Glazed and Diffused (June 20 – August 16) at Ferrin Contemporary in North Adams, Massachusetts, focuses on the work of international artists who have used fired clay and glaze pigment to convey abstract content. The gallery states that the “sculptures, objects, vessels, tile, and site-specific installations reveal intended, abstract results using fluidity, abstraction and color theory.” You can read our companion piece about the exhibition here.
Above image: Glazed and Diffused exhibition view at Ferrin Contemporary Gallery.
From the gallery:
Curator Leslie Ferrin commented, “Over the course of my career, I have witnessed both the emergence of abstract clay sculpture in the late 1950s and 60s and its re-emergence as a fine art trend fully integrated into contemporary art market. In 2015 fine artists are regularly creating objects and sculpture in clay alongside their works in painting and various other mediums, and likewise their galleries are mounting solo and group exhibitions inclusive of ceramics.
“Within encyclopedic museums, the permanent collections and period rooms are offering new contexts for contemporary ceramic art to be considered both chronologically and thematically alongside parallel artwork in all media. The “Dirt on Delight” exhibition presented in 2009 at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, was the important seminal museum survey that ignited interest and marked the moment when ceramics not only garnered the attention of New York’s illustrious art critics, such as Roberta Smith, but also that of the Chelsea galleries who began to focus attention on a younger generation alongside the known masters of the medium — Viola Frey, Betty Woodman, Peter Voulkos, Ken Price and Robert Arneson.
“Dirt on Delight: Impulses That Form Clay,” curated by Ingrid Shaffner and Jenelle Porter, was accompanied by a catalog that included Glenn Adamson’s essay “Sloppy Seconds: The Strange Return of Clay.” Since that moment, curators have turned their sights towards ceramics in survey exhibitions organized during Pacific Time in California, by Crystal Bridges, the Venice Biennale, and the Whitney Biennial. (In 2014, the Whitney Biennial featured sculpture by ceramic master John Mason alongside younger counterparts who have only recently aligned with the medium.)”
Ferrin recently interviewed with Wallpaper* about the show. A portion of that interview is provided below. Please visit their page for the full interview:
Wallpaper*: How are ceramics changing?
Leslie Ferrin: What’s happening today is that contemporary ceramics are no longer relegated to mere craft by a long shot.
Yes, Picasso turned to clay – how are contemporary artists embracing that ancient medium?
They are crossing over into painting, sculpture and design. Robert Silverman’s complex wall installations encompass photographs printed on vinyl wallpaper and wood structures with glazed tile in brilliant chartreuse to searing orange.
With artists breaking new barriers, what has been the effect on collecting?
Collectors who come from the hipster art world, with the likes of Gerhard Richter and Damien Hirst among their holdings, are suddenly zeroing in on Ron Nagle, who is the only ceramic artist to be honoured by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His 1990 Incense Burner, with its deeply perturbing sense of mystery, is highly prized.
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