NEW YORK—Los Angeles-based mixed media artist working in ceramics Brian Rochefort is known for his gloopy glaze-barnacled cups which defy what ceramic, especially surface, is expected to be. In his debut solo exhibition HotSpots at Van Doren Waxter gallery (November 3 – December 22, 2017), Rochefort continues along this trajectory of rigorous exploration and investigation with each organic form of glazed stoneware and earthenware appearing as a small scale of the cosmos encompassing myriad celestial structures and the vast earthen depressions and tectonic eruptions contained within them.
Featured image: Brian Rochefort, HotSpot (detail), 2017, Stoneware, earthenware, glaze, glass, 15 x 14 x 14 inches
AlphaSixty writes Rochefort transforms the surface structure his organic forms with smears and clumps, where multiple layers of glaze bubble, crack and spill away stripping with each layer any utilitarian purpose.
[Rochefort] deals in the kind of sculpture and ceramic that defy, seemingly, the mediums’ guiding principles, all while staying reverential to its historical context. His modern creations serve as inflamed versions of a surface’s base potential.
Inspired by his recent year-long travels throughout South and Central America and Africa, Rochefort’s new body of work draws from his encounters with earth’s natural beauty. HotSpots features 17 works, 12 of which Rochefort calls “craters,” the gallery writes.
Rochefort’s craters are created utilizing a process that is both additive and subtractive; each piece begins as a large unfired work that Rochefort smashes, and sometimes breaks apart, imbuing the piece with spontaneous uncertainty. The works are then submerged in mud and clay—drying and cracking to build mass—and then fired over to add color and build texture, airbrushing gradients and then using glazes; a single work can go through a process of multiple firings.
The inside of Rochefort’s crusty sculptures is pooled glazes and melted glass on the bottom of the work evoking a marine habitat, a Hubble photograph or an extinct volcano, like in his piece Sierra Negra, referencing the artist’s various travels. One can’t help but notice there is something distinctly different in this exhibition from his other works, it appears Rochefort has forgone his luster-y gloss in exchange for matte-appearing engobes yielding a rich gradient watercolor effect.
Rigorous investigations into process and material, Rochefort’s work pushes the formal and technical confines of the medium of tradition-bound ceramics; he expands past its limitations to new territories of freedom, invention, and play.
You can read an interview between AlphaSixty and Rochefort here.
About the artist: Brian Rochefort (b. 1985) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (2007) and participated in the Lillian Fellowship Residency at the Archie Bray Foundation (2009). Rochefort has participated in group exhibitions, at The Cabin (Los Angeles, CA), Sorry We’re Closed (Brussels, BLG), Retrospective Gallery, (Hudson, NY), and Steve Turner Gallery (Los Angeles, CA). He was awarded the Lillian Fellowship from the Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts in Montana, 2007-2008. Rochefort is currently included in the museum exhibitions Regarding George Ohr at Boca Raton Museum of Art, FL and From Funk to Punk at Everson Museum of Art, NY, both 2017.
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