Welcome back to Spotted, our weekly roundup of interesting tidbits from the worlds of contemporary ceramics and contemporary ceramic art! This week we’re kicking off with the work of Kazimir Severinovich Malevich, the father of suprematism. Here’s a wonderful plate in his signature style. Kazimir is our introduction to this week’s theme for Spotted, Historic Ceramics, that is to say ceramics that are either from history or informed by historic artistic movements. Let’s get on with it!
Above image: Kazimir Severinovich Malevich, Plate: Dynamic Composition, 1923; porcelain, polychromatic overglaze and painting, 9 2/5 inches diameter. On offer through Sophia Contemporary, London.
A pioneer of geometric abstraction, Kazimir Malevich wrote a manifesto, From Cubism to Suprematism: The New Realism in Painting, and founded the Suprematist movement in 1915, according to his Artsy biography. For Malevich, painting had to be free of political or social content, purely aesthetic, and concerned only with formal issues of line, shape, and color. Declaring his Black Square (1915) the “zero of form,” Malevich signaled an end to pictorial conventions and the origin of a new, modernist language of content-free forms. While Suprematism began before the Revolution of 1917, its influence was pervasive in the early Soviet period until the rise of Social Realism. Although Malevich eventually returned to representational painting, Suprematism had a huge impact on the development of abstract art in the both Soviet Union and in Western Europe.
Fire and Ice, Beth Katleman’s newest work, is a unique pair of handmade porcelain mirrors that offer a contemporary reinterpretation of Chinese Chippendale girandoles, according to Todd Merrill Studio. Inspired by the Robert Frost poem of the same title, Katleman combines rococo opulence with a dose of pop culture and the tradition of luxury porcelain with elements that are decidedly low-brow: each porcelain figure is hand-cast from the artist’s collection of flea-market trinkets, kitsch souvenirs, and toys. While these found objects bring their own histories, when juxtaposed, shifts in scale add a surreal, otherworldly quality. In Fire and Ice, Pastoral scenes dissolve into a dark fairy tale: a parade of flower girls ends in a swan boat to oblivion, a girl’s head erupts into a mushroom cloud, and a tiny woman in an evening dress looks on from a balcony above. In a displacement of time and history, Katleman’s signature dark humor comes through, creating tableaux that are seductive, playful, and unsettling.
Katleman holds a BA in English from Stanford University, an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and an MBA in Arts Management from UCLA. She has taught at Pratt Institute, New York University and Greenwich House Pottery in New York. Born in Park Forest, Illinois, Katleman lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Pailós’ painting responded to the constructivist diagram by endowing it with an outstanding chromatic refinement and a special sensitivity, both in the design and the handling of signs, that identified his work and led to the success of his works.
He was successful in sculpture. One of his works of greater recognition “Monument”, is in the Sculpture Park contiguous to the Liberty Building. In 1996 he won the Figari Prize awarded by the Central Bank of Uruguay, important recognition that the many national and regional awards that the artist was marking history throughout his life adds.
Master Pailós’ work can be found in private collections in Uruguay, Spain, the United States, Argentina, Germany, Israel and Colombia. The National Museum of Plastic Arts of Montevideo has numerous works of his, as well as the New Culture Center of Buenos Aires.
Oriental Ceramic Society at Sothebys
This winter, to coincide with Asian Art in London, the Oriental Ceramic Society will hold an exhibition of rare Asian ceramics at Sotheby’s. Some 200 examples of ceramics, mostly from China and Japan, and all drawn from members’ collections, span the complete range from Neolithic to contemporary pieces. Curated by Regina Krahl, a leading authority on Chinese ceramics and former president of the Oriental Ceramic Society, the exhibition is the most important of its kind to be staged by the society since its 50th Anniversary Exhibition in 1971.
A prolific and tireless innovator of art forms, Pablo Picasso impacted the course of 20th-century art with unparalleled magnitude, according to his biography. Inspired by African and Iberian art and developments in the world around him, Picasso contributed significantly to a number of artistic movements, notably Cubism, Surrealism, Neoclassicism, and Expressionism. Along with Georges Braque, Picasso is best known for pioneering Cubism in an attempt to reconcile three-dimensional space with the two-dimensional picture plane, once asking, “Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” Responding to the Spanish Civil War, he painted his most famous work, Guernica (1937), whose violent images of anguished figures rendered in grisaille made it a definitive work of anti-war art. “Painting is not made to decorate apartments,” he said. “It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.” Picasso’s sizable oeuvre includes over 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, theater sets, and costume designs.
Spanish, 1881–1973, Malaga, Spain, based in Paris and Mougins, France
Hao, who is based in Jingdezhen, China, had this to say about this historic point-of-reference work: It was eye opening to Jingdezhen people when the gas kiln was first introduced to Jingdezhen in the 1980’s. It reduced the wood kiln firing time from 3 days to 8 hours, and sped up the production cycle, enabling an even more precise grasp on quality control. Now, a new wave of technology like 3D printers and microwave kilns are being introduced to Jingdezhen. How will these new technologies change the way Jingdezhen artisans make porcelain?
“Piss and Vinegar”
The New York Academy of Art is pleased to announce the major exhibition Piss and Vinegar, which unites two generations of provocateurs. Piss and Vinegar presents ten artists whose work is marked by dark, maniacal humor, from R. Crumb, Peter Saul and Robert Arneson to Nicole Eisenman and Natalie Frank.
Curated by Peter Drake, Dean of the Academy, and gallerist George Adams, Piss and Vinegar consists of five men who came of age in the 1960s and five contemporary female artists. Robert Arneson, Robert Colescott, R. Crumb, Peter Saul, and Robert Williams, whose satirical, sarcastic prints and paintings demonstrate influences from psychedelia to MAD Magazine, will be shown with Nina Chanel Abney, Sue Coe, Nicole Eisenman, Natalie Frank, and Hilary Harkness, whose work demonstrates the same subversive wit and “fuck-off” spirit. No one subject or affiliation unites the two groups, but the exhibition particularly highlights the choice these artists made to pursue uncomfortable and ostensibly unpopular themes, and to risk having their work called vulgar or grotesque. Each artist moreover brings to the table serious technical skill, sense of purpose and art historical fluency, in the service of pushing the boundaries of “good taste.”
Ormulu is a gold-colored alloy of copper and zinc that was typically used in 18th century decoration and furniture. We have some stunning examples of that on offer by 1st Dibs for the low, low price of $23,800.
Do you love or loathe these examples of (not quite) contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.