The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Tag: Ceramic

In her ceramic sculptures, Janet Beckhouse taps into ancient contemplations on life, death, and nature. Though at times disconcerting, with writhing floral elements enveloping her figures, each work is executed with elegance. Beckhouse crafts these sculptures in both towering and handheld scales.
The elaborate distortions created by Hong Kong-based sculptor Johnson Tsang continue to evolve, with a recent showing at Giant Year Gallery of works from his “Lucid Dream” series. Tsang was last mentioned on here, and he was recently featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 46.
Toshiya Masuda’s ceramic sculptures simulate the building blocks of pixels, creating everyday objects. The Japanese artist has been pursuing this fascination for several years with works that appear to be ripped from a classic 8-bit video game, predating Minecraft's bolstering of the aesthetic.
Genesis Belanger's ceramic sculptures take everyday objects and inject a strange strain of humanity into them. The works, often mixing stoneware and porcelain, carry both humor and surrealism in this active evolution. All are so vivid and burlesque in their execution that they appear to be ripped out of an animated world.
Natalia Arbelaez’s figures, often built with clay, carry both humor and sadness in their strange forms. Her white ceramic sculptures, in particular, offer texture and personality that feel at once human and something subterranean. The Miami-born Colombian-American artist has excited her pieces across the U.S.
In Erika Sanada’s “Cover My Eyes,” running through July 30 at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco, viewers find a new batch of ceramic sculptures from the Japanese artist. Sanada's “dogs” typically feature at least one physical mutation and represent ongoing anxieties in the artist's life. She explains the addition of new animals this time around: “The rats and birds present with the dogs are further extensions of myself and my fears. Birds, like my anxieties, are difficult to contain and control, and are always a part of me and my work.” The artist was featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 31.
Malaysian artist Umibaizurah Mahir's meticulously crafted ceramics are almost exclusively in the form of stylized, comical creatures, like three dimensional hand-made cartoons. The complex psychology of her collectible "toys for adults” places them at the intersection of man, society and nature, where nothing is what it seems. Like Collodi's "Pinocchio", these naughty objects are often on the run, trying to escape on hand-painted ceramic wheels and wings, climbing their pedestals or breaking out of their frames.
Patti Warashina is a Pacific Northwest based artist known for her imaginative ceramic sculptures that are full of wit and sarcasm. At age 76, she does not stop inventing. Featured here on our blog, her clay figures are usually placed in fantasy environments, where she uses sculpture to explore such themes as the human condition, feminism, car-culture, and political and social topics.
For San Francisco based artist Erika Sanada, animals have long represented a sort of escapism from reality. Featured here on our blog and in Hi-Fructose Vol. 31, her creepy-cute sculptural incarnations of "zombified" baby creatures are analogies to her own demons. Over the years, we've seen her sculptures evolve into more dynamic pieces of art; playful, narrative scenes colored in a spectrum of somber hues. She explores a bolder, darker palette and decoration in her upcoming solo, "Cope."
When we think of beauty in nature, we immediately think of things that dazzle the senses- the prominence of a mountain, the expanse of the sea, the unfolding of the life of a flower. For Polish artist Aneta Regel, there is also a beauty in nature's unpredictability: it's ability to "sculpt" rock formations from weathering and erosion, or the dense arrangements of moss on a tree branch. The London based ceramist challenges our perceptions with her work and makes us interested in these overlooked transformations.
At first, Colorado based artist Courtney Mattison, who describes herself as a visual learner, began sculpting her elaborate works inspired by sea creatures as a better way of understanding them. But over time, her love and admiration for these organisms evolved into a message about their well being and preservation. Previously featured here on our blog, Mattison hopes that her ceramic sculptures and installations, based on her own photographs of different organisms living in coral reefs, will inspire others to appreciate the beauty of the ocean as she does.
Baltimore, Maryland based artist Brad Blair designs imaginative sculptural monstrosities that combine features of real world animals with those from our dreams and nightmares. His works are an elaborate mixture of media, made of primarily clay and ceramic, natural parts like fox tails and fish fins, rubber cast tongues, and mechanical elements like watches and monofilament, giving them a certain science-fiction or cyborg quality.
Vipoo Srivilasa works predominantly in ceramics. He uses porcelain clay to hand build his work, then he paints over it with cobalt oxide to obtain the blue color. The last step of this process consists of firing the work at 1200°C. According to the artist, his work is saturated with symbols taken from different religions, although it’s not meant to evoke religion itself, but rather to reinvent certain religious images. "For the series Roop-Rote-Ruang (Taste-Touch-Tell), I used the Buddhist philosophy of Ayatana as a reference for my work. The Roop-Rote-Ruang (Taste-Touch-Tell) Project is a series of dinner parties that I hosted to embrace the Buddhist concept of "Ayatana" and the six “channels of awareness” (my guests’ sight, taste, smell, hearing, touch and mindfulness)”, he says.
Santa Fe, New Mexico based artist Max Lehman instills humor and playfulness into his surreal ceramic sculptures of ancient characters. Like artifacts of his youth, his whimsical versions of South American pre-Columbian gods, ghosts, and other creatures embody everything that the artist grew up on and loves, including 1950s advertisements, cartoons, graffiti, and punk rock music. Perhaps there is no better description of his work than the title of his next exhibition, "Gods + Goop + Gobbledygook", opening at Stranger Factory in New Mexico on January 8th.
Pennsylvania based photographer Peter Olson has found a unique way of presenting his photographic prints. Also a sculptor, he doesn't stop at traditional photo paper- his photo-montages of people and places he's visited are produced on a series of ceramics that he calls "Photo Ceramica". Olson's photos are encased on each piece, left by ink from prints that, when fired, burn away and leave a permanent image from the iron oxide in the ink. The form of a three-dimensional object, such as an urn or a plate, instantly makes his photo works more dynamic and complex.
There's something oddly beautiful about the work of Kansas based artist Jamie Bates Slone. Her vibrant sculptures are teaming with diseased growths and discolorations, and the effect is simultaneously fascinating and horrifying. Slone can relate to the physical and emotional impact that disease brings. "Through conjured memory, I revisit my family’s history with illness and premature death. These memories are flooded with emotion and anxiety that I use as the base of my sculptural work," she says.
If we continue spewing pollution into the atmosphere, our climate will only continue to change, and the oceans will be very different than they are today. Ocean temperatures will rise, and with that, rising PH levels will make the water more acidic. It's simple chemistry and a sad fact. So how do we solve this problem? Artist and ocean advocate Courtney Mattison has made it the mission of her ceramic sculptures to remind us of the ocean's beauty and inspire preservation. Her "Changing Seas " series, previously featured on our blog, is Mattison's first major work towards this goal.
Kim Simonsson's ceramic sculptures of strange children and their forest animal friends are like something out of a Nordic fairytale. Some of them have long ears giving them a fairy-like appearance, with empty eyes that make us wonder what lies underneath their ceramic "shell". Previously featured on our blog, their strangeness is in part due to Simonsson's combination of influences from Western and Eastern pop culture. Opening on October 8th, Simonsson will reveal his latest series at Jason Jacques Gallery in New York.
Ceramic figurines are like little reflections of ourselves. Historically modeled after royalty, famous actors, and unusual characters from every day life, they can show us who we are and where we come from. Scotland based artist Jessica Harrison sees figurines in much the same way, but beauty is only skin deep. She turns those reflections inside out to reveal her subjects' personality and complexities underneath.
Berlin-based artist Anna Lea Hucht creates drawings, watercolors and ceramics with solemn, and sometimes sinister undertones. The works have an aesthetic lightness which betrays their more disquieting subjects. Upon first look, Hucht's domestic scenes are peaceful, tame. However, closer observation reveals individuals forlorn, lost among the trinkets and knickknacks that fill their homes. Hucht's artworks are intriguing for their exacting detail that lends a specific personality and history to the people depicted. For example, Hucht offers clues about a woman seen behind a bookshelf containing a flask and beaded fringe lamp situated between ceramic vases and kitsch figurines.
Canada based artist Brendan Tang creates classical influenced vases infused with the kind of visual dynamism found in Japanese manga. First featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 6, Tang continues to develop his mecha-like "ormolu" which combine contemporary subjects with 18th century era ceramic art techniques. Over the years, his art objects have increased in size, as in his recent collaboration with artist Alex McLeod, and he has also branched out into digital drawings.
The enchanting yet eerie ceramic sculptures of San Francisco based artist Erika Sanada were first featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 31. In that feature, we included works from her previous showing at Hi-Fructose Vol. 31, "Odd Things", where the artist touched upon themes of newborn innocence and death. She returns to the gallery on August 15th with an uplifting new series, "Fighting Spirit". In our recent studio visit with Sanada, she shared with us the personal inspiration behind the series where she seeks to defeat her own anxiety.
Erika Sanada's ceramic sculptures of puppies and other animals, featured in HF Vol. 31, are sweet yet a little chilling. Her surrealistic pieces give animals a dreamlike quality that draws the viewer in. Their disquieting nature is a reflection of Sanada's own fears and anxieties in her daily life, which she expresses through her artwork. In her artist statement, she calls this her "dark side". Sanada is looking to finally conquer these feelings in her new series, which she is now preparing for her next exhibition at Modern Eden Gallery. Take a look at our photos from Erika Sanada's studio after the jump.

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