Welcome to Spotted, your weekly guide to bits n’ pieces from the contemporary ceramic art world. We have a quite a few selections this week, including a short review written by CFile’s Chief Editor Garth Clark!
Our first selection comes from the studio of London Royal College of Art Graduate Patricia Mato-Mora. Colorful and made of component vessels, Mato-Mora’s three Horror Vacui pieces is an attempt by the artist to touch “the flow of the universe.” The artist describes the work:
Horror Vacui is composed of three sculptures, each of them an ode to natural growth patterns, particularly those found in submarine settlements. Patricia has taken the module of the Roman amphora as a formal starting point and then reimagined this industrial module of Antiquity as the base material for her natural growth formations to play with.
Patricia has been working with set designers and builders to develop a modular system that, once adhered with the colorful putty, becomes one single piece. The adhesive methods utilized are borrowed from theatre set construction and would cause the terracotta to break before the adhesive tears.
Patricia’s works have spaces and the life within them as a point of departure. Trained as an architect, and with a background in architectural journalism, Patricia is interested in the capacity of spaces to act as vessels for storytelling and collective imagination – it is stories in spaces, not the spaces themselves, that shape human experience.
Her current interests lie in manifesting, through her work, ‘the flow of the universe’, that what happens ‘of itself’. She understands the division between man and nature to be illusory: nature is all there is. There is no art, nor architecture – all there is are manmade works, in the same way that there are termite works. As such, Patricia’s artworks are natural occurrences, as necessary to her human condition as a nest is to the bird condition.
Michele Oka Doner: How I Caught a Swallow in Midair
Michele Oka Doner’s much-anticipated exhibition How I Caught a Swallow in Midair (Pérez Art Museum Miami, March 24 – September 11) came with little fanfare, few reviews and no buzz. It could be the installation that failed to ignite media. It was somewhat funeral, forbidding and foreboding. It was literally dark (though the lighting played for high drama) and scattered.
We assume it all was meant to coalesce in some kind of unity, but it did not, remaining disparate, like the site of dig, left incomplete without time for organization. Nonetheless Doner’s early ceramics, such as the doll shown above, remain much sought after by collectors. They are both dead and alive at the same time, enlivened by touches of earth mother, sacrifice, fetish, voodoo ritual, scarification, healing and eviscerating. They are dark poems set in contradiction.
— Garth Clark
Lauren Skelly: “Freshly Funk” at the Clay Art Center
Clay Art Center is pleased to present Freshly Funk (Port Chester, New York, July 23 – September 17), a solo exhibition featuring the sculptural works of emerging New York artist Lauren Skelly. Freshly Funk features a site-specific installation and other abstract sculptural works exploring landscape, color and texture.
Skelly forges new rules by combining, collaging, and conglomerating abstract forms that allude to landscape, decorative arts, and a mixed sense of place. Seeing the New York landscape as an organized chaos, she pulls inspiration from both rural and urban environments – from The MET’s china exhibition to the beach on Long Island. Skelly uses diverse materials from traditional ceramic glaze to neon flocking and metallic luster, an assemblage of color and surface to create a coral reef of modular forms. Her large-scale installation, Awkward Beauty, will be featured where modular (but individually unique) sculptures will fill the gallery for an array of texture, color, and form that spreads amorphously across the space.
Lauren says about her work:
“I am drawn to the chase; the need to explore surfaces across mediums and emulate found textures in clay. I consider myself an explorer, seeking new ways of layering, swirling, forcing, bending, breaking and reusing surfaces. A conversation between elements of nature emerges from my practice: flora, fauna, rocks, and the tooled objects made by man are called to mind. In combining them, I forge a new perspective of these elements.”
Pale, Fine Porcelain by Nika Stupica
Slovenian designer Nika Stupica doesn’t have much of a footprint on the Internet, but we just had to show her fine, fragile and pale porcelain works to you.
The artist states that then thin and seemingly frail works have the slightest ghost of color to them. Stupica takes advantage of basic qualities of porcelain, such as translucence and whiteness. Her goal is to make each cup of tea a kind of delicate, otherworldly ceremony.
EXPOSED: Heads, Busts, and Nudes at Ferrin Contemporary
Our colleagues at Ferrin Contemporary are hosting an exhibition of figural ceramic sculpture from the 1970s to the present. They say of Exposed: Heads, Busts, and Nudes:
The group of noted American and British sculptors explores themes that range from social realism to otherworldly surrealism to abstraction of form. The overview illustrates how early practitioners in California’s Bay Area during in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, and Stephen De Staebler, continue to inspire artists today. Known for their use of clay in combination with painted glaze surfaces, these artists challenge presumptions and their work defies easy categorization as sculpture, decorative arts, or studio craft.
Leslie Ferrin, gallery director and curator of this exhibition explains, “We are focusing on the lineage between generations of contemporary artists who are working within the figural genre. The first generation of post WWII artists inspired a second and now a third generation of contemporary artists exploring figural sculpture through their work, teaching, and the educational programs they established. Likewise, the first generation of collectors is actively feeding new and established collections through gifts and sales of masterworks collected during their lifetimes.
“By exhibiting works from artist studios, estates, and private collections that together span five decades, we are creating a generational investigation that explores the work of contemporary artists who were educated in the programs founded by the master artists.”
The artists in the project include Robert Arneson, Rudy Autio, Christie Brown, Beth Cavener, Cristina Córdova, Claire Curneen, Stephen Dixon, Jack Earl, Edward Eberle, Philip Eglin, Viola Frey, Alessandro Gallo, Georges Jeanclos, Gerit Grimm, Coille Hooven, Sergei Isupov, Doug Jeck, Takahiro Kondo, Michael Lucero, Kadri Pärnamets, Esther Shimazu, Dirk Staschke, Akio Takamori, Tip Toland, Patti Warashina, Kurt Weiser, Beatrice Wood.
Do you love or loathe these works of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.