During a recent visit to Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Garth Clark acquired a handful of new catalogs for cfile.library, including Sexual Politics, Out of the Labyrinth: Contemporary Mexican Ceramics, Elemental, and most recently Florilegium. Florilegium is available in cfile.library today and we will be adding the others to the library periodically. If you are already a member, click here to view the catalog, or start your 14-day free trial today!
Florilegium, Northern Clay Center
Minneapolis: Northern Clay Center, 2016
Curator Ursula Hargens begins her essay with this quote from a 1951 Henrietta Dumont book:
“Why has the beneficent Creator scattered over the face of the earth such a profusion of beautiful flowers—flowers by the thousand and million, in every land—from the tiny snowdrop that gladdens the chill spring of the north, to the magnolia that flaunts in the sultry regions of the tropics? Why is it that every landscape has its appropriate flowers, every nation its national flowers, every rural home its home flowers? Why do flowers enter and shed their perfume over the every scene of life from cradle to the grave? Why are flowers made to utter all voices of joy and sorrow in all varying scenes, from the chaplet that adorns the bride to the votive wreath that blooms over the tomb?
It is for no other reason than that flowers have in themselves a real and natural significance. They have a positive relation to man, his sentiments, passions, and feelings. They correspond to actual emotions. They have their mission—a mission of love and mercy. They have their language, and from the remotest ages this language has found its interpreters.”
The exhibition, which was a part of the Northern Clay Center’s 25th anniversary celebration in May, includes the work of artists Joan Bruneau, Guy Michael Davis and Katie Parker, Rain Harris, Rebecca Hutchinson, Jae Won Lee, Kate Maury, and Julie Moon. These artists from all over the world were gathered together in a figurative bouquet. The work highlights the legendary partnership that has always (it seems) existed between clay and flowers. It’s partially our instinct to shove the bouquet in a tall vase and also the funny part of our brain that throughout history tells us to paint flowers on the side of a cup. We can’t deny the sisterhood.
Guy Michael Davis and Katie Parker’s collaborative effort is a group of molded, wood-fired porcelain sculptures called Bonsai, which call to mind underwater flora. The duo received the Smithsonian Art Research Fellowship, and their work can be found in museum collections in Kansas City, Missouri, and China.
My personal favorite, Julie Moon, makes sculptural pots with sculptural flower bouquets nestled in. Of all the artists in the show, Moon’s “floral still lives” most emphasize the relationship between ceramic history, art history and florilegium. Referencing impressionist paintings of flowers and calling to mind Matisse’s floral cutouts, Moon draws an obvious and necessary line. With delicate hand-sculpted petal and leaf and imperfect black outlines, the results are fulfilling to say the least.
Additionally, Florilegium included a large selection of other artists who explore floral themes in their work. Notably, Peter Pincus, Bianca Groves, Jan McKeachie Johnston, Ted Saupe, and many more.
Florilegium is available in cfile.library today and we will be adding the others to the library periodically. If you are already a member, click here to view the catalog, or start your 14-day free trial today!