Zimra Beiner and Nathan Prouty were recently paired for an exhibition titled Fabricated Fictions (November 6th-December 19th, 2015) at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland, Ohio, curated by James Barker. Both artists have clear momentum in the field of contemporary ceramics, with exhibitions and accolades stacking up. Beiner has taken huge strides this year with solo-exhibitions at Cross MacKenzie and at Sykes Gallery at Millersville University (where Beiner is a Ceramics Instructor) and work included in Constructed, at the Nightingale Gallery of Eastern Oregon University. Prouty is a Visiting Artist at the University of Cincinnati and teaches in UC’s DAAP Ceramics department.
Above Image: Nathan Prouty, 2015, Red earthenware, glaze, foam, resin, glitter, mixed media, Image Courtesy of the Sculpture Center
“Beiner and Prouty are makers, bringing their thoughts into the third dimension through a high level of craft and material understanding, and working with themes of absurdity, humor, domesticity, and the human condition. These compelling pieces are comprised of mostly fired and glazed ceramic, and also incorporate found objects, wood, foam, resin and various mixed media. Fabricated Fictions is an exhibition intended to illuminate the process of seeing, thinking, and making. It is a glimpse into the way we fabricate and abstract our own personal realities” (Sculpture Center).
Beiner’s gooey abstraction Resting Stand melts together figures and domestic objects slurring the human experience into one giant ball of melting vanilla-caramel ice cream. Your impulse is to reach your hand out and catch the viscous drips or else lick the pile to sweet cleanliness. However, his work is not a minor life tragedy like melting ice cream. Beiner’s human-scale sculptures are portraits that take on the identity of each viewer, freezing a process of fatal disfiguration so you can reflect on your life’s insignificance with a chuckle.
Prouty’s curiosities also take us into a familiar alternate realm, but one that questions origins, a fitting counterpart to Beiner’s focus on current experience. Prouty’s sculptures give us enough clues to feel like we should know exactly what we are looking at, but in a foreign circumstance. You feel embarrassed for not understanding such a simple moment when all the answers are exposed. The piles of patties and cylinders in pieces like Sheckledeckle show their presumed properties clearly (hardness, flexibility, weight, and stickiness), but their happenstance, texture and function remain in question. These are mundane narrative instants turned precious, showing us there is more richness in moments overlooked than we may realize.
Together, the work elicits a range of sensual focus – experiencing Beiner’s work with your body and then reading the details of Prouty’s with your eyes. This range translates to refocus our everyday life, outside of the gallery, shedding light on the rich moments in-between.
Justin Crowe is a Writer and Director of Operations at cfile.daily
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