Monday, December 28, 2009

Prehistoric Ceramics of New Jersey

After the contemporary but timeless-feeling vessels of Toshiko Takaezu it was fun to stumble on the archaeologically-minded show on the lower level at the museum in Trenton. The raw clay samples, shards with geometric incised decoration and large reconstructed bowl forms were neato.

Toshiko Takaezu @ The New Jersey State Museum, Trenton

This exhibit at the State Museum honors the New Jersey potter and showcases a large number of works culled from the large donation which she made. There is a fair amount of natural light in these galleries, though the squat, boxy, 1960's feel of these spaces, with their charmless barriers and clunky, over-reflective plexiglass vitrines make it hard for the viewer to breathe with the volumes that make these pieces seem earthbound yet puffed up and buoyant at the same time. And they are definitely of the earth. The glazes are forthright, simple, bold; lots of oxide washes done with a very wide brush, or poured or splashed on. I retract my prior post's statement that the Newark show was more colorful. If I am lucky, I will get to meet this potter someday.

The goblet shapes were new to me. Beneath them, a trio of what she calls stones of the moon.

Many gorgeous pots

There are lots of beautiful surfaces. I liked this dark vessel with an opening.

Toshiko Takaezu @ The Newark Museum

I saw this show the day after seeing the larger one in Trenton. Some similarities, though this show had a bit more color.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

More Accidental Sculpture


In case you thought I only cared about making coffee mugs.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pamela Sunday @ Van Den Akker

This show was called Macroscopic, and had great pieces. I missed out on the meet & greet with the artist and ended up really wishing I hadn't, since there were lots of things I'd have asked. There is a very labor-intensive handbuilding going on here; a very tenacious focus on the details. Appears to be mostly stoneware. I would have liked to learn more about the firing and glazes. Sunday works out of a studio in Brooklyn and has a prior background in fashion, as a stylist. As always, I have done the best I could with the photographs, but there is a lot that doesn't quite come through in them. Oddly, I failed to get a shot of what I think was my favorite piece of the group, a minutely detailed one called Hive. The bronze colored spiky one on the crazy marble tabletop reminds me of a blowup version of the burrs from a sweetgum tree. I believe the light colored ones are called Burst, and the one above them Electrum.

There is a nearly black, solarized feeling to the glaze of the above piece, Oculus, which had me thinking of an old-fashioned diving helmet. The other piece is Cellular Sphere. The detail gives a little bit of the sense of how sandy-textured this unglazed one is.

The dark brown stoneware sphere with the negative-space cubbyholes called Tangent looks really great on this table with the tigereye-looking veneer insets. I am also a big fan of this pair of lamps.

Gallery Van Den Akker is at 210 East 58th Street, New York

Cheryl Ann Thomas @ Nancy Margolis Gallery

I got a kick out of the way California sculptor Cheryl Ann Thomas refers to herself as the "world's oldest emerging artist" in an interview I saw among the press materials at the Margolis gallery. She seems to be in her early 60's, and just fairly recently getting noticed and showing regularly.

These pieces, all called relics are made of incredibly fine coils of porcelain, and are about 24" across - give or take. Black or gray coloration is a result of additions to the clay body; the works are unglazed. She builds up a relatively stable, vertical vessel shape which will then slump in the firing. In a second firing, she will sometimes put two pieces in proximity to let them meld in a second firing. I was more interested in the way these 2-part pieces formed a relationship than I was in the single, grayish wall piece. Skeins of wool, cocoon husks, dried leaves were some of the shapes that these reminded me of. Nice stuff.

Nancy Margolis Gallery is at 523 West 23rd Street.

more signs of the times

. . . .and, aren't they all?