The Once and Future: New Now

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PETER PINCUS “A Sibling System” Colored Porcelain, Gold Luster, PC-11 26” x 11” x 11” each

The Once and Future: New Now at SHERRY LEEDY CONTEMPORARY ART February 5 - April 16, 2016 Traces of shared DNA are found in the work of all ceramic artists and form the foundation of an ever-changing legacy of evolution and revolution. Ceramic genealogy continues to mutate and transform with each generation of promising new talent as the influence of makers and mentors continues to alter, shift, and evolve into the new, unexpected aesthetics of today. The exhibition, The Once and Future: New Now reflects the arc of that experience from the early pioneers to their heirs. Ceramics has been defined by the relationship between makers and mentors as the emphasis on community continues to thrive. Scheduled to coincide with a national ceramic conference, NCECA, the New Now exhibition is a concise display of the gallery’s dedication to representing ceramic artists for the past 30 years. Exhibiting the work of ceramic masters alongside newcomers to the field, The Once and Future: New Now embraces the theme of NCECA’s 50th anniversary conference: Makers, Mentors, and Milestones. Cary Esser George Timock Chris Gustin Sunkoo Yuh Jun Kaneko Bobby Silverman Steven Young Lee Gerit Grimm Tip Toland

John Souter Nathan Prouty John Balistreri Annabeth Rosen Rain Harris Dan Anderson Christa Assad Linda Lighton Misty Gamble

Eva Kwong Peter Pincus Michael Lucero Arnie Zimmerman Richard Notkin Charles Timm-Ballard Jesse Small

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The Eternally Relevant

Musings on The Once and Future: New Now

If we accept that art reflects the culture that we live in, then what has happened to the art being created today? Beauty is vast and encompasses the gamut of human emotion and intellect, yet much of the art that I visit in museums and galleries does not allow for catharsis. Too many of the works are merely clever, disaffected, posturing, ugly or worse dishonest; hiding empty intentions behind rhetoric and invective. I am left unmoved, and unfulfilled. However, I have found this to be mostly untrue among artists who work with clay. In contemporary ceramics, I find sincerity, insight, bravery, beauty and outspokenness. Why might this be? Sherry Leedy is an artist, curator and gallery director who has brought together some of the finest artists working in clay in her current exhibition titled optimistically, The Once and Future: New Now. Curated with delicacy and sensitivity, the placement of the objects that comprise the show creates relationships between and among the works of art. Walking through 3.

by Tanya Hartman the exhibition is like moving through a poem, the rhymed stanzas amplifying the overall meaning. Her curatorial choices support content. Two vases by Peter Pincus, one black and one white are placed across the room from Rain Harris’ black and white sculptures. How rich this choice proves to be! The vases are similar, contrasting organic bases with geometric necks that snap with color, intricacy and vibrancy. The two vases seem like one piece, and express that nothing is simply black or white. Just as the black and white bodies of the vases lead the eye upward toward the complex necks so too does the trajectory of our lives lead us toward complexity, but a complexity in which we find beauty and understanding. Rain Harris’ two pieces compliment the Pincus vases. Black and white floral forms are enclosed in cages that are themselves encased in resin, that drips like tears or icicles. She seems to be saying that what is organic and true cannot be contained by the prescribed rules of society without 4.

deep pain. Each work of art formally and conceptually reflects upon the meaning in the other. The glazes on Cary Esser’s seven Veils drip and pool in a manner that is organic, emotional and evocative of stained glass. The placement of a large Chris Gustin sculpture in proximity to these works allows the viewer an experience of visual poetry, where pure form carries us beyond the everyday and into the mysterious. In capturing clay in three-dimensional voluptuousness, and then glazing the surface in a serene combination of colors found in nature, Gustin catches an instant of time, where materials that are by their nature alive and kinetic are suspended eternally in a moment of conversion. The same is true for Esser, who allows her gorgeous and translucent glazes to be suspended eternally in a moment of transformation. These are reverent works that transcend language. So much of the work in this exhibition surpasses easy categorization. Tip Toland’s uncanny Weeping Giant sheds tears that are vaguely funny but also sad. Could it be that what is mythic and psychologically nuanced (the idea of a giant) is crying for the outdated idea of itself within the mundane and politically charged arena that is too often the art world of today? Or is the giant crying for private reasons, humiliations and disappointments that we can only guess at? The artwork does not answer the question as to what specifically it addresses. Instead it evokes. Sunkoo Yuh’s works also conjure rather than specify. Three beautiful drawings composed in Sumi Ink on paper have titles that allude to archetypes of human experience, myth and longing (Lovers, Sinners, Couple With Guardian Tigers). Each drawing seems to have emerged from Yuh’s unconscious, the ink a mobile and emotive force that pools and whiplashes into


faces, beasts and skulls. The combinations of the artist’s arm and mind with the natural properties of the ink amalgamate, thus allowing him to “find” content. The resulting drawings reveal a deeply held belief in the unconscious as a fascinating place to explore. This stance is refreshing, when so much in contemporary art is politicized beyond the subjective. The simplicity and directness of these drawings creates a universal field in which people can unite in reverie and delight in visual mastery and technical proficiency. Technique as a vehicle for visual poetry abounds in this exhibition. In each piece displayed, there is thoughtfulness about how best to use the clay to support content. Just as words in a poem can crackle, hum, hiss or pop, so too does clay masterfully carry both rhythm and disharmony. There are pieces where the clay is purposefully ripped (Steven Young Lee), lovingly shaped (Gerit Grimm), meticulously placed (Misty Gamble), precisely incised (Richard Notkin). No artist overlaps with another, so that the technical variations are dazzling and allow each work of art a distinct communication. In the end we are made of matter, and human touch and manipulation of materials allows for transcendence. So much of our lives are mysterious to us—why we are here, how best to love others, how not to destroy opportunities and to tread lightly on planet earth. In my view, it has always been the realm of art not to answer but to elicit, not to preach collective correctives but to confess individual experiences, not to shout but to sing in varied cadence, a song impossible to define easily but necessary, invaluable and rare. In this lovely exhibition, I see art. And I am grateful. 6.

Photo Credit for Installation Images: E.G. Schempf Previous Page: CHRISTA ASSAD “Dazzle Zeppelin” Stoneware, Slip, Underglaze, Glaze 7” x 18” x 6”

STEVEN YOUNG LEE “Maebyeong Vase with Fish Decoration” Porcelain, Cobalt Inlay, Glaze 14” x 10” x 9” STEVEN YOUNG LEE “4x4 Cups” Porcelain, Cobalt Inlay, Glaze, Plywood, Paint, Aluminum, Glass 22” x 21” x 6” PETER PINCUS “Vases” Colored Porcelain, Gold Luster 15.75” x 5” x 5” each 7.

STEVEN YOUNG LEE “Maebyeong Vase with Fish Decoration” Porcelain, Cobalt Inlay, Glaze 14” x 10” x 9”

RAIN HARRIS “Blanc Buisson & Noir Buisson” Porcelain, Black Clay, Resin, Wood, Metal 13.5” x 10.5” x 10.5” 11.

CHRIS GUSTIN “Untitled, #1602” Stoneware, Glaze 37” x 40” x 22” 12.

CARY ESSER “Veils” Red Earthenware, Glaze 14.875” x 8” x .25” each

GEORGE TIMOCK “Vessel SSS” Hungarian Porcelain, Gold Luster 10.5” x 10” x 9.5” 16.

GEORGE TIMOCK “Vessel SSS” Hungarian Porcelain, Gold Luster 10.5” x 10” x 9.5” CHRIS GUSTIN “Untitled, #1602” Stoneware, Glaze 37” x 40” x 22” PETER PINCUS “A Sibling System” Colored Porcelain, Gold Luster, PC-11 26” x 11” x 11” each 18.

JOHN BALISTRERI “St. Pete” Woodfired Stoneware 49.25” x 20” x 19” JOHN BALISTRERI “Haniwa Memory” Woodfired Stoneware 48” x 30” x 13” CHRIS GUSTIN “Untitled, #1602” Stoneware, Glaze 37” x 40” x 22” 19.

SUN KOO YUH “Lovers” Sumi Ink on Paper 20” x 29” SUN KOO YUH “Sinners” Sumi Ink on Paper 20” x 29” SUN KOO YUH “Couple with Guardian Tigers” Sumi Ink on Paper 20” x 29” SUN KOO YUH “Ranch” Porcelain 20” x 13” x 12” 21.

ARNIE ZIMMERMAN “Tassebaum” Ceramic 66” x 27” x 27” MICHAEL LUCERO “Afro/Italian” Clay with Glazes & Glass 30” x 13” x 13” MISTY GAMBLE “Forever More” Porcelain Casting Slip, Nepheline Syenite, Mason Stain, Felting, Ralph Lauren Metallic Paint 7’ x 5’ x 8’ JESSE SMALL “Untitled Robots” Terra cotta, Englobes, Underglaze 22.5” x 16” x 7” & 23.5” x 16” x 9” 23.


JOHN SOUTER “Slut” Clay, Glaze, Enamel, Brass, Pompom 12.75” x 9.25” x 9.25” 26.


BOBBY SILVERMAN “De-Construction” Aluminum, Commercial Porcelain, Printed Adhesive Backed Vinyl, Stainless Steel 39” x 36” x 6”

TIP TOLAND “Weeping Giant” Stoneware Clay, Paint, Chalk Pastel 20” x 20” x 16”

TIP TOLAND “Weeping Giant” Stoneware Clay, Paint, Chalk Pastel 20” x 20” x 16” CHRIS GUSTIN “Untitled, #1601” Stoneware, Glaze 32.5” x 45” x 23” CARY ESSER “Bray Parfleche 1-3” Earthenware 12.75” x 9.375” x 1” 31.

ANNABETH ROSEN “White Stripe Tube” Acrylic, Gouache, and Ink on Paper 66” x 56” ANNABETH ROSEN “Prolly” Glazed Ceramic, Rubber Innertube 13” x 21” x 16” LINDA LIGHTON “My Desire” Ceramic, Glaze, China Paint, Luster 23.5” x 10.75” x 13” 34.


GERIT GRIMM “Family” Ceramic 18” x 19” x 6” 36.


The Once and Future: New Now at SHERRY LEEDY CONTEMPORARY ART February 5 - April 16, 2016

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