Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tyler Speicher @ Greenwich House Pottery's Made In Clay

I brought these cups home with me from the annual GHP benefit sale. Their maker lives in Iowa. What attracted me to them instantly was the very blocky shapes that really reminded me of grain elevators and other architectural forms of the wide open spaces. They are fired electrically to cone 6, and the glazes are commercially prepared - both facts I found surprising. He also had some neat small plates and canister-type vessels that I was pining for. Great work.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ken Price @ Nyehaus

This gallery is in a funky brownstone ( 358 W. 20th St. ) and had the walls painted vibrant Pricean hues for this cool show of things from the 1960's and 70's

These cups rock!!

These hard-to-classify shapes were viscerally creepy/compelling.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Here we see a ceramic piece that shows a nesting group of sausage-link, snake-like forms. In a New York Times article, Nick Stillman refers to Price's surfaces as emitting a "paranormal glow". Numerous layers of paint are laid down in carefully determined sequence and then abraded to achieve this surface. There is an incredible uniformity to this manufactured weathering, and something tells me that it is the sanding that is the trickiest part of making these.

These were among the smaller pieces at Matthew Marks, but were some of my favorites. The comico-phalllic, balloon animal quality makes me smile, but I think that at least some of them relate to the wave forms that can repeatedly be seen in sculptures and drawings by Price. My feeling is that he is reflecting upon the wave experience as a series of segments and thinking about the lift and the curl, of something momentous, but also momentary.

Lest We Forget

I saw this sidewalk chalk-graffitit when I was walking home from work late on Friday night, and feeling just a bit grouchy & fatigued. Trying to get used to my new contact lenses, scurrying down a blustery cold Great Jones Street, this reminder of the tragic fire that took the lives of 146 mostly very young, immigrant women and injured 70, was a reality check of sorts. The horrific toll of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was a tragedy waiting to happen. The cramped and fabric-strewn sweatshop floors were bolted shut from the outside by supervisors in order to prevent workers taking unauthorized breaks. Many of the victims burned to death, but many others jumped to their deaths from the 9th and 10th floor windows as the fire raced through the loft spaces because fire department ladders weren't tall enough to reach them. It is harrowing to read the accounts of those who watched from the street as these teenaged girls grabbed hold of each other before leaping from the building. We're not talkin' Thelma and Louise, here. In the fire's aftermath, many worker-protection improvements were made possible, and the Ladies' Garment Workers Union gained strength. The former Triangle Factory building on Washington Place now belongs to NYU.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kukuli Velarde @ Barry Friedman Ltd.

This Peruvian-born, Philly-based artist had a show a couple years back at Garth Clark that was featured in this blog. Here I had a chance to get a much more expanded idea of what she is about and to meet her and talk a little bit, which was terrific. The ceramic vessels from her series entitled "Plunder Me, Baby" look a bit larger than the ones I had seen before, and their biting wit is still very much in evidence. They are gorgeous, and so technically accomplished. They each feature glass eyes that meet your gaze, seem to follow you. Accompanying each piece is an index-card "label" such as would be seen in an ethnographic museum, circa 1970's, its faded-out typewritten description of the geographical source of the "find" followed by a ballpoint-pen "observation" on the character, nature, difficulty in handling, or warnings about what (bad) behavior the captive is likely to exhibit. The facial expressions range from sullen to defiant to startled to ingratiating to brazen to blase'. The overall effect is: watch out for these displaced firecrackers!

There are two other parts to this show; it almost has the feeling it could be a small museum exhibit. A large number of figure paintings in oil on aluminum panels from a series called "Cadavers" reference historical styles, gender roles, and personal history.

The third component of the show, "Apple of His Eye" combines a performance-piece, where the artist completes a wall drawing that frames the projection of a video in which her late father speaks about his hopes for his daughter.

The show continues to April 17th. I recommend it highly.

Made In Clay at Greenwich House Pottery

It is time for the Fundraising exhibit/sale at Greenwich House. Lots of great work at rockbottom prices. Chance to meet super-great folks and talk pottery!! Get on down to Jones St. in Greenwich Village this weekend if you are out and about, and grab yourself some righteous clay items.