Jamie Bates Slone: Phenotypes, 2014

I have developed a process utilizing my knowledge of various casting methods and glaze, chemistry to create forms made entirely glaze. The color and texture is appealing and repulsive at the same time. When viewed through a magnifying glass the surface resembles Scanning Electron Micrographs of cancer cells. The fragile and fleeting appearance of these pieces symbolizes the transient nature of human life. This series of glaze, casted hands represent the genetic passing of disease from generation to generation. It is my fear that my family’s history with cancer is somehow genetic.

Lucy Gresley: Vessels, 2014

Vessels is a collection of work that explores the idea of vessels, both as containers and as metaphors for people and their emotions.  My artwork is often about thinking and reflecting – in this case, investigating the different meanings and connotations of vessels. For example, I am interested in the psychoanalytic idea of caregivers as emotional containers, who can hold and re-interpret strong feelings. I am also fascinated by alchemy and particularly the use of vessels in alchemy as sites of transformation.

In making this work, I have become interested in vessels that cannot be used or that will not contain anything. I imagine that vessels can be like people – elegant, funny, self-contained, ineffectual, silly, detached or spilling their contents – and I have played with their form to reflect this. I enjoy mistakes and forms that are intentionally wrong – collapsing spouts and vases without openings. I am also attracted to the anthropomorphic qualities of pots and vases.

I enjoy the freedom of working in clay, which I find a very direct and playful medium. I am also interested in the dialogue between these ceramic pieces and my collage work, which I can use to infer ideas and create narratives.

Alexandra Lerman: Immediate Release / Tina Kim Gallery, New York

Alexandra Lerman: Immediate Release exhibition at Tina Kim Gallery

Alexandra Lerman: Immediate Release / Tina Kim Gallery, New York
May 1 - June 28, 2014

Tina Kim Gallery is pleased to present Alexandra Lerman’s first solo exhibition, Immediate Release.

A coincidence of the calendar becomes a critical frame. The first of May commemorates May Day, an ancient folk festival meant to awaken the wintering body through conviviality, dance, and song, also, International Workers’ Day, the 20th century’s concession to the solidarity of laboring bodies in almost every country of the world. The 1st of May saw the opening of Immediate Release, the new exhibition of multi-media artist Alexandra Lerman.

Alexandra Lerman’s Immediate Release presents a multi-layered installation of drawings, terracotta tablets, ceramics, and performance by Madeline Hollander that literally and metaphorically diagrams the capture of the body by the intersecting forces of technology, capital, and representation. The inauguration of a new kind of May Day, then, that understands that the body’s movements are no longer simply instrumentalized through the mechanics of labor, but also by the codification of its informal moments of respite: social communication, relaxation, aesthetic expression.

Two walls of the gallery are hung with terracotta maps depicting the gallery staff’s circulation through the space, traced by a finger dragged across the wet tablet’s surface and finished with a pinch, a now ubiquitous gesture for minimization, for which Apple briefly owned a patent. On an adjacent wall, Sumi ink drawings on legal forms render the 26 poses of Bikram Yoga, which tried to license to traditional, commonly-held wisdom of the body movements it taught. These components supplied a kind of elementary formal dictionary for Hollander’s choreographed performance that unfolded in front of them: at the opening, and then again on May 10th, the gallery’s central column become a kind of maypole for four dancers who looped through a series of movement sequences abstracted from Apple Inc.’s touch screen gestures, BikramChoudhury Yoga Inc. poses, and moves from Balanchine™ Ballet. In the intervening time, the stage around the column has been strewn with freestanding ceramic totems impressed with the positions the body takes during the performance.

At one level, the performance exists as the corollary release to the implicit capture of the body through the licensed systems of movement it borrows from: emancipation through appropriation. The movements are loosed from their various proprietary rationalizations and applications, existing momentarily for and by themselves. And yet the intentionally awkward and repetitive choreography also asks where exactly is this body being released into? Not just a commercial gallery, but, more generally, another regime of representation that may prove to be no less administered.

We are reminded that the original spirit of the folk May Day, like every bacchanal, was not just immediate release but temporary release, too, sanctioned only by its agreement to be defined as an exception. In this way, Lerman’s art is also like the festival: not an outside, but an interval- the moment of the body in mid-air, when the feet have left the ground and not yet returned.
—A.E. Benenson

Immediate Release is curated by Ceren Erdem.
Alexandra Lerman (born 1980, St. Petersburg, Russia) lives and works in New York. Lerman completed her MFA at Columbia University in 2012 and received her BFA from Cooper Union in 2004. Lerman’s individual and collaborative projects have been shown at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, Anthology Film Archived, Austrian Cultural Forum, Artists Space, Janos Gat Gallery, the New Museum in New York, MUSAC in Spain, and the Hermitage in Russia. For 2012-2013, Lerman was a resident at LMCC Workspace Program, New York; in August, 2012 she took part at The Banff Centre Visual Arts Program: 01 The Retreat: A Position of dOCUMENTA (13), Alberta, Canada; from 2014 through 2016 she is taking part in the Open Sessions at the Drawing Center, New York. In 2012 Lerman co-founded Torrance Shipman Gallery, an artist run space in Brooklyn.   

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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

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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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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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, 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.

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