SANTA FE, New Mexico — Peters Projects in Santa Fe is exhibiting Philadelphia artist Doug Herren for his first appearance in Cfile’s home town. Infra-Structure opened December 16 and will run through February 11. The gallery states of Herren:
Above image: Doug Herren, Aqua Compressor, 2008; ceramic, enamel paint. (Bottom) Doug Herren, Aqua Table, 2008; ceramic, enamel paint, found wood, 30 x 28 x 50 inches. Photographs courtesy of the gallery.
Herren is known for his brightly painted large-scale ceramic sculptures that are hybrids of industrial equipment and traditional wheel-thrown pottery. Many of the sculptures appear to be constructed from machine parts or iron works that have been reconfigured with bolts or rivets and repainted to look new.
The refurbished objects seem functional but their scale, antique steampunk character, and disjointedness deem otherwise. In addition to their eye-catching colors, they have other playful characteristics. The totemic structures create a sense that many of the parts are moveable — elements could potentially spin or be re-stacked and re-assembled.
There is a curiousness about them, particularly as each sculpture includes objects that have familiar visual associations. There are elements that suggest a trophy, an engine block, sirens, pipes, and fittings but they are combined in unusual and unexpected ways. To further their sculptural ambiguity each form is displayed on altered and reclaimed wood timbers that serve as unique pedestals.
Each tabletop has been outfitted with heavy-duty ceramic legs hand-built in a style similar to its featured ceramic counterpart. Ultimately, these visual incongruities provoke us to decipher their overall meaning.
“My sculpture is based on vessel forms but transformed by scale and complexity into architectonic forms with industrial-tool references” states Herren. “My primary working medium is ceramics combined with wood-working in the fashioning of stands and tables. I aspire to attain in my work the wedding of the prosaic yet intimate qualities of pottery to the more assertive power of industrial tools, both regulated to an age more closely attuned to human labor and striving.”
About the Artist
Herren’s work is included in the collections of the International Museum of Ceramics, Faenza, Italy; the Yenggi Museum of Taipei; the Museum of Ceramics Quran, Alcora, Spain; Kamm Teapot Collection, Sparta, NC; Fuller Art Museum, Brockton, MA. Most recently an installation of Herren’s work was on display at the Philadelphia International Airport, Terminal A-West titled Industria/Ware.
Doug Herren was born in 1962 in Pratt, Kansas and has a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Wichita State University, Wichita, KS and a Masters of Fine Art from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 1992 and currently lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.
Text (edited) and images courtesy of Peters Projects.
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