Collaborative exhibition Love Is a Many Splendored Thing at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery (Los Angeles, January 27 – March 4, 2017) is a cross-generational showing of new sculpture by British artist Jesse Wine and historic works by the late California ceramist Peter Voulkos (1924-2002).
The collaboration engages ten new ceramic sculptures by Wine in conversation with five important works by Voulkos dating from 1956-1981. Together these sculptures reveal a modernist sense of lyricism that runs throughout the oeuvre of both artists. Voulkos’ work in the show comprises three iconic “stack” pieces, an early “cut out” vessel and a groundbreaking deconstructed vessel from 1956.
Working in a variety of tropes and idioms, Wine engages in a range of imagery as an homage to the poetics of Voulkos’ ceramic forms. A conduit for shared ideals and pursuits, the work transcends generational separations and embraces the core sentiments found within the two artists’ varied visions.
One of Wine’s works in this show, for example, constructs a narrative alluding to the mythology of Voulkos’ oeuvre and charisma. The guitar body with a supporting human limb makes a “musician” to which a dismembered leg dances, romanticizing Voulkos’ passion as an accomplished Flamenco guitarist.
Within this approach, Wine also adopts Voulkos’ well-known “Rocking Pot” form, recreating it, writ large. To Wine, this is the most radical sculpture Voulkos made, an Abstract Expressionist piece simultaneously borrowing from an Asian architectural style and upending a utilitarian approach to ceramics.
Wine’s shifting approach to making art is an examination of identity and what it means to have, or not to have, a signature style. This echoes Voulkos’ pedagogical mantra “No rules. No rules,” and draws upon ideas of self-expression, freeing oneself from recognized process or style, and developing a unique language.
Love Is a Many Splendored Thing was the title of a lost early Voulkos work; no documentation exists, other than the title.
Text (edited) by Parrasch Heijnen Gallery.
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