NEW YORK—Large abstract paintings and seemingly impossible porcelain and stoneware sculptures comprise American artist Francesca DiMattio‘s latest exhibition Boucherouite at Salon 94 Bowery (March 06, 2018–April 21, 2018). Named after the colorful woven rugs made up of myriad torn and recycled textile remnants by Berber women in Morocco, The New York Times writes, Dimattio’s two paintings and three towering ceramic sculptures have a distinct craft vibe.
DiMattio is taking crafts—rug-making, pottery — that have historically been considered decorative froufrou and inverting them into something less docile, more aggressive and monstrous, even.
Featured image: Francesca DiMattio, Venus II (center), 2018, Glaze on porcelain and stoneware, resin, enamel, acrylic paint and steel, 96 × 60 × 38 inches
Serving as continuations of her ongoing explorations into a kind of ceramic grafting process, she “fractures and reconfigures” her works with a wide array of imagery, techniques and aesthetics.
She borrows from art history, children’s books, cartoons, pop culture, and craft. Though elements seem ready-made, she sculpts and paints everything by hand. As the works extend upward, they become more complex and multifaceted—each angle revealing seemingly endless experimentations in ceramic and glazing techniques. Throughout each assemblage, DiMattio’s layering and fragmentation maps a crucial dialogue between cultures and styles, pointing to the plasticity of representation. Through shifts in scale, elements that are typically accents become primary. Things do not behave as expected. Tiny figurines appear over scaled, floral motifs become viral, and torsos morph from flora and fauna.
The New York Times adds DiMattio has amalgamated “elements as diverse as Delft pottery, Sèvres porcelain, Wedgwood china and spikes reminiscent of nail-studded Nkondi religious idols.”
Anchored by a giant panda,Venus II is characterized by an upward reaching mass of protruding barnacle-like appendages and steel nails, the gallery writes. In Venus I features a feminine Ancient Greek figure, whose hands grasp a phallic vase adorned with Ming dynasty porcelain. The entire sculpture is enveloped by a rug.
The gallery writes DiMattio employed a garlic press to extrude clay mimicking the high pile textile found in boucherouite rugs, which she then weaved from one sculpture to the next, connecting all three.
You can view DiMattio’s paintings here, which toy with “unlikely intersections of architectural space, abstract patterns and textile prints.”
About the artist: Francesca DiMattio (b. 1981) lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions include “Francesca DiMattio: Housewares,” at the Blaffer Art Museum, Houston in 2014 (catalogue) and “Vertical Arrangements,” at the Zabludowicz Collection, London. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Perez Art Museum, Miami, FL, The Frances Young Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, The Saatchi Gallery, London and The Zabludowicz Collection, London.
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