ceramics

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Art

Ceramic Figurines by Claire Partington Put a Contemporary Twist on Historical Symbols

January 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Claire Partington, shared with permission

Citing traditional portraiture and figurative ceramics, London-based artist Claire Partington (previously) sculpts grand characters with a dose of contemporary wit: Lavishly outfitted women lose their heads to anthropomorphized octopuses, a flip flop-wearing fairy dozes alongside empty beer bottles, and sneakers and a cellphone lie next to “Sleeping Beauty.” Infused with mythological symbols and references to folklore, the delicate figurines meld history and culture across time periods and prompt questions about interpretation and narrative.

Many of the pieces shown here are included in Partington’s solo exhibition En Plein Air, which is on view from  February 2 to March 19 at Winston Wächter Fine Art in Seattle and coincides with the release of Historical Fiction, a monograph spanning ten years of her career. Until then, explore more of her subversive figures on her site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Tiny Faces Animate Minimal Mugs and Planters by Ceramicist Rami Kim

January 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Rami Kim

Enjoy the company of Rami Kim’s minimally sculpted personalities emerging from her footed planters, mugs, and other ceramic pieces. The artist and animator (previously), who gravitates toward bright monochromatic finishes and simple patterns, creates a wide array of vessels featuring perfectly round eyes, tiny mouths, and noses that add a dose of whimsy and play to her functional objects.

See more of Kim’s works, check for stockists near you, and shop available pieces on her site, and keep an eye on her Instagram for announcements about sales and opportunities to visit her Los Angeles studio. You also might enjoy Fan Yanting’s moody characters.

 

 

 



Art

Meticulously Detailed Ceramics by Kaori Kurihara Concoct Fantastical New Fruits

January 3, 2022

Anna Marks

All images © Kaori Kurihara, shared with permission

Japanese artist Kaori Kurihara (previously) creates otherworldly fruit-like ceramics that appear as though they have sprouted in a magical rainforest or exist in a children’s book. Kurihara’s sculptures take a creative spin on the shapes and textures found in thistles, tropical fare, and other fruits. One of her pieces, for example, resembles a purple durian with a brown seed-like head, while another is textured like pineapple and equipped with a top evoking an artichoke.

Kurihara studies the geometric repetition found in edible botanicals and reproduces their repeating patterns in similar ceramic forms, often enhancing their color. Each piece is delicately and meticulously crafted, and Kurihara first constructs the base then adds the details, sculpting patterns into the main shape using her hands and a series of tools.

The artist studied pottery at SEIKA University in Kyoto in addition to jewelry making in France, where she learned enameling techniques that she now uses when creating her sculptures. To view more of her work, visit her site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft

Melding Two Crafts, Caroline Harrius Embroiders Ceramic Vessels

December 31, 2021

Anna Marks

All images © Caroline Harrius, shared with permission

Stockholm-based ceramicist Caroline Harrius (previously) embroiders vases with floral patterns that explore the relationships between gender and craft and decoration and purpose. Distorting perceptions, the delicate pieces appear as though Harrius wrapped stitched fibers around a glazed vessel, or in a parallel manner, sculpted fabric to mimic a curved form.

Harrius punctures the shiny, semi-functional vases with holes and then pulls through threads to produce patterns and floral motifs that explore gender norms and hierarchies in craft history, specifically focusing on those typically associated with women. Her works reevaluate artistic techniques as she takes both pottery and embroidery out of their traditional contexts, combines, and then reimagines them, stretching the boundary of each craft. This results in unexpected pieces that prompt viewers to question perception and textures (i.e. whether a ceramic could “feel” soft and fibrous like fabric or whether a needle and thread are robust enough to puncture through clay.)

To view more of Harrius’s stitched vessels, visit her site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Waves of Engraved Lines Texture the Emotional Figures Sculpted by En Iwamura

December 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © En Iwamura, courtesy of Ross + Kramer Gallery, shared with permission

From hunks of clay, artist En Iwamura (previously) sculpts minimal forms with wildly varied facial expressions that range from shock and surprise to moody contemplation. Etched across the surface of each character are neat pathways of parallel lines, which evoke the clean, sweeping patterns in zen gardens, that are a physical manifestation of the Japanese concept of Ma. The philosophy identifies “the space between the edges, between the beginning and the end, the space and time in which we experience life. Ma is filled with nothing but energy and feeling.”

Although his aesthetic and process remain relatively consistent—Iwarmura is generous about sharing works-in-progress and studio shots on his Instagram—his approach to spatial questions continues to evolve. “My work size has physically got bigger,” he tells Colossal. “That can have (a) different relationship with Ma, either micro (or) macro.”

Iwamura is currently living in Shiga near his hometown of Kyoto, and if you’re in New York, you can see his oversized faces in January at Ross + Kramer Gallery.

 

 

 



Art

Hyperrealistic Ceramic Sculptures by Christopher David White Mimic the Splintered Texture of Decaying Wood

December 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Carbon Footprint.” All images © Christopher David White, shared with permission

In his Richmond studio, artist Christopher David White (previously) practices an alchemy of materials as he transforms slabs of clay into deceptive sculptures and functional objects that appear carved from hunks of decaying wood. His trompe l’oeil ceramics are fragile depictions of the hardy material, complete with its gnarled knots and splintered edges in various states of decomposition.

To achieve such a hyperrealistic finish, each piece undergoes multiple rounds of detailing—head to Instagram for a glimpse behind-the-scenes—which White starts by shaping the initial form with knots and branches and imprinting large grooves for the grain. After the work dries slightly, dental instruments, wire brushes, and Xacto knives aid in crafting the more intricate components, and the slightly dehydrated material lends itself to natural cracks and divots that enhance the woody texture. Once fired, the artist paints each sculpture with a largely neutral palette of acrylics.

White continues to explore humans’ relationship to the environment in both his figures and smaller works, although he’s recently shifted to more overt considerations of the topic. “I seek to highlight humanity’s abuse and disregard for nature along with the contradictions in our actions,” he says. “Humans have a tendency to acknowledge the beauty, fragility, and uniqueness of nature while simultaneously viewing it as a resource to be endlessly exploited, controlled, and discarded.”

Shop prints in White’s shop, and keep an eye on his Instagram and site for updates on new batches of mugs, planters, and other works.

 

“Paint It Red”

“Pushing Up Daisies”

“Weathered Heart”

“Not 2B”

“Coral mug”

“Small planters”

“Teapot set”