Bouke de Vries (previously) refers to some of his porcelain sculptures as “three-dimensional still lifes.” The artist, who was born in the Netherlands and now lives in London, creates sprawling assemblages that resemble a classic bowl of fruit or table setting frequently found in Dutch art. “I compose these pieces as, after the painter has finished with them, the ceramics get broken and decayed, and I breathe new life into them. The butterfly in still life is a symbol for the resurrection in (the) way I see what I do through my work,” he tells Colossal. In de Vries’s works, though, the seemingly mundane scenes are fractured with bursting ceramics, encroaching insects, and decaying fruit.
The artist began working with porcelain as a restorer for 15 years before embarking on his own practice, which begins with a search for broken pottery and glass shards. He never breaks an undamaged piece but rather revitalizes those that are damaged already by creating new figures that celebrate the beauty of their previous forms. With a penchant for Kintsugi, he often utilizes gold lacquer to highlight the repaired cracks.
Alongside sculptural still lifes, the figure of Guan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion, mercy, and kindness, recurs in de Vries’s work. Often surrounded by cracked shards and recomposed garments, she conveys an ability for understanding and repair.
In recent weeks, de Vries has been working on commissions and new pieces, in addition to a large-scale project that spans the entrance of one of Sotheby’s Bond Street galleries, which you can see on Instagram. To find out more about the artist’s vision behind that piece, watch this interview. (via Cross Connect Magazine)
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Vanessa Hogge translates her lifelong fascination with flowers into monochromatic assemblages of hydrangeas, roses, and myriad blossoms. The London-based artist (previously) has been working on EFFLORESCENCE since October 2019. Each of the delicate porcelain pieces is adorned with innumerable hand-sculpted florets and leaves that blossom from a central base.
Rather than studying horticulture textbooks and the intricacies of plant life, Hogge works entirely from her memory and imagination and frequents gardens and other places where organic elements thrive for observation. “I’ve traveled to research in the Okavango Swamps in Botswana, the flower-filled valleys of the Northern Cape in South Africa, and this January (just before lockdown), to Southern India to be surrounded by the exotic vegetation there—just beautiful,” she tells Colossal.
Hogge’s inspirations, though, are vast. She imbues elements of the funky textiles created in the 1970s, miniature depictions of Indian gardens, and Frida Kahlo’s iconic flowers. “As an artist, the variety of their forms and structures is immense and endless. People comment and wonder when I will move on and if I will tire of flowers, but how can I? This fascination is also steeped in my family matriarchs—strong women gardeners and the great outdoors,” she says.
The artist’s work will be part of a virtual show at Living Object Gallery from October 23-25, 2020. Until then, she offers a brief look into her studio and process in this short video and on Instagram. You also might enjoy Hitomi Hosono’s intricate vessels.
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Paris-based artist Helena Hauss juxtaposes the domestic femininity synonymous with delft-style porcelain and the brute force of barbed weaponry. Her sculptural series, titled Hell Hath no Fury, is composed of an axe, grenade, spiked bat, and flail, each of which is ornamented with floral motifs.
Hauss shares with Colossal that she hopes to disrupt notions that women are the “weaker sex” and opts instead for a message of empowerment. “Too often portrayed as fragile and delicate, this project is an expression of the contrasting subtleties that come with femininity, as well as an attempt at vindication from a feeling of constant vulnerability that’s been forced upon us,” she says. “Contrary to what you might think, we’re not made of glass, porcelain, or crystal. We’re not gonna break, we’re wearing full metal jackets, and we’re ready to fight back.”
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Based in Miami, artist Morel Doucet imbues his surreal artworks with a reminder that the natural world is ripe with entanglements. Often monochromatic, the slip-cast and hand-built porcelain pieces merge flora and fauna into dense amalgamations: a series of naked figures sit with coral, safety pins, and starfish as heads, while other assemblages feature a singular arm or pair of legs jutting out from a mass of sea creatures.
Doucet not only considers how humans are damaging the environment but also who is most likely to suffer in the process. In the series White Noise: When Raindrop Whispers and Moonlight Screams in Silence, he responds to the impacts of the climate crisis and ecological disaster on communities of color in the Miami area. “The beaches are eroding into the sea, coral reefs are turning bleach white, and residents wait tentatively for seawater rise. Everywhere you look Miami is undergoing drastic infrastructure changes trying to gear up for a losing battle against land and sea,” he shares with Colossal. “I believe these communities will experience the greatest climate exodus within our modern times.”
Doucet’s recent endeavors include an upcoming series called Water grieves in the six shades of death that will respond to climate-gentrification and its impact on communities with lower incomes. Follow the artist’s sculptural considerations on Instagram. (via The Jealous Curator)
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Artist Glen Taylor solders ridges of metal to porcelain fragments, completing a halved teacup or broken saucer with a range of unusual materials: barbed wire, tarnished silverware, old book pages, and multicolored twine form a portion of the household objects. Each intervention contrasts the pristine, delicate qualities of the porcelain with the visible rust, unwieldy strings, and patchwork metals.
A cabinetmaker for much of his life, Taylor originally worked with pottery but found it limiting until he started breaking his ceramics into pieces. “I had read about the ancient art of Kintsugi and decades before I had learned how to copper foil and solder stained glass windows. All of a sudden I felt the emotional expressive range was infinite,” he writes. A Japanese art form, Kintsugi is the process of fixing broken pottery and celebrating the repairs, rather than try to hide them.
Now, Taylor gathers materials at auctions and estate sales, choosing pieces that spur an emotional response or nostalgia for his childhood, although some objects have a more personal connection. “For years, I have had my grandmother’s dishes in the attic, wondering what to do with them,” he says. “My mother died last year and so I have let the grieving process appear when it needs to. I released a lot of emotions about my mother when I started breaking the dishes that she grew up with.”
The artist tells Colossal that the broken pieces also are symbolic of imperfection. “As I began mending and recreating my broken pottery, the personal therapy and healing became the whole point,” he says. “I reached an age where I began sorting through the emotional baggage of my life, and the elements for my work became apparent.”
For a deeper look into Taylor’s mended works and a glimpse at his process, follow him Instagram.
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When asked why her porcelain works are unpainted, Turkish artist Melis Buyruk answered that adding color to nature dictates meaning. “I like to avoid using descriptive elements such as color,” she said in an interview about her recent exhibition Habitats at Leila Heller Gallery. “I also prefer to encourage the spectator to immers(e) themselves into the work, and get lost in the details, discovering something new with each viewing. Using color would separate forms more succinctly, and I am interested in non-hierarchical hybridity.”
Based in Istanbul, Buyruk creates monochromatic fields that are concentrated with realistic flowers, succulents, and mosses. Many of the large-scale works span more than four feet and are encased in wooden boxes. The artist discreetly situates a pig, hawk, and bearded dragon, among other birds and rodents, near the center. Look closer, though, and spot human ears and lips.
By embedding animals and anatomy evenly into the botanical topography, Buyruk hopes to dismantle hierarchies of species and reject the idea of human superiority. She also has chosen animals that inspire fearful reactions from people.
Certain animals pose a serious threat to human evolution, which has been engraved in our DNA. We find some animals uncomfortable or frightening because (of) their shape or color, causing us to negatively and incur a ‘flight’ response. I wanted to juxtapose our age-old, biologically rendered fear against our socially conditioned admiration for flowers, and position them together.
Buyruk noted that while quarantined in her home because of the coronavirus pandemic, she’s been thinking about the instability of people’s control over nature. “What we experienced during the pandemic process enabled us to face the weaknesses of the human species again,” she said. For more of the artist’s impeccably detailed habitats, head to Instagram.
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