Through February, Schulman Project presented Revisited In White, a solo exhibition in Baltimore by Julie York. York has played an influential role in reshaping the use of clay as a medium in craft. Her work draws inspiration from ceramic’s prodigious history moving beyond the discipline with an unconventional approach to her studio practice.
During the summer of 2012, York was given a unique opportunity to spend three weeks at the Maryland Institute College of Art participating in the Creative Residency in Ceramics and New Technologies project. This NEA funded residency allowed York to explore the potential for the synthesis of ceramics and digital fabrications. During the residency, York created work that investigated the hybridization of ceramic traditions with new tools and technology.
The work on display in Revisited In White is directly from from her time at MICA. The exhibition is comprised of a series of large laser cut “drawings” on white paper and small slip cast porcelain objects arranged linearly along the base of the gallery walls. The laser cut drawings, created through computer software programs, depict skeletal structures of vessels made by four of the most significant ceramic artists in the 20th century: Shoji Hamada, Robert Turner, Peter Voulkos and Lucie Rie. The slip cast objects are miniature replicas of the same forms depicted in the drawings. These objects were also designed using software programs then “built” using a 3D printer.
The modernist ceramic artists were chosen by York because of their influential role in the twentieth century studio pottery movement and for their unwavering commitment to creating work with the hand as opposed to industrial processes. As with all of York’s work, it begins with the inquiry, followed by the investigation. York is interested in exploring how work by these iconic artists would be seen under a twentieth century lens. In doing so, she raises several important questions. How do new technologies impact the perception of history? How can ceramic’s history be told through a contemporary approach? Can digital technologies function within the framework of craft and our notions of the handmade?
Julie York is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts and Material Practice at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and an artist who works in traditional craft materials using non-traditional approaches. York has received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Independence Foundation Fellowship, and two Creative Production Grants from the Canada Council for the Arts. Her work has been included in numerous shows internationally, including a solo exhibition at the Garth Clark Gallery in New York City; her work is also part of numerous permanent and private collections.
Text by Benjamin Schulman, the exhibition’s curator.
Above image: Julie York, White on White, P. Voulkos, 2013, paper, 22 x 30 inches. From York’s recent Revisited in White exhibition at the Schulman Project. Photograph courtesy of the exhibitors.