind Meissen sculptures, Arlene Shechet presents works she produced during a recent artist residency at the world-renowned German porcelain manufacturer. Arlene Shechet: Meissen Recast is a two-part exhibition on view at the RISD Museum from January 17 to July 6, 2014.
It is the utilitarian factory casts behind fine porcelain production, rather than the ornate ceramic confections, that inform Shechet’s “Meissen” series. Her range of sculpture brings to the fore the seams, plate impressions, indentations, inventory numbers, and other evidence of the industrial process that an 18th-century Meissen craftsman would have sought to erase. Almost every sculpture on view in the Museum’s Upper Farago Gallery is derived from one or more of 47 historic Meissen mold patterns, reconceived in unanticipated combinations of forms and scale. Shechet’s complete reinstallation of the Museum’s historic Meissen collection of figurines and tableware in the Porcelain Gallery completes the two-part show—connecting the past and present, fine arts and decorative arts.
“The Museum is excited to present this compelling new work by RISD alumna Arlene Shechet,” says John W. Smith, director of the RISD Museum. “Meissen Recast extends the Museum’s long and groundbreaking tradition of encouraging artists to use the collection—dating from Andy Warhol’s Raid the Icebox (1970) to Spencer Finch’s Painting Air exhibition (2012). By moving some of RISD’s Meissen figures—including the famous Monkey Band—from their normal location in the Porcelain Gallery to the contemporary Upper Farago Gallery and, conversely, inserting her own porcelain sculptures into the cases of the more traditional, wood-paneled room, she heightens our awareness and appreciation for the refined historical pieces and her own more organic, intuitive approach.”
Adjunct RISD Museum curator and exhibition organizer Judith Tannenbaum adds, “Arlene Shechet has become well known for ceramic sculpture that reveals the nature of her materials and working process. By casting fine porcelain in the Meissen factory’s forms designed for plaster, she makes fine porcelain objects out of industrial molds. The surprise is that by looking behind the scenes of this luxury production, which once represented a high-water mark in culture, she has created a body of work that is virtuosic in entirely contemporary terms.”
During her 2012-2013 residency at the Meissen Manufactory, Shechet gained access to all areas of the renowned production facility—working alongside Meissen artisans, learning their techniques, using their tools, and observing the company’s internal traditions. “If there is a common thread in these works, it is my desire to leave a remnant of the memory of the factory. So if a screw is there, I might have cast it along with a fingerprint—I find these inadvertent traces to be beautiful and also thrilling, because they show the original thought that went into the porcelain making and, perhaps, even something of the worker,” the artist explains.
Jos Devriendt: Day & Night / Pierre Marie Giraud, Bruxelles
January 17 - February 1, 2014
"Since 20 years I have been working on the archetype of the mushroom. It has been a search for a form that could be a sculpture with two different lives. A mushroom during daytime with an obvious and colourful expression capturing the light, and at night an abstract form giving light.
As a sculptor I want to reshape the form from day to night, solely with light: the daylight, which shines upon the sculpture and the artificial light, which comes from within and erases the material form. After researching the form, I experimented with different colours as a means to alter the meaning of the form. Like abstract painters use colours to give a meaning to their work, I do in a three dimensional way.
Artists have been expressing feelings through the sea, nudes or geometric forms.
Why not use mushrooms?
They have a lot of meaning in life.
Basically you can eat them and may be poisoned.
There is the hallucinating effect of some of the exotic species.
The sexual connotation of the mushroom is in many cultures an important element of mythology.
In essence, mushrooms bring me to the big themes of art: life, love and death, and last but not least to humour.”
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: 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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
Michal Fargo: Else, 2013, Porcelain, fired mold technique, fired to cone 6 electric, Variable dimensions. Photos by Mel Bergman.
New Blue and White / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
February 20, 2013 - July 14, 2013
New Blue and White at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, showcases inventive works in blue and white by 40 international artists and designers.
Contemporary sculpture, ceramics, fashion, glass, furniture, and more offer a new twist to age-old imagery
Over the past millennium, blue-and-white ceramics have become an international phenomenon—familiar as Dutch Delftware, Ming vases, and Blue Willow china, among other forms. Today, the popular ceramic medium continues to offer inspiration, especially to the more than 40 international artists and designers whose works are presented in New Blue and White at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). On view from February 20 through July 14 in the MFA’s Henry and Lois Foster Gallery, the exhibition highlights nearly 70 objects made over the course of the past 15 years across a wide array of media. Many of these works offer a contemporary twist to traditional blue-and-white imagery using abstraction, digital manipulation, contemporary subject matter, and even trompe l’oeil to surprise and delight. They range from small porcelains to room-size installations and include never-before-seen creations by artists such as Mark Cooper, Annabeth Rosen, Pouran Jinchi, and Kurt Weiser, and recent MFA acquisitions of work by fashion label Rodarte and ceramic sculptor Chris Antemann. Also on view are ceramics by Nakashima Harumi, Robert Dawson, and Steven Lee. The exhibition is presented with generous support from The Wornick Fund for Contemporary Craft. Additional support is provided by The John and Bette Cohen Fund for Contemporary Decorative Arts, and the Joel Alvord and Lisa Schmid Alvord Fund.
“The works in New Blue and White deftly show how one remarkable set of material traditions, which have had a profound international impact, can inspire new generations of artists. They make surprising, beautiful connections across time and cultures, helping us understand our history and our present,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA.
At its simplest, blue and white refers to the application of cobalt pigment on white clay. It originated in 9th-century Mesopotamia and subsequently captured the imaginations of artists throughout Asia. Through a frenzy of trade networks and stylistic exchange, these coveted works made their way to Europe and eventually the New World. With them went multiple narratives focused on ideas as varied as wealth, power, beauty, family, exoticism, colonialism, and commerce. Inspired by this rich and varied global legacy, today’s artists create works that tell contemporary stories incorporating cultural, social, and historical references. To illustrate this, four themes will be presented to guide visitor engagement with the objects in the exhibition: Cultural Camouflage; Memory and Narrative; Abstract Interpretations; and Political Meaning.
Exhibiting artists: Ann Agee (US), Chris Antemann (US), Katsuyo Aoki (Japan), Felicity Aylieff (England), Robin Best (Australia), Stephen Bowers (Australia), Boym Partners [Constantin Boym (Russian) and Laurene Boym (American)], Caroline Cheng (England), Mark Cooper (US), Claire Curneen (Ireland), Robert Dawson (England), Barbara Diduk (US), Michelle Erickson (US), Front Design (Sofia Lagerkvist, Anna Lindren, Katja S’vstr’m, Charlotte von der Lancken) (Sweden), Gésine Hackenberg (Germany), Molly Hatch (US), Giselle Hicks (US), Sin Ying Ho (China), Pouran Jinchi (Iran), Hella Jongerius (Netherlands), Charles Krafft (US), Steven Lee (US), Li Lihong (China), Beth Lo (US), Livia Marin (Chile), Harumi Nakashima (Japan), Rodarte (Kate and Laura Mulleavy) (US), Annabeth Rosen (US), Richard Saja (US), Eduardo Sarabia (US), Paul Scott (England), Richard Shaw (US), Tommy Simpson (US), Caroline Slotte (Finland), Min-Jeong Song (Korea), Vipoo Srivilasa (Thailand), Kondô Takahiro (Japan), Brendan Tang (Canada), Studio Van Eijk & Van der Lubbe (Neils Van Eijk, Mirian Van der Lubbe) (Netherlands), Peter Walker (US), Kurt Weiser (US), Ah Xian (China).
In the early 20th century, following the development of the entertainment industry, hundreds of theaters were built across North America. Major entertainment firms and movie studios commissioned specialized architects to build grandiose and extravagant auditoriums. From the 60’s, TV, multiplexes and urban crisis made them obsolete. During the following decades, these theaters were either modernized, transformed into adult cinemas or they closed, one after the other; many of them were simply demolished. Those which remain, escaping this fate, have been converted to serve varied purposes. Now, many are reused as churches, retail space, flea markets, bingo halls, discos, supermarkets or warehouses. Some others just sit abandoned. (via)