Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ceramic Stream-of-Conciousness

This post is about contemporary ceramic art. We have flowered heads, experimental, rococo and occasionally lit anatomy, and gas masks as recurring themes. Honestly.

Peruvian-born sculptor Emil Alzamora works in NY state. On his site you'll find sculptures in other media as well. I love the play between the traditional motifs or methods and the contemporary subjects. Embonpoint in particular reminds me of Julie Moon (who we'll get to). See more in his portfolio.

Mother & Child 5 ceramic 18" x 20" x 12", 2009

Embonpoint ceramic 9" x 7.5" x 7.5" 2007

Toxiconomist ceramic 11"x8"x5", 2008

The gas-mask leads us to American artist Kate MacDowell, whose rococo sculptures with elements from anatomy and natural (or unnatural?) history, combined in unexpected and surreal ways, like this mama bunny in a gas mask:

First and Last Breadth


According to wikipedia, Solastalgia is a neologism coined by the Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht in 2003 with the first article published on this concept in 2005. It describes a form of psychic or existential distress caused by environmental change, such as mining or climate change.


I also enjoy the multi-media, light coming from the (ceramic) heart (with exra venus flytraps) in Venus. Follow the link to her portfolio.

Local Toronto artist Julie Moon (now also re-located to NY) is one of my favorites. I have not one, but two brooches she created and met her once at one of the MADE shows at the Gladstone. One of the brooches is an antomically correct white ceramic heart with a floral pattern, like the one illustrated; I love the contrast of the internal organ with the feminine flowers, like those you might expect on fine china. A colleague once said he thought it was pretty but actually it's gross. I think he's wrong, and it's beautiful, but that tension between dainty and blattant is part of the appeal.

She also has the mixed-media, including ceramics with lights, the surreal anatomy and flowered heads like those we see above. Check out her extensive portfolio.


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  2. Wow - what a great post! I visited the MAD (Museum of Art and Design) in NYC last Sept (2009) and they had a mind blowing exhibit of contemporary ceramics. It was something not even on my 'radar' at the time and I was quite taken with it. Thanks for sharing! I hope it's not bad form to post a link to my blog - but you totally inspired me to go through my notes from NYC and do this long overdue post;

  3. Thanks very much! I really enjoy a lot of traditional media (from ceramics to needlework) which are re-invented by contemporary artists. I think it's on my 'radar' because there are some great local artists.

    Thanks for the link - I only protest secret embedded links to dubious sites ;) and am happy to get pertinent links with really interesting art I didn't know. :)



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