Claire Partington, a ceramics artist living and working in London, is a storyteller. The artist says that the aesthetic of her spellbinding figures is inspired by the “European Applied Art and Design styles from the 1600s onwards.” Yet, she’s fascinated by the tradition of appropriating so-called “exotic” styles and cobbling together influences into a single artifact also drives her work.
Japanese artist Takako Yuki’s fantastical ceramic art evokes both feelings of whimsy and uneasiness, with beings that seem birthed from fairytales and the natural world. These often-child-friendly creations contain flourishes of sadness and strangeness. The artist says that there are several emotions at play in the process of forging these works.
Sculptor and ceramics artist Johnson Tsang, based in Hong Kong, creates surreal, spellbinding faces in porcelain. Dramatic and often humorous, these characters are warped in varying emotions, whether it’s a distorted, yet intimate kiss, total relaxation while being massaged, or contorted far behind comfort. Two series from this year, “Lucid Dream” and “Stillness,” show just how wide-ranging the artist’s imagination can be, all using the human face as its foundation.
Tsang’s work last appeared on HiFructose.com here.
For the past 50 years, Pacific Northwest artist Patti Warashina has been creating ceramics that merge a range of themes including car culture, politics, and feminism. While her earlier female “shrines” contained vibrant pops of color, her most recent figurines are made of bone-white china. The characters take on the form of witches dancing around a fire, and nude devils and mortals riding in and alongside cars. Warashina explains in an interview with Seattle PI that she is inspired by Greek and Egyptian columns in the form of female figures, small court figures from the Han Dynasty, and early Japanese Haniwa figures.
Wookjae Maeng creates ceramic sculptures filled with animal characters. Often gathered together in stylized arrangements, Maeng’s works utilize the shapes of these creatures in surreal ways that bare little resemblance to nature. This disorienting effect is intentional: One of Maeng’s goals is to make his viewers consider humans’ impact on the environment and the way we often thoughtlessly manipulate nature to suit our own ends. “In my work I hope to provide an opportunity — however brief — for modern man to consider the realities of the environment in which he exists, even as he continues his daily existence indifferent to it,” he says.
While Dirk Staschke’s past work has had a meticulously polished look, his latest series of sculptures for his upcoming solo show, “Executing Merit” at Seattle’s Winston Wachter Fine Art, reveal the rough-hewn edges of his process. Staschke (whom we featured in HF Vol. 23) creates opulent ceramic still lifes that evoke 17th-century vanitas paintings. In his previous pieces, he labored to conceal the evidence of his hand-executed process. His latest work, however, juxtaposes pristinely glazed forms with unglazed, unrefined surfaces, exposing the craft behind Staschke’s typically immaculate work. “Craft and skill have always been important in my work and by examining this further my recent sculptures have become an exercise in relinquishing control,” wrote Staschke in his artist statement. “Executing Merit” opens on March 3 and will be on view through April 15.