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contemporary ceramic art

William J. O’Brien: The Lovers / Almine Rech Gallery, Paris

William O'Brien: The Lovers at Almine Rech Gallery Paris

William J. O’Brien: The Lovers / Almine Rech Gallery, Paris
January 9 - February 15, 2014

Almine Rech Gallery is pleased to announce ‘The Lovers’, the first solo exhibition by William J. O’Brien in France.

Prior to a major survey exhibition of the young American artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, this exhibition brings together a series of ceramic sculptures made between 2008 and 2013, and a series of new works on paper. This exhibition reflects the diversity of mediums and themes found in O’Brien’s work for almost ten years.

William J. O’Brien is part of the return to ceramics in contemporary art, seen over the last ten years with artists such as Rosemarie Trockel, Thomas Schütte and subsequently taken on by a younger generation of artists. His ceramic sculptures reflect the extent of his vocabulary by developing complementary or opposite forms: they oscillate between matt and gloss, between anthropomorphic shapes with smudges and drips; as well as geometric abstraction reminiscent of Calder. The shaping hand always present, there is a primitive element that immediately stands out – whether referencing the grinning masks of the South Pacific or the plastic qualities found in the culture of native Americans. For O’Brien this is not an identity issue nor a tribute to a native history: the artist was born in Ohio, and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, so his use of primitive forms is more akin to Picasso, Paul Klee or the Surrealists; taking an oppositional stance relative to a certain automated sophistication of form found in many artists of his generation. O’Brien’s ceramic practice skillfully plays with this return to primary expressionism (it is curious to note that the artist was an instructor at a center for the mentally ill), a representation of the human sometimes flirting with the grotesque, but presented on pedestals made by the artist, an institutional device that is simultaneously perfect and ironic. This primitive and modernist dual heritage is also an important anchor in teaching at the Art Institute and on Chicago Art, which shapes the sensibilities of such artists as Nancy Spero or more recently Sterling Ruby. Indeed, one of the first group shows to introduce O’Brien was “Modern Primitivism” at the Shane Campbell Gallery in 2009. The Lovers affords us the possibility to understand the extent of his expression, both sensitive and informed.

Born in 1975 in Eastlake, Ohio, William J. O‘Brien lives and works in Chicago. Recent and important exhibitions include Wet ‘N Wild at Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York, 2013); The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, KS, 2012); Works on Paper at SHAHEEN Modern and Contemporary Art (Cleveland, Ohio, 2011); and The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago (Chicago, 2011). The artist‘s first major survey exhibition opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago in January 2014.
Words by Judith Souriau

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  • Yeesookyung: The Meaning of Time / Locks Gallery, Philadelphia

    Yeesookyung: The Meaning of Time at Locks Gallery Philadelphia

    Yeesookyung: The Meaning of Time / Locks Gallery, Philadelphia
    February 7 - March 15, 2014

    Artist reception: Friday, February 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

    Locks Gallery is pleased to present The Meaning of Time, the first solo exhibition in the United States by the Korean artist Yeesookyung, on view February 7 through March 15, 2014. This exhibition is intended to be a contemporary perspective in dialogue with the nationally touring exhibition of Korean Joseon Dynasty artifacts that will be on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on March 2, 2014. An illustrated catalog of the works will accompany the exhibition with an essay by writer Robert C Morgan.

    In this exhibition, Yee revisits traditional Korean arts in work featuring porcelain and gold sculptures, silk scroll paintings, and a video dance performance. This work reflects both a wisdom from decades of conceptual art practice and a rigorous formal training in her elegant craftsmanship. Identifying herself as a “local artist,” Yee’s work reflects poetically on specific Korean cultural traditions and histories. But in the context of globalization, the work poignantly reflects how traditions taken from the past are re-imagined and recontextualized.

    Known internationally for her Translated Vase series, Yee collects porcelain shards from Korean ceramists who make reproductions of Joseon Dynasty white porcelain and Goryeo Dynasty celadon masterworks. By making intuitive voluptuous forms out of their “trash”, Yee employs the traditional method of repairing ceramics with gold. Meanwhile the works play with language as gold and crack (both “geum”) are homonyms in Korean.

    Also on view are recent silk scroll paintings from the series Flame Variation. Echoing the graphic iconographic style of the wall paintings of the Gorguryeo Tombs with the spatial organization of symmetrical Buddhist paintings, Yee combines traditional religious imagery with that of fairy tales, cartoons, myths, and allegories. From a distance the scrolls appear to be traditional artifacts, but upon further inspection they are captivating in their non-linear narratives and distinctly contemporary graphic content.

    Yeesookyung’s video dance work, Twin Dance, is an extended meditation on Kyo Bang Choom, a traditional Korean dance performed by women of the Joseon Dynasty. The work explores a relationship with symmetry akin to the silk scroll paintings. The video completes this constellation of works that represent her recent conceptual investigations into Korean cultural traditions with distinctly contemporary approaches.

    Yeesookyung (b. 1963) is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Seoul, Korea. She recieved both her undergraudate degree and MFA in painting from the National University in Seoul. The artist has completed residencies at Villa Arson, Apex Art, and the Bronx Museum. Yee’s work has been shown internationally at the 6th Gwanju Biennale (2006), ARCO (2007), the 5th Liverpool Biennal (2008) the Vancouver Biennale (2009), the Buson Biennale (2010), and the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012). She has been included in notable recent exhibitions including “Women In-Between: Asian Women Artists 1984-2012” at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, the 2012 Korea Art Prize exhibition at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korean Eye 2012 at Saatchi Gallery in London, and The Collectors Show: WEight of History at the Singapore Art Museum in 2012. Her works can be found in the collections of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Korea, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, IFEMA ARCO Collection in Madrid, Echigo-Tsumari City Collection Japan, Saatchi Collection in London, the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, among others.

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  • Gareth Mason: More is more / Jason Jacques Gallery, New York
    January 22 - February 22, 2014

    © Images Courtesy of Jason Jacques Inc.

    > More exhibitions / View the list of ceramic art exhibitions


  • David Hicks: Nucleus / Cross MacKenzie Gallery, Washington DC
    January 10 – February 28, 2014

    Sculpture photographs Courtesy the artist and Cross MacKenzie Gallery.
    Installation photos by Maxwell MacKenzie.

    > More exhibitions / View the list of ceramic exhibitions

  • Arlene Shechet: Meissen Recast / RISD Museum, Providence, USA

    Arlene Shechet's Meissen Recast exhibition at RISD Museum

    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.

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  • Michal Fargo: Else, 2012, Porcelain, fired models technique, fired to cone 6 electric (Bronze Winner of the China Kaolin Prize 2013, part of Jingdezhen’s Ceramic Museum’s Collection), 23x18 cm. Photo by Mel Bergman.

  • 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), 2010, Porcelain sheet (Keraflex) print with photoceramic (gum bichromate process), Printing directly on raw sheet before handbuilding, 15x10x12 cm. Photo by Hernán Cédola.

  • Tim Rowan: Untitled #122, 2012, Wood-fired native clay, 8x16x6 inches


  • Tim Rowan:
    Untitled #12246, 2012, Wood-fired native clay, 7x15x4 inches
    Untitled #12247, 2012, Wood-fired native clay, 9x10x5 inches


  • Ryan Blackwell: Spick-and-Span, 2012, Ceramic, Variable upon size of room. Each dustpan 2.25 x 2.25 x 0.25 in.

  • 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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