A New Show Highlights the Appealingly Messy Side of Contemporary Ceramics
Closing in Barcelona this week is an exhibition that celebrates some of the bigger trends in contemporary ceramics these days — namely bright, drippy glazes; lumpy, organic forms; and raw, tactile, fissured surfaces. Presented by Side Gallery, “Exposed Material” is an overview of work by four artists who span several generations and hail from places ranging from America to Auckland, New Zealand. UK artist Faye Hadfield’s “Scary Pots” series depicts Edvard Munch–like faces, heavily painted and built up with layers of color using slip, glazes, oxide, and luster. The New Zealand artist Virginia Leonard contributes stacked ceramic works in which she piles random individual pieces on top of one another, a methodology she refers to as “building towers resembling her human form.” In Adam Knoche’s “Bleached” series, glazed vessels appear to be encrusted with salt but in fact their aesthetic is the result of a research process that focuses on pulverizing dry clay into powder, forming it into molds, and then allowing it to fracture in the kiln. And Vince Palacios’s “Potato Tree with Vines” vases, covered with bulbous protrusions, are meant to evoke a sense of awkwardness. Closes April 14.