We’ve been thumbing through sculptor Nicole Cherubini’s back catalog of exhibitions this week. We’re back again today with an entirely new one at Samson Projects, Golden Sepcific (Boston, October 30, 2015 – January 9, 2016).
Above image: The Way of The White Clouds (White Structure with Blue) detail, 2015, earthenware and glaze, 72 x 18 x 13 inches. All photographs courtesy of the gallery and the artist.
In an earlier post, we quoted Cherubini on pots. Pots have been with humanity so long, she said, that the shape of them is imprinted somewhere on our DNA. Her work challenges that ancient concept. How does the vessel change when it’s hugged by a wooden structure? How much of its objecthood can you surgically remove before it ceases to be a vessel? What if a classic-looking and lusciously glazed urn is fused to a cheap plastic bucket from a hardware store? The works we’ve seen at Samson Projects show Cherubini continuing to push against the vessel as an ideal.
Reviewing the show for Big Red and Shiny, Zach Horn called Golden Specific “meditative.” The artist’s vessels color the room and each of them rests atop a high pedestal. Horn felt a heavy sense of narrative in the space and found himself wondering about what strange kingdom could have given rise to such pots. He states:
The sculptures in Golden Specific are emphatically contemporary but with significant history, like the punky offspring of a storied dynasty. Usually, we encounter these types of vases on these types of bases in museums, such as the porcelain urns that line the main staircase at the MFA. These works seem to beg for inclusion in an encyclopedic museum to sit alongside the terra cotta originals, the way that the Met placed El Anatsui’s tapestry, Between Heaven and Earth, next to the Kente cloths. Locating Cherubini’s work amongst the amphorae in the Greek and Roman collection would highlight her contrasting materials, as well as her evolution of the urn and the pedestal.
Cherubini’s juxtaposition of simplicity and abundance imbues these abstracted forms with stillness. The sculptures have transcended their classical inspiration. Though colorful and whimsical, Golden Specific has an aura of quiet that deserves prolonged reflection.
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