Reshaping the 2%: Contemporary Ceramics
Art Gallery, Mesa College, San Diego
Brian Benfer, Ianna Frisby, Joanne Hayakawa, Rebecca Manson, Brad Schwieger, Julie York
Show Runs Through February 26, 2015
article by Cathy Breslaw
"Luke, I'm Your Mother" H 11" x L 10" x W 6" Porcelain, decals and luster 2014
Mesa College Ceramics Professor Nathan Betschart curated this contemporary ceramics exhibition at the college’s Art Gallery. The six artists in the show hail from various parts of the United States and though they use similar materials, their work is distinctively diverse.
Brian Benfer’s drawing that extends the entire length of one long gallery wall, is part of Benfer’s ‘Chalkboard Series’, where he uses a porcelain composite that mimics ‘chalk’, creating a ‘blackboard’ surface. The result is a static black and white drawing with a richly textured mark-making surface - an overall pattern which the artist produced directly onto the wall. Ianna Frisby’s two conceptual porcelain wall pieces comment on American history and culture. “Luke, I’m Your Mother”, is a white Darth Vader mask, made from porcelain that is embellished with flowers, showing the opposite more benevolent side of the “Dark Force”(humanity). Her other work “White Guilt”comments on the dark history of southern plantations. Joanna Hayakawa uses a combination of porcelain, steel and natural bush branches to explore connections between the biological side of humanity and the natural world. Her “Inhale, Exhale/Aspiration” works which take the form of ceramic body parts, coupled with the structural imagery of natural bushes, challenge the viewer to examine these relationships. Rebecca Manson’s porcelain and epoxy wall pieces appear as ‘sculptural paintings’ in their shape, form and context. Comprised of many individual small thin elongated ceramic shapes resembling nails, the totality of these works have the physicality of human skeletons and collections of small bones. Brad Schwieger’s ceramic tabletop sculptures relate to architectural landscapes and are wheel thrown forms that together appear as industrial in content. There is a certain amount of surface detail and adornment in the colored glazes used that are not evident in most of the other works in the show, but relate to traditional notions of ceramics. Julie York’s wall works relate closely to drawing and painting. Also made from porcelain, York’s works use color, form and perspective drawing to create ceramic architectural interior spaces that possess a meditative quality. These six artists have unique art practices that taken together portray a complex, evolving and compelling view of the changing face of contemporary ceramic sculpture.
“Inhale…Exhale,” 2013, 30”(L) x 28”(W) x 8”(D) (Wall), Porcelain, Beeswax, Steel and Rose Branches and Prismacolor