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.
As part of a new body of sculptural work, artist Jessica Harrison has created a series of delicate porcelain figurines depicting idealized women in ball gowns, with one glaring difference from the collectibles found in your grandmother’s curio: each sculpture is covered neck to wrist in ornate sailor tattoos. This juxtaposition is not unfamiliar territory for Harrison who has created other, much more macabre figures, in the past. The Scotland-based artst recently completed a practice-led PhD funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, where she researched the relationship between interior and exterior spaces of the body, an area of study that is directly reflected in her artwork. Via her artist statement:
Harrison proposes a multi-directional and pervasive model of skin as a space in which body and world mingle. Working with this moving space between artist/maker and viewer, she draws on the active body in both making and interpreting sculpture to unravel imaginative touch and proprioceptive sensation in sculptural practice. In this way, Harrison re-describes the body in sculpture through the skin, offering an alternative way of thinking about the body beyond a binary tradition of inside and outside.
While the standard response to insects crawling across your food or dinner plate is usually nothing less than repulsion, that didn’t stop German artist Evelyn Bracklow of La Philie from creating these one-of-a-kind vintage porcelain dishes covered in hordes of hand-painted ants. Bracklow says of the pieces:
The idea for this work resulted from pure chance, when the sight of a carelessly placed plate—by then wandered by ants—fascinated me so much that I felt the urge to simply conserve this image. Fear, disgust, fascination and admiration: this very interplay of feelings constitutes the charm of the work. Furthermore, to me, the ants symbolize all the stories that any formerly discarded piece of porcelain carries with it. Where one once dined and drank, today ants bustle in ever new formations, every single one applied with a great love for detail.
It’s not hard to see that each piece is incredibly detailed and well-executed, making it strangely beautiful despite what it portrays. This balance of superb execution versus creepy subject matter may be the reason she’s had no problem selling the objects over on Etsy, where a number of them are currently available. (via Whimsebox)
Educator, scientist and artist Bobby Jaber retired from teaching chemistry over 20 years ago and decided to dedicate the next chapter of his life to combining his passions for science and art. To do this he began to mimic some of the most beautifully shaped molecules in existence using porcelain. Jaber says that because he spent so much of his life studying chemistry, the study of change in matter, that ceramics were a perfect extension as they dramatically demonstrate chemical change, especially at the physical level.
Filmmaker Dave Altizer filmed this brief documentary about Jaber’s artistic philosophy and how the 76-year-old continues to find meaning and success over 20 years into his artistic career. Make sure you catch the last few seconds.
French artist NooN has teamed up with K.Olin tribu (previously) to create a pair of pretty wicked porcelain skulls imprinted with flowers. The black series, Fleurs Noires, have already sold out but the red series, Fleurs Rouges, is still available. The series is limited to 50 pieces and each skull comes packaged in a fancy wooden crate. (via this isn’t happiness)
In her delicate crafted porcelain sculptures conceptual artist Kate McDowell expresses her interpretation of the clash between the natural world and the modern-day environmental impact of industrialized society. The resulting works can be equal parts amusing and disturbing as the anatomical forms of humans and animals become inexplicably intertwined in her delicate porcelain forms. Via her artist statment:
In my work this romantic ideal of union with the natural world conflicts with our contemporary impact on the environment. These pieces are in part responses to environmental stressors including climate change, toxic pollution, and gm crops. They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones. In some pieces aspects of the human figure stand-in for ourselves and act out sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous transformations which illustrate our current relationship with the natural world. In others, animals take on anthropomorphic qualities when they are given safety equipment to attempt to protect them from man-made environmental threats.