value the brain & cut the priviledge
February 1st to February 28th, 2018
Artists: Christopher Reid Flock, Sami Tsang, Natalie Waddell, Jeannie Pappas, Andrew Tarrant, Kaleb Romano, Kaitlyn Brennan, Callie Beller, Chase Benjamin Plourde, Amanda Kopas, Shaun Peter Mallonga, Kaas Ghanie, Julian Covey, Carole Epp, Kate Grey, Pansy Ass Ceramics, Ciro di Ruocco, Elsa Brittin, Amelia Butcher, Bridget Fairbank, Dianne Lee, Mariko Paterson
It’s February again; like it or lump it. This is to say that it is once more that in/famously saccharine month of cherubs & chocolates. If such thoughts cause you to GAG-with-a-spoon however, may that spoon at least carry Liquids, Creams & Gels (LCG) by Mariko Paterson. I am referring to a funky new exhibition of contemporary Canadian ceramics curated the creative powerhouse from Nova Scotia’s Forage Studios. Sometime last year, Paterson challenged a number of fellow Canuck ceramicists to produce new works for this show and what she’s got back is a wild assortment sure to appeal to every taste. A collection of works by twenty-two exciting artists (including Paterson) that represents a mix of emerging and established ceramicists spread between the ports of Vancouver and Halifax, Liquids Creams & Gels is the Gynocratic Art Gallery’s (GAG) first exhibition of 2018 and, it is gutsy. Whether your preferences lean toward the sweet, or you’re more inclined towards life’s saltier side – Liquids, Creams & Gels has just the salve for you.
Paterson is an admirer of all things Funk Art, which is a loosely related ‘concept’ of art as opposed to an ‘art movement’ that emerged in California in the late 1960s as a rebuke of the NYC abstract expressionism. Funky art tends to celebrate private metaphor, self-deprecation, erotic & scatological motifs, ambiguous intent, and healthy doses of moral ambiguity (Schuster, 2017). Paterson has kneaded together some ‘muddy’ expressions of love with the airport security customs of foraging for ‘liquids, creams and gels’ and come up with this show’s unconventional concept. The results of which are, a remarkable, bold, funky and unapologetic ‘love-child’ of a ceramic show.
In an article marking the 50th anniversary of the first Funk exhibition in California, author Clayton Schuster, explains that “[Dadaist artist] Marcel Duchamp’s readymades (Fig. 1) as well as the works of Jean Arp, Joan Miró (especially “Object” from 1936), and Méret Oppenheim (Fig. 13) are each singled out as possible prototypes, or distinct examples of funk” (2017). Aesthetic similarities between this art historical works, and those in LCG are a credit to of Paterson’s curatorial selections as much as the prowess of the artists. Schuster goes on later in his essay to quote another ceramicist from the original 1967 Funk exhibition, Jim Melchert (Fig. 3), who explained that “[Good funk] attempt[ed] to resolve those two essences of mankind: one a striving toward perfectibility, the other a kind of gross realization that we’re all just animals.” Paterson has said in the past that she herself wants to “broker the historical vs. hysterical ceramic fight club real bad” (2016) so we can happily leave that headache to her and simply revel in the glory of this show. Each artist in show has made work that – above all else, and regardless of its ‘funk’ – could be described as addressing the beauty of our common fallibility in one way or another.
Figure 1. MARCEL DUCHAMP. ‘Fontaine’ (1917). Found porcelain urinal, black paint.
Figure 2. ROBERT ARNESON. ‘Golden Rod’ (1969), stoneware, 7.75 x 8 x 11.5 inches. Retrieved online at https://cfileonline.org/c-collect-cowans-modern-contemporary-ceramics/
Figure 3. JIM MELCHERT. ‘a’ for Magritte’ (1970), stoneware. Retrieved online at http://jimmelchert.com/portfolio-items/the-a-show-1970/#foobox-1/35/JImMelchert_AForMagritte_side-1.jp
One might ask, what it is that gives a vessel its ‘vesselness’? I would suggest that vessels are foremost an omnipresent idea. A vessel means ‘wake-up’ as we raise that first cup of coffee to our lips in the morning, and another means ‘time to rest’ as we place water at our bedside at night; in many cases, our ashes will rest in one when our time is nigh. However, vessels (whether they sit or float) are containers for objects, for bodies, messages, and for emotions, traveling across vast oceans of time and space.
Betty Woodman was an acclaimed American ceramicist who passed away this January. For over six decades she created bold work, she made installations that referenced various periods from art history always with a feminist eye. On the occasion of her exhibition Theater of the Domestic in 2016, The Institute of Contemporary Arts (UK) noted that, for Woodman “the vase can be a vessel, a human body, and animal figure, a metaphor, or an art-historical reference.” At times, Woodman’s works were all these at once – permission that she could have taken from Funk, and standard that many works from LCG live up to.
Grayson Perry (Fig. 4) is a celebrated British artist who won the famed Turner Prize in 2003 for his seemingly inauspicious vessel Village of Penians (2001). Perry is among the most well-known contemporary ceramicists and public thinkers of our time; his BBC talks titles The Descent of Man (rethinking masculinity and public stereotypes surrounding ‘manhood’) and his Tate Modern talk ‘What Makes an Artist?’ are equally exceptional and worthy of considerable refection. The Royal Academy of Arts (UK) describes Grayson Perry’s work as possessing, “[..] a dissonance between the conventional forms of his vessels and the depictions that adorn them. He uses imagery and text to chronicle social concerns, his own formative experiences and to tell the story of his alter ego, Claire” (R. A. A. online). Perry himself says about his work that he likes;
[..] the whole iconography of pottery. It hasn’t got any big pretensions to being great public works of art, and no matter how brash a statement I make, on a pot it will always have certain humility… For me the shape has to be classically invisible: then you’ve got a base that people can understand. (Ceramics Now online, n.d.)
Figure 4. Claire [Grayson Perry] next to the piece ‘Bad Portraits of Establishment Figures 1’ (2017). Retrieved https://www.rtbf.be/culture/arts/detail_l-exposition-artistique-la-plus-populaire-de-tous-les-temps-grayson-perry-aux-serpentine-galleries?id=9620891
I bring up these influential artists in connection with Liquids Creams & Gels first of all because the overarching context of Paterson’s exhibition calls-on idea of vessels for containment, their concavity and if not their functionality, then image of their purpose which each Woodman and Grayson willingly tamper with. Secondly, I bring them up to evoke again thoughts of amazing creativity and fearless approaches to the medium of clay (as with the Funk), for this is also what you will find in LCG. Elsa Brittin’s seemingly unassuming little bottle, Too Much (2018) (Fig. 5), is her “response to the constant policing imposed on women and their bodies by patriarchal Western society and very much in line with the current campaign’s Time’s Up and Me Too. It is also in the spirit of Anne Peterson’s popular feminist book ‘Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud’ (2017). Chase Benjamin Plourde’s The Amazing Testosterone Medicine Bottle (2018), and Kaitlyn Brennan’s Love and Rejection, all from 2018, are also interesting vessels containing narrative elements.
Figure 5. Elsa Brittin. ‘Too Much’ (2018). Porcelain, cork, approximate dimensions: 4 x 1.6.
A historian might contend that all roads paved with sculpture, eventually lead to Rome… (the saying goes at least something like that, no?!) and Andrew Tarrant’s work in LCG would be no exception. Regarding his work (a black and beautifully shining ‘liquid-soap dispenser’ shape) he explains, “in ancient Rome the Fascinus, or Divine Phallus, was used to ward off the Evil Eye… by ejaculating into the Evil Eye. Now you can ward off the Evil Eye at home, and keep your hands smooth, with your very own Fascinus Lotion Pump” (Fig. 6). Returning to Grayson Perry’s notion that, in the creation of a ceramic vessel “the shape has to be classically invisible: then you’ve got a base that people can understand”, works such as these by Brittin, Plourde and Tarrant – in addition to alluring works by Natalie Waddell, Callie Beller, Kaleb Romano, Kaas Ghanie, and Ciro Di Ruocco from in LCG – offer a fantastic and challenging range of contemporary works. Collectively, they are resolute (at times even cocksure), seductive, and also political – each work offering its own platform for meaningful reflection.
Figure 6. ANDREW TARRANT. ‘Fascinus Lotion Pump’ (2018). Ceramic, approximate dimensions, 7″ wingspan.
The renown Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi once noted about ceramics that, ‘its attractions lie partly in its contradictions. It is both difficult and easy, with an element beyond our control. It is both extremely fragile and durable.’ Christopher Reid Flock is an ceramicist in LCG from Ontario. His work in the show, Untitled (2018) (fig. 7) is an exquisite, gray, basket-like form resembling a frozen waterfall, or a Rococo-era wig set for a modern-day Marie Antoinette, or even the Sakko hairstyle worn in Japan by geisha’s (styles differ relevant to the stage a geisha is at in her apprenticeship training). This last connection rings truest to Flock’s own personal narrative, because in 2000 he moved to Japan to study. During the course of his nine years of independent training there, he developed a profound appreciation for Japanese ceramic art. Flock notes that over his in Japan he also discovered what he describes as, “a heightened awareness of who I am as a Canadian”. Japanese, Canadian or otherwise, his works seem to defy gravity and challenge the limits of elegance and refinement; they are simultaneously bold and light – courageous and delicate. In every way this piece, and others from Flock’s large body of work, are not to be missed.
Figure 7. CHRISTOPHER REID FLOCK. ‘Untitled’ (2018). [Inset] Maiko Kimika (2009), Kyoto, Japan.
Sweet, tender, and traditionally amorous may not be the most accurate way to characterize the majority of the works in Liquids Creams & Gels but, it does help introduce a few of them. I’m thinking particularly of the works by Sami Tsang (The Swimmers), Carole Epp and Ciro di Ruocco. All heads and kinked necks, Tsang’s figures feel weighty and full as they float atop their pedestals. Modest, but nowhere in the stratosphere of ‘dull’, close attention to this piece is rewarded with the discovery of little (groping?) hands painted onto each face, one of which seems to playfully double as a cheeky smile… Any perception of shyness emanating from The Swimmers is explained in part, by knowing that Tsang grew up in a conservative culture (Hong Kong) and then moved to a more permissive one (Canada). In reference to this, she notes that “though I am still not comfortable with the topic [of love and sex], [by creating The Swimmers] I was able to explore my limitations. Using my work as a conversation starter and interacting with others allows me to get more comfortable with the subject [of physical affection]”.
Equally endearing from this show is Carole Epp’s ‘swimmer’, on the face of her oval white platter (Wild Blue Yonder) (Fig. 8) Epp has drawn a sweetly-tattooed, longhaired mermaid who is perched atop a rock in the ocean, lovingly watching three small fish circle her tail. Immediately evident is the strength of Epp’s illustrative talent, and a quick tour through her website makes clear that she equally adept when it comes to sculptural work. Her piece Privilege (2016) (Fig. 9) is sort of ‘Feminist Lena Dunham meets Raft of the Medusa (Fig. 10) and I love every minute of it! My hope is that Epp continues to make more work like this, both functional and sculptural.
Figure 8. CAROLE EPP. ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ (2018) ceramic platter.
Figure 9. CAROLE EPP. ‘Privilege’ (2016), ceramic sculpture.
Figure 10. THÉODORE GÉRICAULT. ‘Raft of the Medusa’ (1818-1819).
Figure 11. SHAUN PETER MALLONGA. ‘Open Reliquary to the Miracle of Slipping’ (2018). Red stoneware soap dish, hand-carved Ivory® soap, and soap scum, approximate dimensions: 5 x 5 x 3.25.
Maneuvering through love – and through liquid – can be treacherous. One hopes not to make a slip; however, artist Shaun Peter Mallonga of British Columbia doesn’t strike me as the fearful type! About his piece Open Reliquary to the Miracle of Slipping (Fig. 11), he writes, “on this season of aching Valentine hearts, I call forth and venerate an ivory apparition of slipping from the depths of my domestic life. [..] May this soap and dish heal your heartache from the foot or root of its ugly face.” This work of Mallonga’s brings to mind of a piece by René Magritte, Red Model (1934), which is also about ‘treachery’. The well-known Surrealist painting is set outdoors and centers a solitary pair of dark leather boots that morph into bare feet ‘standing’ on gravel next to a dirty scrap of cloth. Mallonga’s work is essentially a soap dish; the focus of which is also a lone pair of feet that rest next to what might be the edge of bathhouse wall. On top of the piece rests a baby’s foot – bottom up –hand-carved from a bar of Ivory® soap. The central themes of this show are so strong in this work; Cupid’s presence is evoked by this little ‘pure’ bare of soap, while all things Surrealist and Funk are ready to swirl together down the drain as Mallonga continues to lift inspiration from “the depths of [his] domestic life”. I for one, sure hope that he does!
Curator Mariko Paterson has written about Amanda Kopas that “her works lures you in with nods to the historical past and then, confronts you with issues that linger forefront on the minds of women today”. Kopas’ new work for LCG, Diva Cup (Fig. 12), is no different; the piece is part Gothic chalice and part feminist call-to-arms, part corrupted Surrealist nightmare (à la Meret Oppenheim. Fig. 13). Kopas commented that “My Cup of Joy is Overflowing is one of many jokes that [people make] refer[ing] to someone menstruating.
Figure 12. AMANDA KOPAS. ‘Diva Cup’ (2018). Glazed ceramic, approx. dimensions 7” x 4” x 4”.
Figure 13. MERET OPPENHEIM. ‘Object’ (1936). Retrieved online from https://www.moma.org/collection/works/80997
Amelia Butcher’s Primp Kit (Fig. 14) is also a work that also inspires the imagination, only in a way that is much closer to reality. Butcher’s observation that cosmetics are industry where “sharp tools of technology and aesthetic ideals come to bear on the body’s softest, wettest, most delicate tissues” could not be more on point – or more affective. As a viewer it is lovely (maybe a ‘tiny bit disconcerting’) to contemplate how one might apply/make-use of the imaginative arrangement of pieces from her ‘kit’ – seemingly much more sex-toy than, Bonnie Bell… This work has a good deal in common with other pieces from the show including Kaleb Romano’s Organizing the Vanity, and Chase Benjamin Plourde’s The Amazing Testosterone Medicine Bottles, and Kate Grey’s Indulge. I can’t get Butcher’s statement out of my mind, she writes that, “cosmetics live at this really interesting intersection of function and frippery, where the sharp tools of technology and aesthetic ideals come to bear on the body’s softest, wettest, most delicate tissues” (from LCG Exhibition statement).
Figure 14. AMELIA BUTCHER. ‘Primp Kit’ (2018). Ceramic, flocking, liquid electrical tape, silicone, approximate dimensions: 8 x 8 x 2.5.
Artists Kate Grey and Dianne Lee chose to collaborate on their pieces for LCG; the subject of Kate Grey’s work follows in the spirit of Amelia Butcher’s Primp Kit very nicely. An artist who regularly incorporates photography and performance into her ceramics practice, Grey offers photographs of herself using the set Indulge in a casual manner that causes me to think of Canadian artist Suzy Lake’s 1974 feminist work. Lee’s piece It Was All Set up for Her an Online Dating Story is hilariously ceramic in subject, and neurotic in concept! Super fun, Lee’s narrative accompanying her ceramic works reads a bit like the manic inner workings of Brigitte Jones’ mind as you’ll read here;
“FUCK IT, I guess I exceeded the kettles capacity of 135ml because the tablecloth was soaked. The coffee and hot water was dripping to the floor, making a sound that was so slow and repetitive it was calming and extremely irritating simultaneously. […] I blamed everyone but the tea set” (Lee, 2017)…
Preparation, expectation, and anticipation are made palpable in the works by Amelia Butcher, Kate Grey and Dianne Lee each, which also play into what is, for some, the hopeful occasion of Valentine’s Day…
Nova Scotian ceramicist Julian Covey doesn’t profess a direct affinity for Funk Art as his piece in LCG, Bum Cracks & Belly Buttons (Fig. 19) is highly reminiscent of works by some of the era’s most notable artists such as Robert Arneson (Fig.2) and Jim Melchert (Fig. 3). Covey’s tall, slim, peachy-coloured work could also be described as 50% dildo, 50% mini- Constantin Brancusi’s Eternal Column = 100% fun. Covey explains that this work “stems from a new series of works inspired by the human body. [..] juxtaposing unflattering and non-glamorous aspects of the body with amped-up colour and a hyper-sensual glaze surface”. Interestingly, it is also somewhat reminiscent of a piece by Grayson Perry’s Object in Foreground (2016) which is in the shape of a giant penis.
Figure 15. JULIAN COVEY. ‘Bum Cracks & Belly Buttons I’ (2018). porcelain, approximate dimensions: 16 x 7 x 5.
If the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (famous for his erotic, beautiful and graphic black & white male nudes) and the sculptor Jeff Koons (of Neo-Pop Art fame, including the series Made in Heaven which he created with his wife at the time, Ilona Anna Staller, a porn star) had met, fell in love, and reproduced during the Rococo era of 18th century France (yes, I know, I know. I DO recognize all of the impossibilities…) their love-child would be PansyAss.
This Toronto based collective is made up of artists Kris Aaron and Andrew Walker, who note “in our work, we explore gay male identity and culture through the medium of porcelain and the act of ornamentation. For Liquids Creams & Gels we wanted to take the idea of forbidden liquids and play with the taboo of bodily fluids”. This piece, a direct reference to the famous DADA artist Marcel Duchamp’s iconic work Fontaine (Fig. 1) (“fountain”) as well. The artists have added that the piece also speaks to “the history of porcelain in the bathroom and its link to household sanitation”. I would also add that this piece cleverly references the work Immersion (Piss Christ), from 1987, by the American artist Andres Serrano (Fig. 17). That work incited a congressional debate on US public arts funding when it was first exhibited. For the Gynocratic Art Gallery’s ephemeral (online) exhibition platform, PansyAss created a YouTube video of Fontaine Dorée (Fig. 16) so that we can see this glorious work in action!
Figure 16. Pansyass. ‘Fontaine Dorée’ 2018. Porcelain, approx. dimensions: 15 x 12 x 7.
Figure 17. ANDRES SERRANO. ‘Immersion (Piss Christ)’ 1987.
AN OBJECT IS A RESISTANT THING. Ceramics, like any crafted objects, are extraordinarily complex things. They can be approached through many frameworks of reference: technological, stylistic, archaeological, or conceptual. [..] As the word implies, an ‘object’ is a resistant thing. Our own subjective interests collide against it, are transformed according to its dictates, and return to us in ways that surprise us. (Adamson, 2011)
Apothecary jars, fresh herbs, flowers, strong smells that leave one intoxicated … Such a description could easily set the stage for a scene from Harry Potter and yet, it also beautifully conjures the feeling of Storehouse (Fig. 16) from Liquids, Creams & Gels. This piece by Jeannie Pappas is somewhat aside from her usually character-driven work, drawing heavily from childhood memories of time spent with her grandmother. In the online exhibition Pappas writes about being in her grandmother’s shop as a young girl, when a comment is made to her by a customer, noting that she looks like her grandmother, will she be taking over someday. In answer to that rhetorical question from long-ago, Pappas offers, “maybe I would be the one to continue the family tradition by providing people with the elixirs and sustenance to heal their bodies and souls.”
Thought Pappas has chosen a profession that does not involve the dispensing of elixirs, it is clear from the quiet beauty of Storehouse, and from the endearingly-homely cast of caped, horned, winged, or otherwise peg-legged little characters that she regularly mixes-up in her studio that she is certainly following in her grandmother’s footsteps regarding her ability to heal our souls.
Figure 16. JEANNIE PAPPAS. ‘Storehouse’ (2017). Materials: Stoneware, underglaze, rutile, chain and thread and rope.
Figure 17. BRIDGET FAIRBANK. ‘Dumb Palm, Dieffenbachia’ (2017). Earthenware, paper, pigment, soil, approximate dimensions: 60 x 45 x 9.
Ceramicist Bridget Fairbank says, regarding to her piece Dumb Palm, Dieffenbachia (Fig. 17), that when eaten this common house plant “may cause a host of unpleasant symptoms, including intense numbing, oral irritation, excessive drooling, localized swelling and may leave you speechless for days…” These also happen to be the ooey gooey symptoms of love, no? Both installation and object, Fairbank’s work includes elements from nature, painting, and ceramics. Her work is interactive, practical and political, and like the Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija’s (the artist often cooks in the galleries for his audiences) she seems to make her subject both ceramic objects and the gathering together of a community around food. Fairbank creates ceramic planters, grows greens (in the gallery under grow-lights as art installation), and then harvests and cooks that food with her audiences; fact is her motivation couldn’t be more old-fashioned or, timelier. Personally, I am already looking forward to new work from this artist.
Now, a powerhouse from the world of Canadian ceramics, Mariko Paterson. This artist draws fearlessly from a wide range of aesthetic and topics in her work. In the last five years alone, she’s created pieces that touch on American politics (she made a Bernie Sanders RV leading up the last US election) to contemporary feminism (using vintage images of Gloria Steinem, Wonder Woman and Lady Liberty), to fantastically queer strong-men, roller derby girls and Lucha libre (Mexican Free Fight wrestlers). Her work is irreverent, whimsical, well-crafted and always, exceptionally colourful (see Figures 18, 19 & 20). Paterson – a self-professed fan of the Funk ceramics – is (it seems) dedicated to fantastically problematizing societies stereotypes of ‘normal’! Never banal or blasé, she raises her subjects/objects to new levels of quasi-absurdity. Paterson herself notes “I like stymieing my unsuspecting viewers with mischievous intent” and indeed she does, time and time again. In a 2016 essay, Paterson says “(as a student) I was completely blown away by the absurdity of the Chinese Qing Dynasty (the influences of which can be seen in Paterson’s works, fig. 19 & 20). How could an era with such a gruesome yet soap-operatic feel (not unlike the Game of Thrones series) produce such overzealously refined forms decorated to within a millimeter of their life? How could tales of assassination, anarchy, and abdication be reflected in such saccharine-sweet imagery?” Sweet, sweet anarchy: that is a description that Paterson could well have alternately and aptly named her company Forage Studios!
Figure 18. MARIKO PATERSON. ‘Me and Poolio Down by the Schoolyard’ (2018). Clay, glazes, china paint, decals luster, approximate dimensions 14 x 7 x 5.5.
Early in this essay I quoted ceramicist Grayson Perry who says, “[I like] the whole iconography of pottery. [..] no matter how brash a statement I make, on a pot it will always have certain humility “. Paterson’s work is the outgrowth of precisely this type of humility. Take for example her piece Ping Pong Wonders, World Leader Blunders (Fig. 19), the wonderfully cheeky, take no prisoners vase features a kaleidoscope of images ranging from Chairman Mao and mandarin oranges, to ping pong paddles and illustrations of little pig-tail haired Chinese girls. An elongated version of the traditional Chinese fish-shape porcelain vase, the fact that its neck it decorated in a bulbous ring of ping-pong balls seems to almost sneak-up on the viewer. Paterson’s piece Willow-Bago (fig. 20) is shaped like a rectangular Chinese Yuan Dynasty flask and reads like the Griswold’s cousin Eddie[i] visits Beijing; it’s simply fantastic.
Figure 19. A & B. MARIKO PATERSON. ‘Ping Pong Wonders, World Leader Blunders’ (2016). Cone 6 mid-range porcelain clay, a variety of glazes, decals and gold lusters., 15 x 6 x 6.
Figure 20. MARIKO PATERSON. ‘Willow-Bago’ (2014). Clay, glaze, china paints, lusters, decals, mixed media. Collection of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger.
Mariko Paterson’s curatorial theme – ostensibly, ‘love & liquids’- is generative. Ceramicist Julian Covey notes in reference both to the exhibition’s title and to his piece that, “with more than half of its mass comprising of water, the human body is perhaps one of the most dynamic and complex containers of liquids, creams and gels.” Each artist in this show has (with muddy and open arms) done a captivating job of embracing the age-old tradition of vessel making and containment, while imbuing their works with a healthy dose of ‘funky’ subversion. The internationally renowned ceramicist Isamu Noguchi once said, “the attractions of ceramics lie partly in its contradictions. It is both difficult and easy, with an element beyond our control.” The works appearing in this month’s exhibition Liquids, Creams & Gels at the Gynocratic Art Gallery are in brilliant possession of many of these contrasts. They seem “difficult and easy, with an element beyond our control”, just like any trip through airport security…
Please don’t miss this show!
Adamson, G. (2011). ‘An Object is a Resistant Thing’. Ceramic Review. Retrieved online January 30th 2018 from https://permanentcollection.com/an-object-is-a-resistant-thing-glenn-adamson/
Judah, H. (2016). ‘The Great Ceramics Revival: How clay is oozing back into contemporary art’. Independent online. Retrieved January 30, 2018 http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/the-great-ceramics-revival-how-clay-is-oozing-back-into-contemporary-art-a6925961.html
Paterson, M. (2016). ‘Working Potter’. Ceramics Monthly. Retrieved online February 8, 2018 at http://www.foragestudios.com/ceramics-monthle-article/
Paterson, M. (2017). Liquids Creams & Gels. Exhibition statement. Retrieved online January 30, 2018 at http://www.foragestudios.com/liquids-cream-and-gels-the-exhibition/
Schuster, C. (2017). Looking Back at the Strange and Surly History of Bay Area Funk Art.
Retrieved February 8, 2018 online at https://hyperallergic.com/372519/looking-back-at-the-strange-and-surly-history-of-bay-area-funk-art/
Unknown author. (2016). Bette Woodman: Theater of the Domestic. Institute of Contemporary Arts UK. Retrieved online https://www.ica.art/whats-on/betty-woodman-theatre-domestic
Unknown author. (n. d.). ‘Grayson Perry’. Ceramics Now Magazine. Retrieved online January 30, 2018 from http://www.ceramicsnow.org/graysonperry
[i] A reference to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a 1989 American Christmascomedy film directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik and starring Chevy Chase (as Clark), Beverly D’Angelo (as Ellen) and Randy Quaid (as cousin Eddie).
Caught in the nuance of sumptuous lines of coming to form, this basket is woven combining wet malleable clay and the stiffness of resolve at one time. I present a freshly wet, assembled, vitrified form with a reflective surface to punctuate the leap from wet to the met flash of completion.
Materials: Thrown clay, reflective pigment
Approximate Dimensions: 19 x 10 x 13.75
Price: $2000 + Shipping
“As a young woman growing up in Hong Kong, a place with a conservative culture, I was brought up to think that public display of physical affection or discussion about sex were inappropriate and shameful. After moving to Canada 6 years ago, I’ve encountered a different set of rules and cultures. There has been a constant question in my mind of what is allowed and what’s not.
I’ve learned to embrace and celebrate this attitude. I’ve opened my mind to not see sexuality as something bad or disgusting, and that showing passion doesn’t have to be inappropriate. Even though I am still not comfortable with the topic, by making this new body of work, I was able to explore my limitations. Using my work as a conversation starter and interacting with others allows me to get more comfortable with the subject. I hope it can serve the same purpose for my audience.”
Materials: Porcelain, Earthenware, Metal Rod, Color Stain, Color Slip
Approximate Dimensions Swimmer Left: 15 x 8 x 8
Approximate Dimensions Swimmer Right : 15 x 7 x 8
Price: Not for Sale
This piece plays with the idea of discarded and hidden items accumulated in the bottom a city lake or pond. The fish bowl is a portable collection of some of the dangerous, destroyed and beautiful treasures found beneath the surface of the water, buried in the sediment.
Materials: Porcelain, glaze, luster, declas
Approximate Dimensions: 7.25 x 7.25 x 3.5
Price: $180 Canadian + Shipping
Nathalie Waddell’s Website
For pricing and purchase information, please click here.
I remember the first time I stepped into my grandmother’s tiny shop. There was a smell of fresh herbs and flowers hanging from ceiling that left me intoxicated. Shelves covered the walls with apothecary jars and I can still remember her standing in front of a long wooden table looking so placid .
There was an older women standing in the doorway , she smiled and asked me if I might one day take over my grandmothers shop, for I had the same look in my eyes as she did.
Maybe I would be the one to continue the family tradition by providing people with the elixirs and subtainance to heal their bodies and souls.
This pce is inspired by the memory of a 4 year old.
Mateials: Stoneware, underglaze, Rutile ,chain and thread and rope
Dimensions: 24 x 9 x 2 3/4
Price: $2500 Canadian + Shipping
Water imagery abounds in writing of all kinds about love and lust, flow and change being the nature of relationships over time. After all, water and love both are tempestuous, soothing, precious, taken for granted and a necessity of life. They are both cyclical, always in motion, whether we want them to be or not. They’re both…fluid.
Materials: Cone 6 oxidation stoneware with copper decals
Approximate Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.5 x 4
Price: $60 Canadian + Shipping
Love and Rejection
Relationships aren’t always pretty or meant to last, sometimes there is no desire, no passion and just no love. When those bottles can’t be filled rejection is looming nearby. No amount of pink or hearts can fill the holes in rejection.
Materials: Earthenware, fired to cone 04 in an electric kiln
Approximate Dimensions: Bottles: 4 x 2.5 / Tray: 12.5 x 6.75 x 1
Organizing the Vanity
Often counters can be cluttered with all the morning and evening routines. Ritual objects that are used, scattered, discarded, or used to create a kind of armor to face the day. This piece celebrates the daily ritual that everyone partakes in by elevating the objects we use to perform these monotonous, and mundane tasks.
Materials: Mid-fire stoneware, porcelain, thrown, slip cast, press-molded, oxidizing paint,
resin, copper leaf.
Approximate Dimensions: 24 x 9 x 11
Price: $850 Canadian Each + Shipping
Kaleb Romano Website
For pricing and purchase information, please click here.
I was extremely excited when Mariko approached me to be a part of this show! Too be honest, the first time I saw the title “Liquids, Creams and Gels”… I wasn’t sure what to think. But as I thought about it more, I concentrated on the different types of vessels we use to hold our liquids, as well as the different types of liquid we see as important enough to keep in our possession. I instantly thought of the old glass medicine bottles that lined the shelves of general stores and pharmacies in the 1930s. But how could I make these bottles unique? I figured I’d put a twist on their contents! Ever want to grow a beard and have trouble expressing your emotions? “The Amazing Testosterone” is for you! Ever need something to calm you down when you get overly angry about politics in today’s world? Then “Peace in a Bottle” may be the cure!
Materials: Cone 6 Ceramics and Waterslide Iron Decals
The Amazing Testosterone Medicine Bottle (Small)
Approximate Dimensions: 2 x 3 x 5
Price: $35 Canadian + Shipping
The Amazing Testosterone Medicine Bottle (Medium)
Approximate Dimensions: 3 x 3.5 x 6.5
Peace in a Bottle (Small)
Approximate Dimensions: 2.5 x 3 x 4.5
Peace in a Bottle (Medium)
Approximate Dimensions: 3 x 4 x 6
Price: $45 Canadian + Shipping
Open Reliquary to the Miracle of Slipping
On this season of aching Valentine hearts, I call forth and venerate an ivory apparition of Slipping from the depths of my domestic life. Failure is teaching and sobbing is preaching. May this soap and dish heal your heartache from the foot or root of its ugly face.
Liquids, creams, and gels evoke many of my daily activities ranging from my morning shower to cleaning bathroom surfaces. I hope to conjure more wicked alchemy to affirm weirdos and queerdos like myself.
Materials: Red stoneware soap dish, hand-carved Ivory® soap, and soap scum
Approximate Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 3.25
Price: $275 Canadian + Shipping
I was motivated by the cheeky nature of this show’s title, “Liquids, Creams, and Gels”, and I wanted to make an object that could lend itself to crude humor, which inspired the Diva Cup. Diva Cup is a coil built goblet that has been shaped and ribbed to look similar to a reusable menstrual cup. The text reading “My Cup of Joy is Overflowing” is one of many jokes that refer to someone menstruating. I chose to focus on period jokes because humor surrounding menses is often brushed off as a grab for shock value, or gender pandering, rather than just a way to make light of a bodily function.
Materials: Glazed Ceramic
Approximate Dimensions: 7 x 4 x 4
Price: $100 Canadian + Shipping
Fascinus Lotion Pump
In ancient Rome the Fascinus, or Divine Phallus, was used to ward off the Evil Eye . . . by ejaculating into the Evil Eye. Now you can ward off the Evil Eye at home, and keep your hands smooth, with your very own Fascinus Lotion Pump.
Approximate Dimensions: 7″ Wingspan
Price: Sale Pending
When considering the theme of Liquids, Creams and Gels for this virtual exhibition one idea kept sticking out more than the rest of my brain storms. As a child burn victim I needed extensive skin care treatments to help heal my burn. I remember how the nurses lathered my skin in what seemed like a mountain of cream which was to help soothe the pain and aid the healing process. In creating this vessel that mimics the formal qualities of traditional Islamic pot forms, I made the decision to use the surface as a textural canvas for creating a ceramic replication of what a 2nd and 3rd burn looks like.
By scoring, blemishing, and blistering the external surface of the pot, the piece becomes an uneasy decoration to view. This definitely is in contrast the meticulous nature of ceramic vessel and tile decoration associated with Islamic text and ornamentation. I often associate the discrimination of Muslim citizens as an invisible physical wound that almost heals before another new tear is created. Always in a state of healing and never forgetting the feeling of what it was like to live through that experience.
Materials: Colored Terra Sigillata
Approximate Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 15
Price: $400 Canadian + Shipping
Bum Cracks & Belly Buttons I
Bum Cracks & Belly Buttons stems from a new series of works inspired by the human body. This piece juxtaposes unflattering and non-glamorous aspects of the body with amped-up colour and a hyper-sensual glaze surface. With more than half of its mass comprising of water, the human body is perhaps one of the most dynamic and complex containers of liquids creams and gels.
Approximate Dimensions: 16 x 7 x 5
Price: $500 Canadian + Shipping
Wild Blue Yonder
It’s simple really, I like to make things that make people smile. I want to be a maker of objects that through their imagery, evoke nostalgia, innocence and love. Perhaps sometimes a greater narrative or story is lurking in the images sometimes not. Within the whirlwind of a busy life with two young children, my functional ceramics have evolved towards contemporary narrative representations and whimsy. From books and their elaborate illustrative art, to my children’s drawings and imaginations I find inspiration all around me. The reward of this work for me is that young and old find happiness though the work and its engagement with nostalgia, familiar imagery, and an ability to perhaps see themselves represented in the handmade objects that they use.
Materials: Plainsman P300 Clay, Amaco Underglaze, Clear Glaze
fired to Cone 6 in an Electric kiln.
Approximate Dimensions: 13 x 7 x .5
This miniature ceramic vessel set is a combination of reinterpreted standardized consumer industry label warnings and a spa day.
To begin my collaboration with Dianne Lee within the theme of Liquids, Creams and Gels, we agreed that sets of objects often have varying fluid viscosities. This gave us the option of creating multiple containers with either obvious or ambiguous functions.
The pieces Dianne had made and sent to me were packaged in a colourfully painted case and neatly placed in foam. Each piece has two components and I later learned from my second phone call with her that the bottles fit inside each other. A container for a container. The function for these pieces were not obvious, but they lend themselves to be interpreted. A common theme that had been discussed for our collaboration was warning labels on product containers. As a person with an allergy to a specific seed oil I am constantly aware of the ingredients in hygiene products. Often having to read the fine print on the back of the bottles. I then decided I would use the vessels to give myself a self-care spa day and draw images of warnings on the pieces instead of writing them in English. This would give the person using the objects an opportunity not only to interpret the use of the vessels regardless of their language but what they should be cautious of when using them. Some image sets read horizontally while others read vertically. The tiny drawings almost become a graphic decoration on the surfaces of each piece.
Spa Day Ingredients:
Materials: Cone 6 White Clay with Black Oil based sharpie
Case 12 3/4 x 11 x 2 ¾
Large Bottle 4 1/2x 2
Medium Bottle 3 ¼ x 1 ½
Small Bottle 2 ¼ x 7/8
Pitcher 3×2 ¼
Crock 2 ¾ x 2 ½
For Liquids Cream and Gels we wanted to take the idea of forbidden liquids and play with the taboo of bodily fluids. In our piece “Fontaine Dorée” we have created a functional fountain that depicts the eroticization of urine. This piece is both a nod to art history referencing Marcel Duchamp’s iconic work “fountain”, as well as the history of porcelain in the bathroom and its link to household sanitation.
Approximate Dimensions: 15 x 12 x 7
Price: $1500 Canadian Plus Shipping
The imagery reflects a time when love was simple. When your team is winning, it’s easy to love them. True love weathers darkness.. it burns through the night.
“We are a team of devils. Our colors are red as fire and black to invoke fear in our opponents.”
— 1899, Herbert Kilpin
Materials: Plainsman Clay Porcelain Ice porcelain slip, iron oxide transfer, wintergreen oil, Amaco underglaze, Spectrum underglaze, clear glaze fired to Cone 6 in an electric kiln
Approximate Dimensions: 18 x 5 x 15
Price: $800 Canadian + Shipping (Includes light fixture and LED light bulb.)
Too Much, is a response to the constant policing imposed on women and their bodies by patriarchal Western society. In addition to this, I wish to call attention to how much stricter these targeted and ingrained criticisms are on WoC, especially in this current political climate. Thinking about the need to contain, control, and govern women, and how this draws parallels with the stricter and stricter travel laws, this small bottle, in juxtaposition to its decoration, can contain up to 55mL, allowing the user to move with ease through airport security with their liquid, cream, or gel of choice.
Materials: Porcelain, Cork
Approximate Dimensions: 3.4 x 1.6
Price: Sale Pending
I’m so fascinated by the idea of a lady’s vanity table – this weird little private creative space that exists with the ostensible intention of preparing its user for the public, outside world. Cosmetics live at this really interesting intersection of function and frippery, where the sharp tools of technology and aesthetic ideals come to bear on the body’s softest, wettest, most delicate tissues.
Materials: Ceramic, flocking, liquid electrical tape, silicone
Approximate Dimensions: 8 x 8 x 2.5
Price $180 Canadian + Shipping
Amelia Butcher’s Website
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Dumb Palm, Dieffenbachia
“Beware, [long term relationships] may cause a host of unpleasant symptoms, including intense numbing, oral irritation, excessive drooling, localized swelling and may leave you speechless for days. ”
With this series I consider the house plant as a living witness to the most intimate domestic where personal relationships unfold and put forth the historical, medicinal and social functions of each plant species as possible remedies and recommendations for romantic survival. I choose to focus on a potted plant because of its current decorative status. The implied space and relationships beyond the subject may be felt and imagined.
When eaten, the common house plant, Dieffenbachia or dumb palm may cause a host of unpleasant symptoms, including intense numbing, oral irritation, excessive drooling, localized swelling and may leave you speechless for days. These also happen to be the ooey gooey symptoms of love.
It Was All Set up for Her an Online Dating Story
The bread on the table was getting more stale by the hour. After some chit chat we decided to meet. Do you like tea parties I asked. He replied, Yes. Come over, I said, but please take your shoes off once you arrive. He replied, OK. He liked the tablecloth and commented on how organized and direct the tea set was. Thank you I said, my new years resolution is to be more organized. We had a seat. We decided on chairs rather than sitting directly on the ground. We ate some of the food I prepared and pulled the plants closer to the table. A splash of coffee spilled on the table when I plunged the cafetiere. I quickly remembered the note written on the side of the French press and made a mental note of reading the message again non discretely “Add 50ml Then Plunge.” This will be easy to remember, I thought, it’s handwritten not generated text. When I had to pour the coffee I started to panic. I looked on the side of the cup for some direction, “Will Only Hold 30ml” and “Please Stop @30ml” okay, alright, I can do this, I said this to coach myself, I don’t socialize often so these reminders are helpful. Shoot, another splash. The tablecloth is nice and the coffee soaking into the fibers will wash out, I knew that. I asked my guest if he’d care for more jam. He replied, Yes. I grasped the jam jar. I started to use the spoon to scoop the jam into the 22g container, it was taking too long and I felt his eyes on me so I tipped the jam into the container with a little tap on the bottom of the jar. Now there was too much jam.
I topped up my guests cup with coffee and sat the cafetiere down clumsily, it fell to the side and like dominoes knocked over the carton, which is clearly labeled, “Do Not Leave Carton Open!” FUCK, I forgot! I said this to myself then out loud as the milk carton tipped over knocking into the kettle on the way down. The lid from the kettle popped up into the air, and landed in my guests cup, his coffee went all over him, and the hot water from the kettle spilled all over the tablecloth. FUCK IT, I guess I exceeded the kettles capacity of 135ml because the tablecloth was soaked. The coffee and hot water was dripping to the floor, making a sound that was so slow and repetitive it was calming and extremely irritating simultaneously. My guest, dipped his stale bread in the jam on the table and took a bite, grabbed his shoes and decided to leave. I was red in the face with the tension my over organized tea party perpetuated. I blamed everyone but the tea set. It was all set up for me so there was no excuse. I was so optimistic.
Materials: Mixed Media
It Was All Set up for Her an Online Dating Story (And Detail)
Images 1 and 2:
White earthenware, clear glaze, red marker pen, tablecloth, fake flowers, paper, post-it notes, marmalade, toast, chocolate, napkins, orange segments, tea, coffee, water, glue.
It Was All Set up for Her an Online Dating Story (And Detail)
Images 3 and 4:
White earthenware, clear glaze, red marker pen, tablecloth, fake flowers, paper, post-it notes, marmalade, toast, chocolate, napkins, orange segments
Price: 1 x Archival print (Giclee print) 16×20 on Hahnemuhle PhotoRag stock . $160 Canadian including shipping.
Photos: Dianne Lee
Ceramics: Kate Grey
Me and Poolio Down By the Schoolyard
Nothing like taking a thermos of something refreshing to the pool to melt the ice from the outer edges of our hearts as the seasonal Canadian freeze ceases to release its grip. Take a sip and then a dip. Aahhhhh, just what Poolio Inglesias would be doing right now with his flock of flamingos at his side. A transformative Tropical Fantasy embodied in clay is what we all need now to blow the frosty thoughts of winter away, I say.
Recreating an object out of clay that would normally be manufactured out of something other materials has been an all-time favorite past time for me. As a huge fan of the Funk ceramic movement, I am drawn to subverting and transforming notions normal, banal even blasé to levels of quasi-absurdity. Are these resulting objects useful? Most definitely not, but the act of metamorphosing, say, a stapler, a pair of binoculars, a giant cordless phone or yes, even a thermos into a Mega Meta Object sheds a sheen of superhero light on what is otherwise passed over as a humble object. Sure, I suppose one could fill this thermos with a cocktail or two, but more so, it is the strange equation and/or inverse proportion of credibility to usability that I like stymieing my unsuspecting viewers with mischievous intent.
Materials: Clay, glazes, china paint, decals luster
Approximate Dimensions: 14 x 7 x 5.5
Price: $1200 Canadian + Shipping