In a Public Art Installation at Rock Center, Emily Mullin’s Floral and Ceramic Hybrids Are Suddenly Larger Than Life

The last time I saw Emily Mullin‘s work in person, it was in the upstairs loft at Jack Hanley, when the gallery was still located on a sleepy side street on the Lower East Side. This summer, if I want to see her work, I just have to take the 7 train to Rockefeller Center, where her work is splashed across the plaza as part of Art in Focus, a public art initiative by Rock Center in collaboration with the Art Production Fund. In still-life ceramic and floral vitrines framed by Art Deco flourishes in the lobby of 45 Rock, in photographic murals lining the underground concourse level, and at Top of the Rock, the viewing platform where visitors can look out over Manhattan, her work is suddenly larger than life and available to all. It’s a huge leap in visibility for the Brooklyn-based artist, who produced the photographic works on view in collaboration with her partner, Tony, as well as a throwback to the earliest moments of her New York career, when she commuted to Midtown for a job designing window displays up the street at Bergdorf Goodman.

We’ve long been fans of Mullin’s — highly recommend our Q&A with Mullin from last year as well as peeping some of her earlier works here — so it’s a win for us, too. Somehow, the fact that she often fills her vessels with show-stopping floral arrangements and backdrops them with vibrant custom-made shelves never lets the ceramics themselves take a backseat. Her vases are always interesting, and often framed by increasingly elaborate armatures. In her newest works, standard bodies are adorned with leafy, trellis- or wreath-like arms; thick, snaking puzzle-piece slabs; ruffled layers; or curlicues run amok. Mullin likens these armatures to the practice of Modernist artists who flattened images in space. “I feel like I can make vessels forever,” Mullin has said. “I’m always trying to make new forms, experiment with new glazes, new colors, all of that. I could never exhaust the medium.” See them though September 2.