SANTA FE—Arriving at Peters Projects, you catch a glimpse of the seductive collage work of an iconic American artist as you walk into the adjacent room. There, you’re beckoned into the ancient Burmese city of Bagan, but upon closer inspection of these temple-like objects, you find familiar images—street photography of New York City, Chicago and L.A. Through the nearby adobe-style doorway, you’re struck by framed images of the same artist’s photography, from which he creates his pots. Beyond there, you’re greeted by vignettes of ceramic critters.
On display at Peters Projects in Santa Fe is three very different exhibitions: Peter Olson’s Photo Ceramica, Kim Dickey’s Unshielded and a beautiful display of Beatrice Wood’s coy collage work in Menage.
Philadelphia-based photographer and ceramist Peter Olson‘s first major exhibition Photo Ceramica (December 15, 2017 – February 10, 2018) featuring forty ceramic works and twenty unique photographs came direct from the critically acclaimed exhibition at the American Museum of Ceramic Art.
Olson has spent over 35 years as an accomplished photographer traveling the world recording his visual experiences on film. Expanding his art, Olson learned how to throw on the wheel at The Clay Studio just six years ago and has continued working with the medium ever since, the gallery writes.
Using his own photography, Olson transfers his imagery on to his independently breathtaking ceramic minarets. Owning both image and form, he prints, flips, turns and tessellates his images to an almost obsessive degree. Varying in scale, each motif circumvents around the undulating protrusions. Once fired, the prints burn away leaving behind permanent sepia toned images from the iron oxide in the ink.
His delicately patterned pieces embody fluctuating visual narratives, as kaleidoscopes that span centuries and continents.
Peter Olson’s subjects retain a connection to Western art history and religion, but hone in on his passion; street photography. These vignettes capture the city streets most familiar to the artist, with its harried workers and “angry strangers” as he calls them. Among the cities included are Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. The artist delights in the challenge of these increasingly complex surfaces and nuanced patterning of images on his ceramic vessels. Classical art historical references abound in the artist’s enthusiasm for museums and iconography, spliced with modern people in full motion.
Colorado-based artist Kim Dickey‘s first exhibition at Peter’s Project Unshielded (December 15, 2017 – February 10, 2018) features the artist’s recent figurative sculptures shown as part of her mid-career retrospective at MCA Denver.
Revealing themselves in a variety of ways, Dickey’s densely layered foliated surfaces cover the creatures causing them to hover in a place between landscape and architectural ornamentation, the gallery writes.
Like calligraphic description, the white stoneware leaves covering each form take on changing characters, evoking illusions of fur or feathers, and even armor.
The sculptures suggest some form of vulnerability as they remove themselves from the safety of merely architectural ornamentation or the ground cover of the forest. Creating this space between is the base of each sculpture, which acts as a shield, elevating each—unbound by their history, inheritance, familial connection or time.
“Each sculpture references a certain quality such as fidelity, endurance and timeliness. And yet, for every assigned attribute, the meaning sometimes flips. It is something I perceived in the way these animals were employed in heraldic imagery with their attendant family mottos. While presenting these creatures as moral champions, conversely the animals that families often chose knowingly embodied false claim to character strength. In other words, they acknowledge that we are all fallible and that message is latently embedded in these images. Human strength lies in our consciousness of this fact – in our humility. These images act as reminders of those imperfections, and our all-to-human-ness.” — Kim Dickey
Finally we return to the dark, kissing booth-like alcove housing the collage works of Beatrice Wood. Made up of the various lace findings, ribbons and scraps of paper Wood collected over the years, the provocative, yet coy naïveté of the collages is certainly blush-worthy. One such image features the pink silhouette of two figures about to kiss is cut from a single sheet, from which the blade was never lifted.
You can find more of these racy images and love letters in Garth Clark’ Ménage: Beato.
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