Sarah Purvey: Landscape Series, 2010-2014
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.
Brett Freund: Bliss Point - The amount of an ingredient that optimizes palatability, 2013-2014
This project is a exploration of repetition and balance while researching the aesthetic parameters of different materials. These recent vessels represent an indulgence in making with consideration to how choice creates form. My background is rooted in traditional pottery and it’s important to me for my work to best reflect the world that I feel is around me.
Michael Boroniec: Spatial Spirals, 2013
What began with teapots and a single spiral, has evolved into a series of vases that vary in form, degree of expansion, and number of coils. Each vessel is wheel thrown then deconstructed. This process reveals aspects of the vase that most rarely encounter. Within the walls, maker’s marks become evident and contribute to the texture. The resultant ribbon effect, reminiscent of a wheel trimming, lends fragility, elegance, and motion to a medium generally perceived as hard and heavy. This emphasizes a resistance of gravity, allowing negative space to unravel and become part of the form. The result is a body of sculptural objects, resembling and born of functional vessels.
Turn, Weave, Fire, and Fold: Vessels from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection / 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.
“I have always been interested in the ability of a ceramic vessel to point to something beyond itself—to function as metaphor. Ceramic vessels, physically structured with necks, shoulders, bellies, and feet, can evoke the gesture and anthropomorphized stance of the human body; they also reveal deep aspects of human experience and of the natural world.
My fervent interest in clay vessels has led me to explore new territories in form and surface. Recent work explores three variations on the ceramic vessel form:
The ceramic vessel as a Wellspring or Womb, with possibilities of both fecundity and barrenness;
The vessel as Bottle, whose forms evoke the elongated posture of Cycladic idols and the scarified texture of Yoruba terracotta heads;
The Planet Series explores swirling colored surfaces on rounded orbs, suggesting planets and depths of earthly strata.
These series represent different but related expressive interests. Each piece in a series is part of a continually evolving solution to a set of questions or parameters I have chosen to work within. The parameters, themselves, may change as the series evolve.
Through spontaneous handling of inanimate clay, I attempt to find and breathe life into form. My creative process is grounded in reflective practice—imposing ideas on and listening to the material in cycles of learning. The material directs me as I direct it. We are in a reciprocal relationship.” Ellen Schon
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“I work with clay to create an array of graceful, sensuous, organic forms. These pieces are made through a variety of hand-building methods such as slab-building, coiling, pinching, and forming with molds. Rarely relying on glaze, I use textures, stains, and colored clay to add visual and tactile interest. I am drawn toward neutral earth tones that complement rather than distract from my intricate sculptural vessels.
The curving lines and interplay of light and shadow in my work generate an illusion of movement, giving each piece an almost lifelike quality. A successful piece is one that begs to be touched as well as explored visually.” Elizabeth Shriver
Ellen Schön: Vessel Variations (x3) / Vessels Gallery, Boston
September 7 - October 7, 2012
Opening Reception: September 7, 5.30 - 8.30 pm.
Vessels Gallery is pleased to announce Vessel Variations (x3), an exhibit of the most recent ceramic explorations of Ellen Schön. This clay artist and teacher does not see vessels as mere shapes, but rather as metaphors for the human form –the suggestions of “a neck, a shoulder, a belly, a foot”, “the evocation of a human gesture here or stance there”.
Wellspring or Womb, Schön’s first collection, evokes the contours of the womb – both fertile and barren, alive and fading.
Her second group of vessels conjures up the long, sinewy necks of the Greek Cycladic Idols and the shallow patterned cuts of the African Yoruba head sculptures. No simple Bottlesthese, but once again, shapes and designs which reference the human form.
And finally her third collection: The Planet Series, is a group of broad-bellied forms with a spinning sense of movement.
The clay directs me as I direct it. We are in a reciprocal relationship. Ellen Schön
Ellen Schön is an adjunct faculty member at the Art Institute of Boston. She has participated in art symposia throughout the world, and has been an active member in ceramic residencies in Malaysia, Germany, Finland, Croatia and most recently in Hungary. Her passionate interest in international artistic collaboration has led to her participation in the “Transcultural Exchange Tile Project” through which her students have created ceramic tiles, which have been included in wall installations in China and India.
Turi Heisselberg Pedersen: My Garden / Copenhagen Ceramics, Denmark
March 29 - April 21, 2012
Opening reception with Garth Clark, New York-based critic, writer and gallerist: Thursday, March 29, 5–8 pm.
Artist Talk with Turi Heisselberg Pedersen: Saturday, March 31 at 2 pm.
"I love my garden, its plants and vigorous growths. Its potency of growth that within one season can produce an enormous plant from a tiny seed. It contains such a wealth of amazing and strange shapes, textures and colours. Furthermore it is a curious mix of nature and cultivation, of something dirty or beautiful, of poetry and ugliness. Certain things bloom and grow, some go wrong, unsuccessfully. It is a world of controlled nature, which is shaped, trimmed and reworked, not unlike the world of clay" Turi Heisselberg Pedersen explains on the inspiration for her show. Her garden can be experienced at Copenhagen Ceramics from 29 March through 21 April 2012.
For the exhibition My Garden Turi Hesisselberg Pedersen has created a new series of works inspired by the patterns, textures and structures in her garden. In the process of transforming this into ceramics works, two overall themes have emerged:
Vases inspired by buds and growths
On one hand you find a group of precise, simple and cultivated shapes. For example vases inspired by the tautness of swelling flower buds – formal expressions that may seem almost vulgar. Or abstract, simple vase-shapes miming the upward, rhythmic patterns of plant-growth. Both act as ceramic equivalents to the trimmed and cultivated nature of gardens and an interpretation of the underlying order.
The opposite theme renders visible the sprouting life under ground. Out of this, works in the shape of organic, bulbous forms and seed capsules emerge with coarse, expressive surfaces or fluted structures. Careless growths and root-like forms, testifying to the more unruly forces of the garden.
In her new exhibition, Turi Heisselberg Pedersen will be showing some all-new, expressive and asymmetric works, where she explores the inherent character and textural freshness of the clay. Other pieces are more typical of her and display her mastery of simplified sculptural vessels, where rhythm, lines and the interplay between forms are recurrent themes.
Mark Goudy: Three Vessels - clockwise from left: (m103) 8”w x 4”h; (m105) 10”w x 4.5”h; (m102) 7.5”w x 3.5”h
Mark Goudy: Four Vessels - clockwise from left: (m87) 12”w x 4.5”h; (m101) 10”w x 4”h; (m73) 8”w x 3”h; (m81) 10.5”w x 4”h
Mark Goudy: Three Vessels - clockwise from left: (m70) 7”w x 3”h; (m81) 10.5”w x 4”h; (m71) 8”w x 3.5”h