LOS ANGELES — About a year and a half ago we did a small pop-up shop with L.A.-based artist Brian Rochefort. It was a successful little endeavor for both Brian and ourselves, to say nothing of the few who were lucky enough to get their hands on one of his heavily glazed, sculptural cups. Garth Clark summarized his feelings about this emerging talent:
What they contain is some of the most exciting radical glaze painting (a genre which CFile keeps pointing out is growing in stature) that I have seen in a long time. There is more control in the result than one might imagine, the multiple firings require forethought, but still results in an abstract expressionist, polychromatic, hyper-tactile coulee that is remarkably rich, unctuous and immediate.
Above image: Brian Rochefort, Craigslist #5, re-glazed Craigslist ceramic object, 8 x 8 x 8 inches. Courtesy of Heller Gallery.
In the time since Garth wrote those words, we’ve seen Rochefort’s star rise even higher. He was featured on the Armory Fair in new York and has his second show coming with The Galley Is Closed, in Brussels, This is a busy spring for the sculptor; he’s had shows at both the Richard Heller gallery and BBQLA. What interested us most about these shows is that Rochefort isn’t being exhibited with other sculptors. Instead, he’s showing alongside painters. This is great as it allows Rochefort to stay loose with his mediums. His works also read like edgy ambassadors, attractive but impolite, for the contemporary ceramic art community.
His first exhibit was a group show at the Heller Gallery. Matt Miganelli, Brian Rochefort and Russell Tyler (Santa Monica, CA, February 20 – March 19) brought Rochefort’s vessel’s up against Miganelli’s nearly monochrome architectural paintings and Tyler’s thick, heavily tactile works. The gallery says of Rochefort’s work:
Rochefort’s vessels, ceramic “paintings” and sculptures flaunt the anxious and risky mindset of disorder and chaos in the face of the viewer, reminding us that the Horror Vacui exists. His works are homages to both AbEx and contemporary painting, he builds layers slowly and uses multiple firings in his quest for texture.
The seductive messes and goo that spread out in our lives, regardless of our attempts to contain them, are the insistent presence at the forefront of the work. Freezing untidy, mucky moments, the works scream at us to pay attention to their nauseous ornament, throwing up our most base fun-house selves, celebrating the pleasure, beauty and horror of the entirety of what is worldly and human.
His next show was Marinade (Los Angeles, April 23) at BBQLA, a venue that is in the running for least-functional gallery web site. The group exhibition was curated by Timo Fahler and included Rochefort, Dashiell Manley, Jennifer Guidi and Bruce Bourassa. As with the Heller show, Rochefort’s sculpture provides a weighty counter to the flat paintings and drawings lining the walls of the exhibition. Gone is the multi-colored glaze worship of his cups, but the selections demonstrate how well Rochefort’s work scales up.
Do you love or loathe these works of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.