Chinese artist Ah Xian lives and works in Sydney where for nearly two decades he has explored aspects of the human form using ancient Chinese craft methods including porcelain, lacquer, jase, bronze, and even concrete. The artist often uses busts of his own family members including his wife, brother, and father onto which he imprints traditional designs with a vivid cobalt blue glaze. Via Asia Society:
These sculptures by Ah Xian establish a series of multilayered oppositions. The most overt is the tension between the sculptural form of the bust and the painted surface designs, which the artist likens to the oppositions of West and East. The bust is part of a Western portraiture tradition dating back to the busts of ancient Roman times and the designs are derived from Chinese decorative traditions, unique to China and in some cases to the studio-kilns at Jingdezhen. Such an opposition can also be seen as the relationship between the personal (since many of the busts are of Ah Xian’s family, including his wife, brother, and father) and the political (a statement about the artist’s own Chinese heritage articulated outside China).
The works collected here are mostly from his Human Human and China China series, though you can see many more works on Craft Australia. (via I Need a Guide)
Parade is an interactive art installation concevied by ceramacist Laurent Craste and digital agency Dpt. for the Chromatic festival in Montreal. At first glance the piece looks rather mundane: two misshapen porcelain vases sit atop a pedestal inside a wood cube, lit from above by an industrial light. But move the light and suddenly the magic happens as shadows projected from the vases animate to life. What a fun piece.
Update: Of course things like this are never as simple as they appear. Dpt. explains further that the animated “shadows” are coming from a hidden projector which tracks the movements of the faux light source. We’ve been tricked! But I suppose that’s kind of the point.
For centuries artisans have been crafting white porcelain dishes and decorating them with intricate cobalt blue patterns, from floral designs to swirling landscapes. Enter graphic designer Don Moyer who is turning the tradition on its head with his wildly successful line of Calamityware dinner plates. Moyer expertly mimics several Eastern motifs in his plates with one major addition: flying monkeys, a UFO assault, and giant gurgling sea monsters.
Two plates have already been created and are available in his shop, while a third is currently doing quite well over on Kickstarter. He says next up is a bonafide pirate invasion plate which you can keep an eye out for (ba dum!) later this year.
Kintsugi (or kintsukuroi) is a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognize the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it. The process usually results in something more beautiful than the original.
Our Changing Seas III is the third piece in a series of large-scale ceramic coral reef sculptures by artist Courtney Mattison. The sprawling installation is entirely hand-built and is meant to show the devastating transition coral reefs endure when faced with climate change, a process called bleaching. She shares via email:
At its heart, this piece celebrates my favorite aesthetic aspects of a healthy coral reef surrounded by the sterile white skeletons of bleached corals swirling like the rotating winds of a cyclone. There is still time for corals to recover even from the point of bleaching if we act quickly to decrease the threats we impose. Perhaps if my work can influence viewers to appreciate the fragile beauty of our endangered coral reef ecosystems, we will act more wholeheartedly to help them recover and even thrive.
Toronto-based artist Jess Riva Cooper created this haunting collection of ceramic busts called her Viral Series as part of an artist residency last fall at The Kohler Factory in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The pieces seem to lie at the peculiar intersection of life and death, as it should be given her inspiration behind the sculptures. Cooper shares about the Viral Series via email:
In my art practice I integrate colour, drawing, and clay to create installation-based artwork. I investigate fallen economic and environmental climates in regions such as Detroit, Michigan, where houses have become feral, disappearing behind ivy, trees and Kudzu vines that were planted generations ago. In my sculptures, the world sprouts plant matter. Colour and form burst forth from quiet gardens and bring chaos to ordered spaces. Nature reclaims its place by creeping over structures. Wild floral growth subverts past states, creating the preternatural from this transformation.
As a person who’s spent more than a few hours at the seat of a potter’s wheel I can attest to the strangely soothing act of doodling around with wet clay sludge (called slip) before or after throwing a pot. As fun as it is, it’s still somewhat surprising to see the act elevated to this level of artistry by Michael GardnerMikhail Sadovnikov who blurs the line between performance and visual art as he creates pattern after pattern on an empty wheel. (via The Awesomer)