Made By Hand project & Darien Johnson exhibition / The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, USA 17 August - September 30, 2012
Over the next few months, The Clay Studio will produce a multi part project, titled MADE BY HAND, exploring the relevance of handmade tableware in the 21st century. Two exhibitions are produced in support of this:
Derek Au Derek Au, is American born of Chinese descent. Educated in the USA he currently lives in Jingdezhen China known for its rich history in ceramic art. Au’s work is a mixture of Eastern and Western cultures, true for the entire field of American Ceramics, and a mix of historic ceramic tradition and contemporary design. His work is inspired by origami, Song Dynasty Qingbai ware and tinware using the forms and methods of its production so prevalent in Jingdezhen. His materials of choice, a porcelain clay body covered by a celadon glaze, are rooted in centuries old tradition, the perfect foil for his minimal and contemporary forms.
Post At Rest Pots at Rest engages eight ceramists as curators and exhibiting artists: Kari Radasch, Elizabeth Robinson, Lorna Meaden, Ingrid Bathe, Brian Jones, Munemitsu Taguchi, Matthew Hyleck, and Joseph Pintz. All are nationally recognized mid-career makers of tableware selected for the strength of his/her work: the conceptual content, formal qualities and his/her personal aesthetic. As a group they represent a broad range of material use, varied form and the primary processes of making and surfacing. All bring with them an extensive knowledge of the field, professional contacts, and buyers for their work. Each Artist/Curator was assigned a piece of equipment or furniture, typical to most kitchens, where pots when not in use, live or rest. Each selected functional wares for these spaces made by ceramicists from across North America whose work they admire and respect and share their reasons why they believe handmade tableware remains relevant in the 21st century.
An exhibition featuring works by Darien Johnson will be on view at the Banovitz Space:
"How does absorbing information through digital media define a person’s notion of reality? Current technologies facilitate the instantaneous acquisition, manipulation, and subsequent redistribution of perceptual experiences. This recording and transfer of ideas enables people to have a shallow understanding of something without having truly experienced it. How does this affect our interpretation of “real?”
Stemming from an awareness of continually altered states of perceptual consciousness, my work represents the entanglement of human cognition and digital processing. By acquiring and manipulating visual information, I act as the human element while directly engaging in this process I question. The digital compositions are then china painted onto the porcelain forms, which I create as manifestations of the seemingly fluid movement of human cognition.” Darien Johnson
Former Marine and ceramist Ehren Tool exhibits war awareness work at CAFAM.
Opening reception: Saturday, May 26, 6 – 9 pm.
“The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend.” – Abraham Lincoln
Coinciding with Memorial Day, the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) presents Ehren Tool: Production or Destruction, a solo exhibition of ceramist and former Marine, Ehren Tool. Emblazoned with the haunting imagery of armed conflict, Tool creates handmade ceramic cups as a medium to address war and the violent rhetoric and imagery used to perpetuate it. The exhibition will feature 1,000 handcrafted cups, video, installation, photographs, and printed materials.
Twenty years after his service in the first Gulf War, Tool’s firsthand contact with the reality of war is manifest in the thousands of cups he dutifully produces. The cups will be exhibited at CAFAM in “units” based on military formations of “squads” (13), “platoons” (55), and “companies” (225), serving as a visual reminder of each Marine within a military unit. Each cup is uniquely crafted, decorated with ceramic decals of soldiers’ photos, propaganda, war porn, and sculptural reliefs shaped like bombs, guns, or medals.
Recent events such as the Occupy movements and the incendiary language of current election campaigns figure strongly in his new work, as well as veteran suicides and stories of U.S. Marines desecrating bodies of the deceased. Other imagery alludes to the culpability of video games, toys, and pornography in desensitizing the public to the emotional toll of war.
Tool insists that his art is not anti-war, and prefers to characterize it as “war awareness” work. “It is not my intention to teach or preach. It is not possible to communicate the pain, waste, or intensity of war. My work deals with the uneasy collision, and collusion, between military and civilian cultures,” he says.
By putting people in contact with the imagery of war through an everyday household item, he hopes to make people think more often about war and it’s consequences in a meaningful way. “Letter to President Obama” (2009) is among the several letters he wrote to national and corporate heads urging them to consider the outcome of supporting continued war efforts. He also sent a cup to each of these leaders, which elicited responses from politicians such as Karl Rove.
Though the cups are functional drinking vessels, they are also memory objects that contain unspoken stories about fallen soldiers and wounded survivors. The installation “393” (2004) is a striking display of 393 shattered cups that represent the number of U.S. combat casualties during the first year of the second Gulf War. In the video “1.5 Second War Memorial,” a different cup is shot to pieces every 1.5 seconds, each signifying a soldier or civilian who has died in a war.
Tool will be on-site at CAFAM for an artist residency between June 1 and June 15, where he will set up a ceramic studio in the courtyard to encourage public conversations and share his work in progress. He will be giving away all the cups he makes at CAFAM.