medium /// ceramic

woody de othello

Okay, it’s a three-way tie between the scrambled pink phone, the giant yellow fan, and the nose light. So. Good. This is the weird and wonderful ceramic work of Haitian born, Miami based artist Woody De Othello. Here’s a description of his work via Jessica Silverman Gallery:

During his childhood, Othello saw these household objects as intimate presences, used to alter physical states and offer temporary comfort. Moreover, born and raised in Miami to a family of Haitian descent, the artist was enamored by the power of ceramic pots used to contain and overcome negative energy and bad spirits.

Using a hand-building technique called “slab construction,” Othello builds his ceramic sculptures up about six inches at a time. “The clay takes over; it has a mind of its own,” he explains. “It is a conversation and there is always space for me to react.” Othello pushes the forms up to a point where they are near collapse, working the unfired clay to a point of precariousness, giving each piece a psychological weight, a sense of movement and individual emotion. The glazes are then layered with many pieces being fired multiple times to achieve the depth of color and texture that Othello desires.

‘The clay takes over’ … love, love, love!

*Bio photo via Cultured Mag by Aubrey Mayer

tessa eastman

Oooh, I want to hold one of these “clouds” … I won’t try to taste it, I promise. That said, it wouldn’t be my fault if I did take a little lick, because the first two pieces at the top of the post are titled “Lollipop Mint Baby Cloud Bundles”. Yum!  Anyway, this is the ceramic work of UK based artist Tessa Eastman, and here is a description of her work:

“I aim to fix ungraspable states such as fleeting cloud formations, which represent the ideal and the perishable, doom and fantasy”.

[Tessa Eastman] draws inspiration from natural phenomena as seen through a microscope, exploring the strangeness of growth where systems flow and digress.

Grouping work creates a dialogue of congruence and conflict where voluminous cloud-like shapes exploring the theme of space pushing outwards are juxtaposed with mesh structures revealing the internal. The tension between internal and external relates to receptacles where positive and negative space are equally valued, and also to the body where the void permits life. It is through sensitivity to form and glaze that Tessa’s sculptures become animated and much time is invested in research and testing. Tessa says: “Colour is inspiring and creates a distinction between the sum of parts. Matt and shiny, coarse and smooth and hot and cool coloured glazes offer depth of character.”

Okay, now I really want to hold one.

{List of galleries/places to see Tessa’s work.}

lisa stevens aka “lisa seaurchin”

Well, usually around this time of year I’m writing my posts from Hawaii. Clearly we won’t be going this year, but oh my goodness I miss the ocean, the warm breezes, and all of the vibrant colors. And so, instead, I give you these beauties! This is the work of UK based artist Lisa Stevens. I found her on Instagram, where she’s known as @lisaseaurchin … appropriate, no? Here is a quick description of how she works:

“The main body of my work … is primarily influenced by the clay itself. I do not fight with the clay to make neat edges and smooth, even surfaces, preferring instead to leave the tool marks, the raw edges, and the natural texture of the clay … I also take reference form sea creatures, such as coral, jellyfish and of course, sea urchins. I love working with textures and a lot of my work is pierced. I do not smooth the piercing, but instead, choose to keep the barnacle effect as the clay splits as the tool moves through it.”

Sigh. Aloha.

jacqueline tse


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A post shared by Jacqueline Tse (@mad_brooklyn)

YUM! These unglazed porcelain pastries are the work of Arizona based artist Jacqueline Tse, aka @mad_brooklyn. Oh sure, they look sweet ‘n delicious, but there’s definitely something menacing going on. Here’s why:

“My work is highly influenced by my anxieties of being human, particularly the dilemmas of everyday urban life. It is an ongoing exploration of my fascination with American society of excess and shameless consumerism, social media overstimulation, greed and gluttony as a remedy for emotional disconnection. Meanwhile still celebrating the beauty and flaws of these fragile human conditions.”

Such a beautiful way to execute this idea. Now, did you watch the video posted above? It’s just a little teaser, but you can watch the whole video about Jacqueline’s work right here. {created by Supply Unica, April 2020}

{Thanks to Rhonda Willers, another fabulous ceramicist, for pointing me to Jacqueline’s work.}

debra broz

Ahhh, the super weird and wonderful work of LA based artist Debra Broz. I’ve written about her before and – fun fact – that duck-dog up there is a result of Debra being on my podcast five years ago! Yep, after we recorded, I sent her that dog head from a thrift shop in my town, and she turned it into art! Some of her mix-mashed critters are part of an upcoming group show, titled “Salvage” at Paradigm Gallery + Studio {Philadelphia}, curated by Christopher Jobson, the editor of the fabulous arts & culture site Colossal. Here’s the statement for “Salvage”:

“In a culture awash in disposable objects and materiality, it is seemingly impossible to determine what has finally outlived its usefulness or nostalgic pull only to be relegated to storage, the thrift store, or finally, the landfill. This faded sentiment is just the beginning of the journey for this group of four artists who use their abilities to miraculously salvage fragments of tradition and culture that were destined to be lost, relegated to the periphery, or buried forever.”

There’s a virtual opening and live Curator and artist Q&A on Friday, January 22, 2021 • 5:30pm EST Tickets available, RIGHT HERE.

rebecca hutchinson

Gasp! Hanging from the ceiling, lying on the floor, mounted on the wall… these gorgeous cone-like blooms are everywhere! Now, what are we looking at here? I have no idea. Well, I have some idea. There’s paper handmade using recycled materials (like old clothes!?), porcelain – both fire and unfired, and handmade paper coated in porcelain… maybe? Okay, I’m not totally sure, so that’s why I’ve invited Massachusetts based artist and educator, Rebecca Hutchinson, to come on my podcast to us her story AND how she does what she does! Until then, I’ll leave you with her artist statement:

“In nature there are diverse states of existence; the structure of nature, interactions between forces of nature, the resilience and the complexity of engineering in nature. All these states are rooted in the motivation for the need to survive, providing endless visual influences and conceptual possibilities for art making; speaking to the depth and complexity of living with the hopes of revealing the human condition in sculptural form.

Using diverse processes, my interest is in quality of craft, connections, structure, and conceptually to all physical parts to the whole. I build site-responsive sculptural works made from clay and recycled materials, like old clothing or industrial surplus. I hand build, slip trail, dip, layer, cut and construct with the surplus and handmade materials. Works are influenced by growth patterns, but do not replicate nature. Like an animal that uses the vernacular from place, I too up-cycle humble materials into exquisite sculptural forms.”

Yes, this is going to be a very interesting episode… So. Many. Questions! Stay tuned.

alex anderson

Yessssssss! This is the ceramic work of LA based artist Alex Anderson {and there he is, feeling full of gratitude at a show opening… with pink walls so you KNOW I love it!}. Speaking of shows, most of the work posted above is from his solo show earlier this year, titled “Little Black Boy Makes Imperial Porcelains” at GAVLAK Gallery, Los Angeles. Here’s part of the description:

“At the core of Anderson’s current body of work is a philosophical, existential examination of identity politics; based in Los Angeles, the 30-year old gay, Asian-African American sculptor is an artist working against stereotype and racialism rampant in today’s society. By working in an unexpected medium and channeling methodologies surrounding artistic production in ceramic arts, Anderson manages to create fantastic, multifaceted sculptures that are both subversive and whimsical at the same time. Alex Anderson uses the classical aesthetics of western power, which ironically share space with the aesthetics of queer camp cultural production, to translate the structures that govern his lived experience in society and others’ social perceptions of his identities into form. While his work engages with the ceramic canon and draws from the western art historical canon at large, it primarily operates at the core of Post-Blackness.”

Beautiful and powerful. Read the full statement right here.

{Alex’s work is available via GAVLAK Gallery, LA/Palm Beach}

alice walton

Oh. My. This is the mesmerizing ceramic work of UK based artist Alice Walton. All of those calming palettes combined with intricate, dizzying pathways could keep me here all day. Clearly, I had to include those insanely beautiful closeups … they remind me of looking out airplane windows at the fields and rivers below {remember, when we used to go places on planes?}. Here’s a peek into the how and why of Alice’s work:

“With a forensic eye, Walton translates the seemingly familiar into highly complex and multi-layered porcelain objects. Despite featuring intensely textured surfaces and complex colours, Walton’s work is also recognised for its meditative qualities. It is this tension between the repetitive and experimental, the calm and the kinetic that make her objects so compelling.

Walton uses a landscape of objects, crafted from individual components to create abstract scenes. This repetitive nature of mark-making in turn mimics the constant review of familiar objects on daily commutes. As references, she combines collaged photography and drawing from memory which are bought into her studio to work from. This research then pivots her work away from the literal into an imaginary collection of objects.

Her desire to stave off our digital riddled and splintered multi-realities is remedied through a process of intensely tactile moulding technique. Deliberately contemplative, her work creates a time capsule of discovery for the viewer with its intricately detailed markings drawing them in.”

Sigh. This is my kind of meditating.

clémentine de chabaneix
First, that bear’s side-eye is everything. Second, yes, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written about the work of French artist Clémentine de Chabaneix… but can you blame me!? All of these pieces are from her current show, titled “ANIMUS”, at Galerie du Passage in Paris. Here are Clémentine’s words about this work:

“ANIMUS” is a set of enamelled ceramic sculptures, made in my workshop for a year. A privileged parenthesis allowing me to deepen a universe that I have been exploring for ten years of ceramic practice. “ANIMUS” A word which evokes me, by its etymology, which relates to the soul and by analogy of sound to the word ANIMAL. For a long time, I have declined countless combinations of mixed man-animals. Psychological portraits arranged like riddles. Colorful snakes, crystal horns, galvanized flowers, meteorites, foxes, masks, toads, crocodiles… I develop a symbolic vocabulary that evokes human identity in its complexity, its contradictions, its poetry.

In this work, the animal figure appears, like an alter ego: the animal counterpart, with soft or disturbing forms, inexorably placing man in an equation from which he cannot extricate himself. “

Beautiful. “ANIMUS” runs until February 27, 2021. ps. Here’s a peek the gallery just posted on Instagram:

zsófia keresztes

Gasp! Glass mosaic, grout, copper pipe, thread, styrofoam… now that is a materials list! This is the work of Budapest based artist Zsófia Keresztes. Most of her sculptures and installations center around her interest in the intersection of the digital world and the body. The tears for example, “represent social media and its predatory claims on our sadness – and the sadness of others. They are toxic.” Well here’s something that will cause tears of joy… it’s just been announced that Zsófia will represent Hungary at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022! Amazing news! Congratulations, Zsófia… I hope I get to see your jaw-dropping work in person.

{quote via Elijah Wheat Showroom, NY}.