Curator’s Statement

For this exhibition I have included works of art by artists who work in an interdisciplinary mode, not only in order to tap into ambiguity, entropy, and the uncanny, but also to challenge the plinth and the pedestal while embracing the possibilities of alternative installation strategies, and/or time-based media. Within the rubric of sculptural abstraction, I am especially interested in phenomenology—i.e., the tension and scale of objects in space; the impact of perception and bodily movement on the part of the artist while creating and the spectator while experiencing art; and performative strategies, processes, and outcomes. This selection of artists offers a sampling of current practices and a consideration of the current crossover tendency within the worlds of ceramics and contemporary art.

-Elizabeth Carpenter

Created for The Form Will Find Its Way: Contemporary Ceramic Sculptural Abstraction, this piece uses 1,500 pounds of unfired porcelain clay, 50 gallons of porcelain slip, and steel to highlight material change and exhaustion over time. As the steel oxidizes due to the contact with the wet clay rust forms on the surface. This rust is then pulled out through the porcelain, creating a halo of the steel form within the clay. As the clay dries and constricts over the form stress cracks emerge and travel at will until they meet another crack or a steel element. As with the other installations of porcelain and steel, this work will unfold in a way that is reliant on the conditions of its location.

Exhibition Information:

The Katherine E. Nash Gallery presents The Form Will Find Its Way: Contemporary Ceramic Sculptural Abstraction, an international ceramics exhibition organized in association with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). Minneapolis-based independent curator Elizabeth Carpenter has invited international ceramic artists to participate in the exhibition. Carpenter’s title for the exhibition and the curatorial premise guiding her choice of artists stemmed from a quotation by Peter Voulkos, an artist who almost single-handedly ushered in an interdisciplinary approach to the ceramic arts through his breakthrough conviction that the fields of painting, sculpture, and pottery could coalesce in works of great power and significance. Carpenter, in turn, explored experimental, cross-disciplinary, and aesthetically diverse artistic practices, with the explicit intention to avoid preconceptions about established categories like art and craft. The Form Will Find Its Way: Contemporary Ceramic Sculptural Abstraction coincides with Claytopia, the 53rd Annual NCECA Conference, which will take place March 27 – 30, 2019 in Minneapolis. The exhibition includes the creation of a new, site-specific clay installation by Dutch artist Alexandra Engelfriet, made possible with support from the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts and Continental Clay Company.