Anne Wenzel: The Opaque Palace / TENT Rotterdam

Anne Wenzel The Opaque Palace at TENT Rotterdam

Anne Wenzel: The Opaque Palace / TENT Rotterdam
February 6 - May 5, 2014

Opening reception: Thursday, February 6th, from 8 pm.

The Opaque Palace transforms the exhibition spaces of TENT into an installation in which the monumental sculptures of Anne Wenzel (DE, lives and works in Rotterdam) provide a coherent representation of the major themes in her work – power, destruction, heroism, history – and a new series of sculptures are introduced. Daria de Beauvais, from Palais de Tokyo, Paris, has curated the exhibition. With Anne Wenzel’s solo exhibition, her largest yet, TENT celebrates the re-opening of its newly renovated building.

The Opaque Palace exhibition unfolds as a route through an abandoned palace laden with old, long forgotten stories. A palace where light enters through a broken window, and a net curtain is stirred by the breeze. For her largest solo exhibition yet, Anne Wenzel uses works from the past decade to construct a mental puzzle in TENT. With every space you enter, the function, symbolism, and impact of the objects seem to be further derailed, until they seemingly dislodge from their traditional meaning: sculptures become trophies (or quite the opposite), either paying tribute to heroes or denying heroism altogether. Anne Wenzel’s work resists any interpretation lurking behind their undeniable physicality.

In the monumental emptiness of the main hall, which could be interpreted as a ballroom, a black chandelier has slumped before a wall of shiny gold; the object of light becomes an extinguished mass. In TENT’s back space, Wenzel presents her latest series of works, Attempted Decadence: a group of lavishly decorated ceramic flower sculptures. What life remains – temporarily saved by the art – is already a witness to its own decline. In this ‘Opaque Palace’, everyone is free to reinvent the past that made visions like this possible.

From a strong historical sense and with great political engagement, Anne Wenzel puts the role of art in the portrayal of power, heroism, and violence in another light. She is renowned for her self-determined approach to handling materials and technology. Experimenting with extremes of scale, chemical additions, and radical deformation, she seeks out the boundaries of the sculptural medium. Wenzel draws inspiration for her monumental ceramic sculptures from historical sources, film, and literature, as well as from the media and its newsworthy images of natural disasters, conflict, and acts of war. Her attention to universal subjects connects her to a growing number of artists who transcend post-modern irony and are not afraid to, again, address existential themes.

Wenzel has lived and worked in Rotterdam since 1999. Her work is included in museum collections (Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Stedelijk Museum ‘s Hertogenbosch, S.M.A.K. Ghent, et al.) and in many private collections. She is represented by gallery AKINCI in Amsterdam, Galerie Tatjana Pieters in Ghent, and Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve in Paris.

Anne Wenzel The Opaque Palace at TENT Rotterdam

Accompanying the exhibition is an extensive monograph, Anne Wenzel - Prospects of Perception, published by Lecturis in collaboration with TENT and designed by 75B. It includes texts by Philippe Van Cauteren (director S.M.A.K. Ghent), Sjarel Ex (director Museum Boijmans van Beuningen), Daria de Beauvais (curator Palais de Tokyo, Paris) and Mariette Dölle (artistic director TENT), and photographs of her most important sculptures and installations from the past decade.

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James Tower / Erskine, Hall & Coe, London

James Tower ceramics exhibition, Erskine Hall Coe London

James Tower / Erskine, Hall & Coe Gallery, London
February 5-28, 2014

Erskine, Hall & Coe is pleased to present an exhibition of the work of James Tower in February. This will be Tower’s first solo show in London since 1986.

James Tower is one of the most distinguished ceramic artists of the 20th century. His ceramics are unique for their visual effects which suggest that he responded to nature and his environment. He became an established artist in the 1950’s and exhibited alongside such artists as Barbara Hepworth and William Scott. A goal of Tower’s was to achieve a quality in his work that ‘is perhaps best defined as a sense of completion. A longing for a serene harmonious whole which contains dynamism and vitality, satisfying our intellectual and spiritual needs.’ —James Tower

Tower’s work was reminiscent of the world around him. He worked to develop an abstracted style of the natural environment:
There is a sense of water running between rocks, patterns on a butterfly’s wings, spots on a fish’s skin, clouds on a wintery day, stripes on a zebra’s back, ribs of a human chest and the multiple leaves of a compressed succulent in the myriad forms of James’s work. His genius was to synthesise and make of these inspirations in which he delighted things in themselves (excerpt from Anthony Gormley’s introduction in Timothy Wilcox’s book, ‘The Ceramic Art of James Tower’).

Born in Kent in 1919, Tower studied at the Royal Academy, and then at the Slade School of Art, where he discovered an interest in English slipware and became fascinated with ceramics. During the 1960’s and 70’s, he was Head of Pottery at the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, and Head of Sculpture at Brighton Polytechnic.

Tower’s artwork is owned by many public collections throughout the UK and the United States, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and The Art Institute of Chicago.

The exhibition at Erskine, Hall & Coe will comprise of twenty-five vessels, plates and sculptures, and is fully illustrated on our website. The gallery has worked very closely with James Tower’s family and with Timothy Wilcox, author of the book ‘The Ceramic Art of James Tower,’ to put this exhibition together. Wilcox’s book will be available for purchase at the exhibition.

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Simon Fujiwara / Contemporary Art Society, London

Simon Fujiwara at Contemporary Art Society, London

Simon Fujiwara / Contemporary Art Society, London
January 29 - March 28, 2014

Simon Fujiwara’s Rebekkah was recently purchased for Leeds Art Gallery through the Contemporary Art Society Collections Committee. Established in 2012, the committee selects and buys works by early and mid-career artists to gift to regional museums across the UK.

Rebekkah is inspired by a 16 year old girl from Hackney, Rebekkah, who was one of the protagonists of the 2011 London Riots. Rebekkah was asked by Fujiwara to travel to China to take part in a unique social experiment, where her access to social media was restricted and she visited factories manufacturing the objects she aspired to own and took for granted (fashion clothing, mobile phones, flat-screen TVs). The trip culminated with a viewing of the Terracotta Army, after which Rebekkah was taken to a factory where casts were made of her body to be assembled into modern day versions of the warriors. Up to 100 figures were created in this assembly line technique, shifting Rebekkah to a new position: a representative of a new breed of British-born warrior and a soldier for social change. A selection of the figures will be on display at the Contemporary Art Society, with an accompanying video.

Established in 2012, the Contemporary Art Society Collections Committee selects and buys works by early and mid-career artists to gift to regional museums across the UK and is a vital part of our philanthropic work. The committee is chaired by Trustee and well-known collector, Cathy Wills. Leeds Art Gallery was selected to receive the work due to the museum’s extensive and important sculpture collection. Rebekkah feeds into existing narratives within the collections at Leeds and helps to chart the development of life-size figure sculpture and portrait sculpture from the 19th century.

Born in London in 1982, Simon Fujiwara spent his childhood between Japan, England, Spain and Africa. In January 2012, Tate St Ives hosted his first major solo survey exhibition, Since 1982, which was held in his hometown of St Ives and featured six of his key autobiographically charged installations. In 2011, Berlin’s Hebbel am Ufer theatre showed his first theatre work, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which incorporated three of his acclaimed performances into a full three-act play which subsequently toured to New York’s Performa 11 Biennale and San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. His works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions around the world including Toronto’s Power Plant, New York’s MoMA, Artonje Centre, Seoul, and Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Venice Biennale, Sao Paulo Biennale and Shanghai Biennale. His installations are in museums and foundation collections including the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Prada Foundation, Milan and the Tate collection, London. In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious Baloise-Art Prize at Art Basel and the Cartier Award at Frieze Art Fair. He has published two artist’s books, The Museum of Incest and 1982. (via)

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Sculpture 2014 / Brenda May Gallery, Sydney

Sculpture 2014 at Brenda May Gallery, Sydney

Sculpture 2014 / Brenda May Gallery, Sydney
January 29 - February 22, 2014

First held at Access Contemporary Art Gallery, Brenda May Gallery’s former incarnation, this annual exhibition features an engaging and eclectic collection of artworks, and continues to provide a significant platform for the ever-evolving medium of sculpture.

Brenda May Gallery accepts submissions throughout the year, from both Australia and New Zealand, for the Sculpture Series, aiming to present a curated exhibition of interesting and innovative contemporary sculpture that varies aesthetically from year to year.

This year includes works from Andrew Best, Walter Brecely, Marguerite Derricourt, Todd Fuller, Lisa Giles, Lorraine Guddemi, Emily McIntosh, Al Munro, Mylyn Nguyen, Leslie Oliver, Benjamin Storch, Greer Taylor, Lezlie Tilley, Peter Tilley and Jacek Wankowski.

Gallery hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11-6. Saturday, 10-6.

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Turn, Weave, Fire, and Fold: Vessels from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection / SFO Museum, San Francisco

Vessels from the Forrest L Merrill Collection at SFO Museum, San Francisco

Turn, Weave, Fire, and Fold: Vessels from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection / SFO Museum, San Francisco
January 25 - June 1, 2014

New exhibition presents an exploration of the vessel in work by Bob Stocksdale, Kay Sekimachi, June Schwarcz, and James Lovera.

Collector Forrest Merrill has an affection for the vessel. Its form, sometimes alluding to the sensuous curves of a human body, holds irresistible appeal for him. So too does its familiar scale, which allows a vessel to be cradled in the palms of one’s hands. Forrest’s first art acquisition was in 1950 at a clay and glass exhibition in Pasadena, California, that he attended with his high school art club. With forty dollars earned from cutting neighbors’ lawns the previous summer, Forrest purchased a slumped-glass salad set by Glen Lukens, a pioneer in studio crafts then teaching at U.S.C. in Los Angeles. Forrest’s newly discovered passion for the vessel led to his collecting Scandinavian ceramics while attending the University of Stockholm in Sweden. After settling in Northern California, he became close friends with Bauhaus-trained potter Marguerite Wildenhain, who worked and taught at her studio in the hills above Guerneville, California. It was Wildenhain whom Forrest credits as the influence who encouraged him “to not only look, but to see.”

The San Francisco Bay Area was an exciting place during the 1960s, especially in the world of crafts, with local artists pushing the boundaries in every medium. Forrest took full advantage of their close proximity, and his acquisitions were decidedly personal. It was during this period that Forrest discovered the elegant bowls of wood turner Bob Stocksdale at the Berkeley home-furnishings store Fraser’s. Forrest approached the artist with an offer of wood from trees that he had cut down in his yard, and thereafter acquired a bowl that Bob made from that very wood. This was the beginning of a rich and enduring friendship with both Stocksdale and his wife, fiber artist Kay Sekimachi. Celebrated for her sculptural monofilament hangings and woven room dividers, Sekimachi was exploring vessel forms at the time, which materialized as woven boxes and baskets, and leaf bowls.

In 1974, Forrest met artist June Schwarcz at an exhibition of her enamel vessels at the Anneberg Gallery in San Francisco. An invitation of tea and conversation at June’s Sausalito home and studio led to a close relationship, which they have enjoyed for decades. And it was an invitation to lunch that sparked Forrest’s friendship with potter James Lovera, just prior to Lovera’s retrospective exhibition at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento in 2006. Forrest had admired Lovera’s ceramics offered at Gump’s gallery in San Francisco as early as the 1960s, and he has since acquired a number of Lovera’s vessels, more recently collecting the artist’s work in depth.

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Clara Garesio: Desired lands / Linee Contemporanee, Salerno, Italy

Clara Garesio at Linee Contemporanee, Salerno, Italy

Clara Garesio: Desired lands / Linee Contemporanee, Salerno, Italy
January 24 - February 15, 2014

"Giving a definition of the work by Clara Garesio is fortunately impossible, since it moves beyond stereotypes or fashions. Indulges in an impulse, driven by the need to communicate their feelings, here and now , it relies on the uncertainty of the fire, as in a trance track marks in a game of bold geometric shapes and colors of scanned drunkenness explosive , eagerly awaiting the result and awe , because – as the artist says - every piece is the battle between my mind and the material that I use , and sometimes losing is just as wonderful." And here are the vessels of the slender forms, architectures dream , the perforated tiles, plates, rounds, translucent balls, terracotta reliefs soaring, archetypal installations and tiles lit by red, blue, green and yellow in harmonious contrast where the size of plastic, combined with the dynamic coloring of enamel, resulting in the tale of cloistered life that you look at the world . The icon are eyes wide on eternity and the hands that reach out beyond time and space to touch the infinite. But the symbol, the recognizable signature of Garesio, is the mandala , the magic circle, the transience and rebirth , the destructive force that becomes a source of life." Erminia Pellecchia, 2013

Clara Garesio was born in Turin, Italy, in 1938. She started her artistic career in ceramics and decoration at the age of 10 at the famous Civica Scuola di Arte Ceramica in Turin, Italy. In 1955 she was admitted to the “Istituto Statale d’Arte per la Ceramica” in Faenza (Italy) where completed her studies in 1957. In 1956 she was awarded first prize in the “International ceramic competition of Faenza”, Faenza (Italy) and in 1957 she was appointed by the Faenza Institute of Ceramics to create the pottery collection commissioned by the Persian Court. In 1957 she started teaching ceramics at the l’Istituto Statale d’Arte di Isernia where she was Head of the Ceramics Department for eight years. In 1960 she won an award in the National Competition for Decoration of the Istituto Statale d’Arte di Castelli (Teramo, Italy) and In 1961 the Italian Ministry of Education appointed her as founding artist of the “Istituto Professionale di Stato per l’Industria e l’Artigianato della Porcellana Caselli” in Naples, where she taught Porcelain decoration and ornamental plastics for 10 years. Since 1981 she served as head of the ceramic department of public schools in Naples until retirement from teaching in 2000. Since 2001 she was appointed Professor Emeritus of the School of Fine Arts in Naples, Italy While Clara Garesio’s best known works are ceramic and porcelain, she has worked in a variety of materials and other media. In addition to commissions in ceramic and porcelain, she has worked in ceramic relief and tile murals, concrete, glass, fabricated metal and plastic sculptures and jewels, and design of colorful tapestries.

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Being Here & Being Thus. Sculpture, Object & Stage / Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt

Being Here Being Thus. Sculpture, Object, Stage exhibition at Frankfurter Kunstverein

Being Here & Being Thus. Sculpture, Object & Stage / Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt
January 23 - April 13, 2014

Opening reception: Thursday, January 23, 2014, from 8 pm.

The world of things seems to be dissolving. Due to digitalization, our living environment is rapidly becoming more and more immaterial—despite the unlimited amount of consumer items that we encounter on a daily basis. At the same time, it is possible to observe a growing interest in the lost and changing materiality of the world around us. Recently the cultural and social sciences announced a “material turn.” One is discovering the material aspects of knowledge production and social practices as well as the material aspects of communication processes and aesthetic production. Also in sculpture a reassessment of materials, things, and objects seems to be taking place. Bringing together unusual elements, artists are creating a new formal language, which produces a confrontation between the things as they are and the aesthetic of materials.

The exhibition Being Here & Being Thus. Sculpture, Object & Stage presents works by nine artists who use sculpture in a variety of ways. They combine additive and subtractive processes, the manipulation of scale, and installation. Things and materials are cast, folded, glued, carved, and cut; they are combined with additional elements to underscore or minimize physical, symbolic, or narrative qualities. The exhibition unfolds as an exploration of the concepts of “sculpture,” “object,” and “stage.” Some works appear to viewers as a physical counterpart. Others consist of elements, whose former purpose is still recognizable. Nevertheless, the original function of the object is underscored. A third group of works take the form of spatial arrangements that can be entered, variables in a temporary situation in which inter-relationships play a primary role—with the viewer as a component of the work. All works in the exhibition “Being Here & Being Thus” are characterized by an immediate quality. As technical or organic configurations, they convey a character, an expressiveness, and an immense presence, referring thereby to nothing beyond themselves.

Exhibited artists: Maria Anisimowa, Peter Buggenhout, Sandra Havlicek, Sofia Hultén, Sabine Kuehnle, Thomas Moecker, Simon Rübesamen, Michael E. Smith, Andrea Winkler
Curators: Holger Kube Ventura and Lilian Engelmann

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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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David Hicks: Nucleus / Cross MacKenzie Gallery, Washington DC

David Hicks: Nucleus at Cross MacKenzie Gallery, Washington DC

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

Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present “Nucleus” an exhibition of new ceramic sculpture by the prolific and compelling California based artist, David Hicks. This is his third solo show at our gallery.

“I am still digging in the dirt to understand my attraction to the agricultural,” the artist says of this new body of work. Though Hicks continues in these botanic and organic themes, his compositions have opened up and become less dense – no longer hanging down with the force of gravity from vertical wires. The new work is metaphorically blossoming. His array of gourd-like shapes of various textures, hues and dimensions are now suspended from a metal armature fixed to the wall, projecting outward like sconces, flower-like, hovering in space. 

In her 2013 review of Hicks’ 2011 exhibition, “Farewell” at our gallery for Ceramic Art and Perception, Janet Koplos described Hicks’ sculpture; “the works are wonderfully sensuous abstractions (as all pottery can be) and are especially appealing for both color and texture”.

Every element is unique and unfamiliar, inhabiting a place in one’s imagination between associations: at once a cantaloupe or pear, then a beached bouy, an insect pod, a bird’s nest or an exotic dirt encrusted seed. Koplos describes the density of Hicks’ previous work; “But the numbers, the depth of accumulation and the softly worn surfaces hint that they have been retired and frugally held in reserve. It is a library of objects”. Though the artist still draws from that library, the new presentation is more precious, now demanding examination and appreciation for the individual elements rather than focusing the viewer’s attention on the clustered mass. The ceramic forms are one-by-one lovingly harnessed into fitted brackets, more akin to diamond settings now than the sinkers on fishing lines of the past. Even with the artist’s fresh approach and careful selection, his paring down on the amount of objects in the sculptures, Hicks is far from being a minimalist. His wall pieces continue the artist’s themes of nature’s abundance and excess, the forces of bearing fruit and multiplying.

The sense of planting seeds is even more obvious in the two pedestal pieces in the show that sit tree-like with a central weighted stalk, branching out with the ceramic forms perched on and suspended from the metal limbs. We are tempted with the tactile rawness, to pick the heavy fruit before it drops.

David Hicks received his B.F.A. from California State University, Long Beach, CA. and his M.F.A. from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. His work is in several prominent collections including the World Ceramic Museum, Icheon, Korea, the American Museum of Ceramic Art–AMOCO, Pomona CA, the American Embassy in Figi through the State Department’s, Art in Embassies program and the Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe, AZ. He lives and works in Visalia CA. with his wife and new baby daughter.

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Gareth Mason: More is more / Jason Jacques Gallery, New York

Gareth Mason More is more at Jason Jacques Gallery, New York

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

Opening: Thursday, January 22, from 6-9 pm.

We are very excited to invite you to our newest exhibition with our first contemporary master ceramicist Gareth Mason. Following a show at the American Museum of Ceramic Art and an exhibition at the Korea Cultural Center in London. Gareth will be having his second solo exhibition at Jason Jacques Gallery. We are Publishing a 200 page catalog of Gareth’s work and the first publication of a series of letters between Gareth Mason and Ceramics collector Richard Jacobs which is a discourse of the nature of art and ceramics collecting. We are planning a series of lectures between Gareth Mason and his favorite Collector Richard Jacobs more information in the new year.

Gareth Mason new sculptural vessels are inspired by humanity’s connection to fire “Fire is humanity’s muse. Since the earliest humans pondered the nature of the sun, fire has captivated us with its mysterious force. Hominid fire — progenitor of dreams — spur to our noblest and most terrifying achievements, key to our aspirations and inextricable from the survival of our race, it burns literally and metaphorically in a place distinct from all other stimuli and matter. No wonder then that fire holds such creative potency for the human brain; as we gaze into its depths we ever behold a power of poetic and epic proportions. Of all the arts; silicate, ferric, kinetic, dramatic, sonic, plastic; of whatever place in the assumed hierarchy of creative genres, ceramics offers a unique spotlight on this most potent element. Through ceramics, it is possible to ‘fire’ the imagination and the spirit because ceramic metamorphosis is redolent of human experience. This belief underpins all my ceramic work. The igneous fusion of materials is analogous to human emotion. This is fertile ground for creative exploration and discovery.

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