Zimra Beiner: If It Holds It Grows is on view at Hostler Burrows, Los Angeles
February 15 – March 25, 2023
Broadly, my work relates to utility, the still life, abstraction, and the body. I’m also committed to the logic of ceramics– where chance, failure, plasticity, and juggling the precarious state between soft and hard becomes a complex process to navigate. Line becomes volume, color transforms and scale is a huge technical and physical challenge. The process is often frustrating but clay itself is always compelling.
I tend to make a lot of work, and a lot of it doesn’t work out. Sometimes, failures lead me to new things, but I believe it’s important to have dead ends and gaps in my own rationale.
The work in the show started as small stands for vessels I made at Cal State Long Beach in 2018. My work often moves between making abstractions, and then making pedestals or furniture to support the objects. In this case, the stands themselves became the framework for the show. The open holders, or vases, came after the stands because I got interested in the interiors, which led me to make double walled forms. They also allowed me to make smaller works.
I build them by rolling coils which I make into circles and straight lines. I then wait for those to stiffen up and then I build a cylindrical structure that gradually gets filled in. I go back and forth between making the structure and the “skin” – which I think of as drawing. Sometimes the drawing is symmetrical and is more about pattern, sometimes it’s just about lines and dots, and sometimes it’s about making spaces for color (like the patties). But most importantly, I think most about creating structure, then finding ways to disrupt that order.
People often ask me about architecture, color and how to use the work.
I studied architecture for a year, and so the influence is indirect but definitely there. Color is really important to me, and it really relates to ceramics and material. I was never interested in the brown atmospheric pot – I looked at a lot of ceramics made in California when I was a student, which were always unafraid of color. I’m also interested in banality and generic things, so sometimes color alludes to those qualities rather than loud, runny glass. Other times, the work is about color directly and the never-ending testing process (like the big square table). In terms of what I imagine them doing, or where they should live, I hope they are versatile enough that they could have numerous possible uses in different scenarios. However, I had imagined all the work interacting with plants – the stands for potted plants outdoors, and the holders for flowers indoors. I would like them to be used if people feel comfortable.
The title of the show has numerous meanings – literally, if the object holds the plant, then it grows. But you could also think more broadly about anything that grows needs structure (a plant needs the ground to be solid enough to hold it). It also relates to the making of the objects – the clay needs to stiffen up to be able to continue bearing weight as I move up the form, and it’s a very delicate process, so I thought the title reflected that.
Zimra Beiner (b.1985 Toronto, ON) received a BFA from NSCAD University in 2009 and an MFA from Alfred University in 2012. His work has been exhibited internationally, including exhibitions at The Hole NYC, Present CO, Cross Mackenzie Gallery, the Gardiner Museum, and the Katzen at the American University Museum. Recent awards include The Winnifred Shantz Award,The NCECA Emerging Artist Award, nomination for The RBC Emerging Artist Award in Ceramics, and recent residencies include The Berlin Ceramics Centre, Private Studio Jingdezhen, China, and The Center for Contemporary Ceramics at California State University Long Beach. He is currently Assistant Professor in Ceramics at the Alberta University of the Arts (formerly ACAD) in Calgary, Canada and lives between Calgary and Los Angeles.
6819 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90038
Photos by Jesse Stone