Welcome to Spotted, our weekly round-up of happenings and sightings in the worlds of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics. Let’s dive head-first into Crystal Morey’s stunning chimera-like sculpture.
Above image: Crystal Morey, Delicate Dependency: Brown Bear With Oak Adaptation, 2016
Oakland-based artist Crystal Morey’s almost mythological oaken bear-headed woman sculpture (or female-bodied bear?) is part of her upcoming Entangled Wonders exhibition (Seattle, Washington, March 2 – April 1, 2017). Morey says her work draws upon humanity’s relationship with and influence on the natural world.
Intentionally or unintentionally, we are rapidly affecting changes to the environment that would have taken natural processes millennia. Through these actions we are leaving many vulnerable species and habitats frantic, facing disruptions and uncertain outcomes. In my work I investigate these actions while also creating an evocative and mysterious narrative that shows our interdependence with the land and animals around us.
We just can’t get over Kate Malone’s crystalline vessels. Earlier this month, we featured her sparsely bedazzled vase. Today we share with you her lustrous Dynamic Magma work. Her vase appears to be almost shielded behind a forcefield of white, cream and metallic ceramic jewels. Inspired by nature, Malone says her work is rooted in the semi-molten rock, volatiles and solids found beneath Earth’s surface.
The objective is to convey a sense of pleasure in the making and transmit a sense of optimism. Often figurative, more recently abstract, Nature and The ‘Life Force’ are inspiration and subject. The 1980’s was nature of the sea, then in the 90’s nature of the land and, most recently under the earths’ crust, the ‘magma’ and crystal formations.
Find more of Malone’s work at Adrian Sassoon Gallery.
Belgian sculptor Johan Tahon creates elongated humans figures with stunted limbs, as seen in his Apollon work. According to his Artsy artist statement, Tahon employs Greek and Gravettian sculpting techniques while leaving his work raw and unpolished to demonstrate the physicality of his process as well as to evoke an existential experience.
His oversized plaster head sculptures challenge existential notions of space and reality, making intangible human emotions visible.
Los Angeles-based artist Marc Horowitz takes to humor, often at the expense of society (himself included), in his satirical ceramic works. With his projects’ often lyrical titles, such as What do you all want from me, may I ask? and Do your dirty work, you get a feel for Horowitz’s sense of irreverence. In a write-up showcased on his artist page, author Maria Olson writes Horowitz’s work is like an inside joke.
Horowitz’s projects frequently maintain a night show flavor, while evolving into a Game of Life vibe. The resulting work has parlayed his “nice gestures” into synchronous bodies of painting/sculpture and photography/video work concerned with conjuring novelty items, inventing freakishly whimsical abstract tableaux, and generally adding a meta-layer of absurd observation to everyday practices…All the charisma, all the self-deprecating earnestness seeps in, and we are left oddly sated by the cozy level of human familiarity present in the lines Horowitz draws across artistic traditions and by the rich variety of materials he deploys. This crazy world starts to seem a little more crazy-awesome.
American ceramist Peter Pincus’ Vase in Gray Gradient elicits an almost dizzying effect; the viewer feels enraptured in the vectors found in his optical illusion-like work manifested by his inquisitive use of gray scale. His work is finished with a gold-dipped rim; a beautiful luster to his gray vessel.
My curiosity for pottery and vessel has extended to include painting and sculpture, and my present work is evidence of that evolution. I believe that color interaction can elicit new ways of seeing so I have dedicated the last five years to its study. Frequently, I elect to stage conflict by introducing an assertive color field to an equally emphatic form. This friction augments and enriches perceptions of space.
Transdisciplinary Danish artist Maria Lenskjold’s Untitled ceramic work appeared in a group exhibition Fictional Functions (Copenhagen, Denmark October 30, 2014 – January 4, 2015) at Etage Projects. Etage states it asked each artist to transcend ‘design,’ and rather imagine and create something that has, and could have, a function.
Going beyond the utilitarian needs of traditional designed object, these pieces express their functions as fulfillment of the physical, intellectual, or psychological pleasures…Rather than design, Etage wants to reflect on objects that surround us and the stories and reflections they produce.
Sao Paul-based artist Beto Shwafaty’s Acculturation is (Not) Integration series sheds light on anthropologic consequences of society’s multicultural landscape challenging viewers to think critically about multiculturalism versus assimilation, especially as the result of self-serving corporate interests.
He develops a research-based practice on spaces, histories and visualities in which he seeks to connect formally and conceptually political, social and cultural issues that are converging to the field of art.
Shwafaty’s vessels were part of ARTBO’s 2016 art fair (Bogota, Colombia October 27 – 30, 2016). The fair, which strives to coalesce cultural exchange and research, congregates the attendance of international collectors, curators, museum directors and cultural institutions, journalists in arts and culture, heads of international fairs and professionals of contemporary art.
Toronto-based artist Chris Curreri’s topsy-turvy ceramic vessel from his Sixes and Sevens series is built on the idea that things in the world are not defined by essential properties, but rather by the relationships we establish with them, his artist biography states. Curreri’s works appeared at the La Biennale de Montréal (Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2016 – January 15, 2017), which aims to showcase the aesthetic and social issues addressed by contemporary art.
There are not clay, but rather stoneware tables by GamFratesi studio, a design duo composed of Danish architect Stine Gam and Italian architect Enrico Fratesi.
A project inspired by the aesthetic of mid-century Scandinavian stoneware vessels. We have always been fascinated by their sculptural clean lines, the combination of texture on the surface, the play of natural colors, with sophisticated crafted glaze color variations. When several vessels are arranged together, they become more than decorative, a composition of stoneware expresses a simple picture of meditation.
Heads up Instagrammers, English-American ceramist Tony Moore is stepping up the selfie game. Moore’s Who Knows Why? installation is an assemblage of 150 clay body casts of his own head, many of which are housed in six monolithic steel cages, while others are oriented on the floor. Vivian Goldstein writes the work brings up several questions and reflections.
What are we to make of this collection of disembodied heads, which appear quite peaceful with their closed eyes and in contemplative repose?
1) What is the relationship of the individual to the collectivity?
2) How do we as individuals invest fully in our lives while knowing that our common fate as human beings is the inevitability of death?
3) Is it possible for there to be the experience of real freedom in the midst of a social/political climate which discounts the value of diversity and individual choice and makes us virtual “prisoners”?
4) How can we balance our desire to be simultaneously recognized for our unique attributes, while at the same time wishing always to be part of a larger whole?
Tony Moore’s work challenges us to reflect upon these questions, and others. Looking at “huddled masses” of heads imprisoned in cages creates a sense of claustrophobia and suggests a mass grave, but the serenity of the visages themselves may suggest that we are equally prisoners of our own mental structures, and not merely the victims of those who seek to dictate how we should live and how we should think.
Do you love or loathe theses works of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics. Let us know in the comments.