Press Release

Pollen on a West Wind will run from February 9th - March 25th, 2023.

An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 pm on February 9th at Jason Jacques Gallery, 529 West 20th Street, NYC.

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We are thrilled to present Pollen on a West Wind: a sweeping, broad-spectrum exhibition curated by artist, educator, and independent curator Tony Marsh.

Color, form, and experimentation take precedence; clay is treated as surface, as form, and as pure possibility— each artist's oeuvre touches upon different aspects of ceramic history, as well as its ineffable present. On occasion, there are thumb-prints to be glimpsed. On other occasions, the colorful chemistry of glaze takes center stage. Sometimes, painterly prowess shines like a light. At others, sculpture stands at the forefront.

And yet, there is a common thread which runs through Pollen on a West Wind: most of the participating artists are known as painters or sculptors, very few have been formally trained in ceramics. They also have an institutional affiliation in common: all have spent time working as Resident Artists of the CCC, the Center for Contemporary Ceramics at California State University in Long Beach, as part of the Ceramic Arts Program of which Marsh has directed for over 25 years.

There are no thematic limitations to the scope of this show. While some vessels pose formal questions, others hit symbolic and emotional registers; while some wall-mounted works toe the line between painting and relief, others read in sculptural terms, projecting into space; some works deal with the banal, others with the particular. Figuration and abstraction exist in compliment to one another.

With equal parts tenacity and tenderness, many works are explorations of artists' personal histories — though memory and nostalgia play just as much a role as does the present.

Painters paint on clay, sculptors sculpt with clay, and all of the sudden these ideas are no longer disparate. A monumental, wheel-thrown vessel is treated as a canvas; glaze and slip fall forward. A number of works are left, tantalizingly, unglazed. Others seem to have been thrown or hand-built for the express purpose of encouraging glaze to drip, pool, and flow in exquisite ways.

As evidenced by the liberal use of mixed media, clay is not confined to itself nor it's own conventions. Repurposed and found materials— be they bricks, glass, hag stones, headphones, rope, fiber, fiberglass seating, fabric, or discarded clay fragments— feature prominently in this survey. The inclusion of foreign bodies in these ceramic works is as much a demonstration of skill as it is a way of story-telling, for objects may bear witness to one's life or personal history in the same way that symbols can.

All said, the bent of this exhibition is very much grounded in the history of Los Angeles' ceramics scene. "The West Coast is where contemporary American ceramics was born," Marsh says. "This is the 2nd or 3rd wave in the lineage of West Coast ceramics and we're pushing on forward."

Willingness to experiment with clay is the key to forward momentum— and it's yielded a reinvention of the relationship between art and craft.

This exhibition features works by Alessandro Pessoli, Amy Bessone, Anna Sew Hoy, Bryan Burk, Nicki Green, Chris Miles, Chris Miller, Jeffry Mitchell, Jessica Hutchins, Kristen Morgin, Milena Muzquiz, Ramekon, Raven Halfmoon, Roger Herman, Ryan Flores, Tam Van Tran, Todd Yu Xiang and Tony Marsh.

Tony Marsh is a noted ceramicist whose artistic pursuit has focused on the “non-utilitarian ceramic vessel” for the last 30 years— his work may be spotted in many private and permanent museum collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Art and Design in New York, SFMOMA, The Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris, The M Museum, Hong Kong, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of Art, the Gardiner Museum of Art in Toronto and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

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