In the beginning, there was earth. Humans have made functional objects and symbolic, spiritual forms in clay for thousands of years, and while today that tradition continues, more conceptual and aesthetic outcomes tend to motivate artists working with earth. Shoshana Wayne Gallery is pleased to present “Forms Fired”, a collection of over 40 contemporary sculptures in clay on loan from galleries, collectors and artists worldwide.
Earth and fire unifies the 18 artists here. They all make fired forms, but unlike traditional ceramics their objects eschew functionality—relationships between a viewer, object, and space often define the meaning, sometimes in order to make social or political statements or in an attempt to stretch formal, conceptual or material boundaries. In sum these are sculptures in the round that inspire us through imagination, ideas, skill and beauty.
“Forms Fired” includes several artists who have an existing history with the gallery over its 35 years in Los Angeles, and its longstanding commitment to the support of women artists, such as Arlene Shechet, Kathy Butterly, Ann Agee, or Beverly Semmes, as well as some well known artists who are showing at the gallery and in some cases in Los Angeles for the first time. These include New York sculptor Petah Coyne, the renowned Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry, UCLA Arts Professor and conceptual provocateur Rodrigo Valenzuela, the German painter and sculptor Anselm Reyle, New York conceptual artist Nicole Cherubini, Korean Yeesookyung, who showed at the 2017 Venice Biennale, and Copenhagen-based Israeli artist Tal R, whose ceramics are a study in contrasts, between form and formlessness, precision and imprecision, abstraction and figuration, raw structure and polished finish. They inhabit gaps, gleefully, celebrating ambiguity.
The gallery is also extremely proud to present the work of several young and up-and-coming artists new to the Los Angeles gallery scene. Zachary Leener makes highly-stylized, geometric, candy colored sculptures of prosaic structures or pop forms in his hometown of Los Angeles. Stella Sujin is a young Korean artist based in Paris who blends investigations of the female body, classical motifs and biology to conjure organic, hybrid and surreal forms. Similarly, Jolie Ngo, a graduate of RISD, and current MFA student at Alfred University in New York, harnesses 3D-printing technology to create wonderfully lively, vibrant, colorful and inventive vessels.
Anina Major is one of a group of talented young artists working primarily in clay, drawing widely on anthropological research and oral histories of African Americans to inform fragile, loosely thatched structures that resemble textiles. Born in India and now based in Northern California, Ashwini Bhat draws inspiration from nature, dance, music. Her layered, intricate sculptures resemble free form poetry in clay. Nigerian-born Ebitenyefa Baralaye, an artist, designer and educator in Detroit works in multiple media but often restricts himself to a monochromatic palate of raw clay from which to shape symbolic and socially motivated forms and statements. Lindsey Mendick, an artist based in London, was recently selected as a finalist for the prestigious Future Generation Prize—finalists participate in a group exhibition in Venice during the Biennale. She finds inspiration in daily life, emotions, feelings, simple things around her which she channels, and then transforms as sculptures. Her work is so honest and yet fragile at the same time.