In all the time we’ve been looking and writing about art, we’ve never run across a show with so much verbiage attached to it (and this includes displays from newly minted ‘discovery of a lifetime’ artists as well as exhibits featuring the ‘Grand Old Men’ in the century of your choice). Language like ‘aesthetic arousal’, ‘primal mud energy’, and more metaphors than anyone should ever use (most of them referencing sex, for some reason) drift around this artist and his work, while entertaining, are not exactly helpful when it comes to convincing people to see a show of ceramic art.
So let’s just use three simple words to tell you why 33 Pots: A Decade in Cahoots – Gareth Mason is worth your time: color, texture, material.
Color: The pigments of the various glazes, impurities, and the clay itself swirl across the surface, burrow into the objects’ fiber, bursting into view in unexpected places, not as patterns but randomly, as semi-accidents of chemistry and firing. The effect is loose and flowing, bumping into the textures, flowing over and around, or building up a level of saturated color behind a ridge of clay.
Texture: Initially formed on a potter’s wheel then dented, gouged, pierced, and scraped, the surface churns and pulsates with movement, a sensory overload for the eyes. It recalls a primeval landscape, with every inch a new vista to explore and marvel over.
Material: The combination of porcelain clay with stoneware and other elements plays off and defies the reputation of ceramics as being a dainty or flimsy material. These aren’t elegant mannered pieces from the 18th century’s Meissen or Sèvres factories – no charming figures flirting in pastoral settings here. This is Earth itself rising up to push back against the artist who would try to control and direct its movement. There is strength here in the size and weight of the objects but also a surprising fragility, with edges seemingly ready to crumble away on the next gust of wind.
Finally, these modern works are different from the preconceived notions of clay; its boundaries, history, and place in the fine arts. They crackle with energy, displaying the power of fire, earth, and water, and reveling in their unique forms. It’s invigorating and exciting, a life force that sweeps away the depression and exhaustion of the last eight months, making this the art show we need now.
On view October 1 – October 30
Jason Jacques Gallery, 29 East 73rd Street, Hours: Mon – Sat: 10-6, Admission: Free.
Advance appointments may be made via firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule an appointment to view the exhibition, please click here. You may also schedule an appointment by calling (212) 535-7500. Jason Jacques Gallery asks that only 3 visitors enter the gallery at a time. If the gallery is at capacity, visitors will be asked to return at a later time or wait outside. Please wear a mask and maintain 6 ft. of social distance while inside, in accordance with city guidelines.