Tony Marsh’s crystalline and terrestrial vessels don’t shy away from their material. Appearing of the earth, encrusted, amorphic––each is an alchemical concoction of glazes, slips, englobes, raw powdered materials, minerals and cement––their evocative forms command the viewer with their singularity. A monolith on the mesa.
“There are real and imagined allusions to the physical sciences, earth formation, geographic phenomenon, force, time and landscape in my work. Ceramics is a transformational art which is dynamic in every phase of the process and I fully embrace that phenomenon. I set up conditions wherein unexpected results occur that lead to discovery which stimulates curiosity and innovation.”Tony Marsh
At Frieze New York, Marsh’s Crucible ceramic vessels are cleverly presented alongside “the eye-bending optical paintings of Anoka Faruqee & David Driscoll at Koenig & Clinton,” The New York Times writes.
We aim to bring together two distinct mediums, focusing on materiality and the control of natural forms through traditional applied techniques.Artsy
Grouped along a large table display, the Crucibles themselves are distinct: tall, slight, stout, and playfully obstructing one another. In presenting the work in such a way, each appears to elevate and exalt their neighbor, even those relegated to the wall.
At Santa Fe-based Peters Projects’ VISCERAL CLAY exhibition (March 29 – June 8, 2019), Marsh’s solitary Crucible brings to the forefront the artist’s process, and how the manifestation of that process, with its earthy, knobby limbs, elicits an intimate and visceral reaction to reach back. It’s no wonder the gallery had to add “look don’t touch” to the title of its exhibition.
The pocky pots were also spotted at Peters Projects last year in Tony Marsh: American Moon Jars and Crucibles (March 23 – May 25, 2018). This time displayed in contrast to a series of crystalline “American Moon Jars.”
Not only did each moon jar take on a more fantastical endeavor than its milky globular Korean cousin, but unlike the Crucibles, their cantilevered protrusions delicately presented a small, often colorful, gem-like offering. Again, Marsh’s works, powerful and alluring, dare us draw in closer.
Following this alchemical journey, Marsh’s newest encrusted pots can be seen in Cauldrons & Crucibles: in search of the sublime at Lora Reynolds Gallery (Austin, March 28 – June 08, 2019).
Part alchemist, part scientist, part shaman—Marsh says he is always looking for magic in his work, and he hopes there is “at least something small of an eternal truth encoded in what I make.” Crucibles are fixtures of science, cauldrons of sorcery. Truth and magic, science and sorcery—with his Cauldrons and Crucibles, Marsh is asking questions, making connections, and solving problems that are as old as thought itself.Lora Reynolds Gallery
Watch a discussion between Marsh and our own Garth Clark:
Marsh’s 2017 Crucible is available for bid in our Garth x 50: CFile Benefit Auction, which honors Garth Clark’s 50 years of ceramic scholarship.