“My works are cause and effect relationships in material form,” says artist Erik Gellert. “Their hand rolled nature gives each coil a slight irregularity and a distinction which informs the overall shape and patterns that comprise each work.”
Using hundreds of hand-rolled coils of clay, Gellert carefully layers the ribbons atop each other, creating a thick slab of undulating clay which protrudes and recedes into coral-like forms. The tendrils are then coated with acrylic paint to capture more vivid, varied color schemes than traditional ceramic processes can achieve.
This July, Gellert unravels the techniques, inspirations, and meaning behind his sculptures in a three hour hands-on demonstration in the form & concept atrium. Audience members will interact with and assist Gellert as he manipulates clay cords to form his quintessential sculptures. Alicia Bailey’s workshop on Innovative Folded Book Forms will be presented simultaneously, among the works of Superscript.
Erik Gellert is a contemporary ceramicist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Inspired by contradictions, Gellert pairs slabs of clay formed into perfectly squared shapes with wild, rounded coils of clay which protrude and recede across smooth planes. The work’s hand-rolled nature creates a slight irregularity and a distinction which informs the overall shape and patterns that comprise each sculpture.
“I have a new outlook,” says ceramicist Susan Beiner. “By utilizing repetition and multiplication, I create dense patterning–but with spaces to take a breath.”
Susan Beiner returns to form & concept for a solo exhibition featuring a large-scale, modular installation. The wall sculptures will feature Beiner’s characteristic floral forms, a porcelain garden of tactile blooms with allusions to architectural structures. Though it reads as one unit, each piece will be a unique work, showcasing Beiner’s vocabulary of encrusted forms.
Beiner’s ceramic art is often dominated by vivid, mottled greens. For Sugar Fields, the artist strived to develop new methods and incorporate a new color palette. “I started thinking about color in a more illustrative way, allowing form to develop as a graphic element,” the ceramicist said. Beiner layers multiple glazes to create deeper hues, which allows an illusion of depth to coat the surface. The appearance of drippy glazes envelops the piece, evoking the kaleidoscopic effects of sunlight passing through the leaves of a plant.
Brett Kern‘s latest generation of porcelain dinosaur “inflatables” is already going extinct! We have about ten dinos left—including this fire engine red T-rex, and an adorable pair of parasaurolophuses—so email us now to see the rest and put in your order.
There’s a brand new array of charming ceramics in the form & concept shop. Rachel Donner‘s mugs, platters, and vases come in an array of fun colors and geometric forms. Brian Gienewski is a Philadelphia-based artist with a knack for creating oozing, colorful drips of glaze on cups, tumblers, and vases. When she isn’t making porcelain blooms, Susan Beiner crafts unique, eye-catching mugs with striking color combinations. Browse some of our favorite pieces below, and click the images to see more.
Wesley Anderegg: ARIZONA opens tonight (Friday, 3/30) from 5 to 7 pm at form & concept, followed by an artist talk on Saturday (3/31) from 2 to 3 pm. For a first look at the show, make sure to pick up a copy of this week’s Pasatiempo. Michael Abatemarco interviewed Wes for a lively piece called Raising Arizona, excerpted here:
For ceramic artist Wesley Anderegg, Arizona is a state of mind, and he might picture you there with a can of Coors sooner than with luna moths. But who knows? You shouldn’t put anything past him. After all, Anderegg would gladly trade in stereotypical cowboys roping steers for quirky characters on hobby horses, or for dreamers floating in the sky, high above the saguaro. About two dozen ceramic tiles depicting life in Arizona, as filtered through the wry and surreal mind of the artist, are on exhibit at Form & Concept, each one measuring about 12 by 12 inches and about an inch and a half thick.
Emily Van Cleve of Santa Fe Arts Journal penned a preview of the show, with some fantastic quotes from Wes. Here’s a tidbit:
It’s fair to say that California-based ceramic artist Wesley Anderegg has somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the state of Arizona.
He was born in Phoenix, graduated from Arizona State University and lived in the area for more than 30 years. His show “Arizona” at form & concept, which opens on March 30, pokes fun at life in his birthplace.
“I love the desert,” he explains. “From January through March, there’s no better place to be. When I grew up there in the 1950s, we lived at the edge of town. The desert was a great place to raise hell.”
Learn more about the show at the links below, and make sure to stop by tonight & tomorrow to meet the artist!
A menagerie of golden-eyed, ceramic creatures has arrived at form & concept for Wookjae Maeng’s solo exhibition BALANCE this Friday. The animals were accompanied by a small media circus this week. BALANCE was prominently featured in Santa Fe Reporter‘s calendar section, and Emily Van Cleve covered the show in Santa Fe Arts Journal. Here’s an excerpt from her write-up:
“The theme of my work is to represent the complex, ambiguous and uncomfortable relationship between man and animal,” says Wookjae Maeng, a South Korean artist whose porcelain wall hangings and pedestal pieces of deer, rhinos, lions, bighorn sheep and other creatures are on display in form & concept’s show “Balance” that opens on October 27.
Some animals are presented like hunting trophies, while other sculptures highlight the invisibility of the animal world to the human eye. All of Maeng’s animals have golden eyes that confront the viewer.
Click here to read the full piece, which includes a quote from our director Frank. This Friday, Pasatiempo covered the show in its Exhibitionism section. Here’s a snippet of Michael Abatemarco’s write-up:
Maeng’s wall-mounted portraits of deer, rhinos, lions, and bighorn sheep, beautifully rendered in porcelain, call our attention to animals brought to the brink of extinction and crises in biodiversity. Hung in a trophy-like manner, they also underscore the separation between humankind and the rest of the animal kingdom.
Heather Bradley‘s new art installation, innominate, is a centerpiece of our One-Year Anniversary Exhibition. Heather perched red and white pottery on small shelves that span a 30-foot stretch of wall. Between the vessels are sheets of porcelain with diary entries scrawled on them, and words painted directly on the wall in elegant cursive.
The words hint at innominate‘s deeply personal story arc: “body,” “wound,” “heal” and “scar” are among them. The pottery is titled after the human body as well, with three distinct series dubbed Arterial, Spinal and Handheld. Heather was inspired to write a new artist statement after completing the series. Read her words below, and keep your eye out for a forthcoming video and blog post that explores the story behind innominate.
My hands have been in clay now for 22 years. They’ve grown more and more adept at predicting the behavior of the clay and manipulating it into the forms I want. Now, my hands are also essential to my job. I recently received my license as a massage therapist, and this new endeavor has been making me think of my ceramic work in a whole new light.
I think of my pots as frozen moments in time, almost literally. The clay goes from a sloppy wet, flowing substance to a dry, solid, more permanent object so quickly. Whatever I bring to the potter’s wheel on any given day is materialized into the work.
The way in which I approach a massage table is very similar to the way in which I approach my potter’s wheel. I must be very conscious of my own mental state, my thoughts, and my own body when giving a massage. I must watch my breath, be super-attentive to the placement of my fingers, and the angle of my neck when giving massage.
My experience as a massage therapist has begun informing my art work in various ways. I find myself thinking of the necks of pots as vertebral columns, wedging the clay using the body mechanics I was taught in deep tissue class, and using my palpation skills to find air bubbles and imperfections.
Most significantly, being a massage therapist has taught me more about proprioception – the awareness of one’s own body, one’s own sense of how they occupy space. I’m now approaching my clay with a greater sense of self, my body, and in particular, my hands, and what they can feel.
I believe the more and more I can truly be present and embodied, the more the work will flow honestly through me and carry a sense of the moment in which it was created.
Click here to browse all of Heather’s work on our website, and make sure to come see her innominate installation. It’s on view through October 22, as part of our One-Year Anniversary Exhibition. Stay tuned for a studio visit video and blog, where Heather will reveal her inspiration for the innominate series.
You could call Wesley Anderegg‘s earthenware figures superheroes, though they’re (mostly) not the kind with masks or capes. Anderegg depicts everyday heroes, and their gap-toothed grins are evidence of their grit. “They’ve been through some hard knocks, but they are survivors, still doing their thing day in and day out,” the California artist says.
Anderegg is originally from Arizona, and started his art career making functional ceramics. He’s a lifelong people watcher, so his subject matter inevitably shifted into the figurative realm. Watch our video interview above, and scroll down to read the full conversation and learn how Anderegg developed his idiosyncratic sculptural style.
Speaking of superheroes, form & concept celebrates its first anniversary on May 26 with a Superhero Masquerade. Anderegg will appear at the opening, and his work will be on view in our One-Year Anniversary Exhibition. Make sure to wear a superhero costume to the event, which will feature a costume contest and VIP cereal bar (costume required for VIP cereal bar entry).
Did you make art when you were a kid?
No, I wasn’t an artsy kid. Not at all. I was a baseball player, beer drinker and motorcycle racer growing up.
Do you think growing up in Arizona has influenced your ceramics work?
The desert colors definitely influenced me. My palette is always earthen colors. I don’t go for crazy magenta, it’s just all ochres and red irons and black. That’s more my palette.
So you’ve always resisted using bright colors?
Yep. If it’s too bright, I run the other way. Lemon yellow is not going to happen. I gotta make it ochre, you know?
You studied geology for your undergraduate degree. When did art enter the picture?
I was working on the oil fields up in Wyoming, and I had all of these miserable jobs. My mom said, ‘Why don’t you go to school?’ I said, ‘Sure, sign me up.’ She signed me up and she picked my major, and that was it. She thought I could become a schoolteacher and I’d have a decent job.
I was a junior when I took a ceramics class as an elective, and that was it. I knew. That was the first art class I’d ever had in my whole life. I was petrified going in there, because I thought, ‘Everybody’s going to be so good, and I don’t know anything.’ Everybody was a beginner, so I felt right at home.
Why do you think you fell in love with ceramics so quickly?
I’ve got super good hand-eye coordination, from sports. I’m really good with my hands. The clay, it came easier to me than probably most people. I worked really hard, too. I loved it. I made more work my first semester than the rest of the class combined. I was in there all night, every night of the week, just learning how to throw on the potter’s wheel. I wanted to learn how to do it.
So you graduated with a degree in geology. How did you start your career as an artist?
Every summer, I would go to California and I’d live in my van on the beach. I’d save up $500, and I’d get in my ’65 Volkswagen van and I’d drive it over to California, and I’d live on the streets in my van at the beach. While I was doing that, I realized that I didn’t want any kind of straight job. I didn’t want to be in the mainstream of America.
I thought, ‘If I could just make pots and have a little shack by the beach and maybe sell something here or there, that sounds great.’ When I graduated, I just set up a studio and went to work.
Did you have any reservations about diving straight into it?
I was young and naive. The doubts didn’t even enter my mind. I said, ‘I’m going to make this work, come hell or high water. I’m just going to do this.’ But I also knew that I had to make a product that sold. When I was starting out, I was trying to make stuff that people liked.
I just put all that money away, and after about 7 years I was totally sick of being this little machine and pumping out these pots. So I started making the figurative stuff. I started pinching these little cups with faces on them.
Tell us more about the early figurative work.
When me and my wife first started going out, we would go to the bar and we would drink kamikazes and stuff like that. I started making these shot glasses that had these crazy faces on them and were all bent up. Before that, all I had ever done was throw on the potter’s wheel.
The faces were really ugly, but I kind of liked them ugly. So did everybody else. They were really gnarly, and I was kind of angst-ridden, and I wanted to express my gnarly-isms, you know? People liked them, so I just took off on those. They even had the funky teeth and everything back then. I didn’t want anything cutesy.
At some point after that, I stopped making cups and they became sculpture.
Why were the original pieces so grotesque?
I was an angry young man. I had a lot of stuff I wanted to get out. It was therapy, you know? It was a cathartic process to vent all this stuff.
They were autobiographical, and emotionally how I was feeling. How do you explain feeling like you’re being torn apart? You actually tear somebody apart. Or I had people sucking my blood. I would create mosquitoes and ticks, making that reference of people sucking you dry. All these little narratives were filtering through my work.
Were any of them portraits?
Some of them are based on real people, like heroes or interesting folks. A lot of them represent me, but emotionally what I’m doing or going through.
A lot of your figures are in danger!
They often are in peril. That’s what I’m drawn to. I like characters. The beautiful people don’t interest me at all. I like the funky people, and the people that are going to tell you just what they think. Those are the people I gravitate towards.
Tell us about your studio.
We live on a 22-acre ranch in the middle of nowhere in California. My studio is a 10-stall horse barn that is 60 x 40 feet. It’s 2,400 square feet on the bottom floor, and then there’s a second story. It’s a wonderful structure.
Does it feel like you always have a little audience, with all of your work surrounding you?
Sometimes there’s more of a crowd depending on how much work’s around. Everybody’s got eyes, and everybody’s hanging out. It doesn’t bother me, but I think some people get creeped out by it.
Speaking of the eyes, they’re so realistic! Why are the faces and bodies so stylized, while the eyes have this realism to them?
The eyes take me time. I do it for two reasons. One is because I like the reality of it. Two, people think you know what you’re doing after you’re technically tight enough. The rest of my work can be pretty loose, but I let people know that I’m doing this looseness because I want to. I’m going to give you some tightness here in the eyes, just for you.
What’s the range of reactions you get to your work?
There’s all kinds of reactions. Some people get the humor and laugh, and other people punch their partner and say, ‘Oh god, look at this shit, man! Bleeeeh!’ You can tell if they get it or if they don’t, it’s really funny. I like it that way, because it means that you’re not middle-of-the-road.
My wife is a potter. She makes beautiful pottery. When we were on a residency at Anderson Ranch Art Center, people would come in our studio and would either walk right past my work and talk to Donna, or they would ignore Donna and talk to me about my work. There was nobody who liked us both.
How would you boil down your artistic philosophy?
Everything that I try to put out there is genuine to me. It’s my stuff, I’m not looking for other influences. I’m just trying to talk to people about my existence.
Generally, I think that as people, we have so much in common but nobody really thinks we do. We’ve all been heartbroken, we’ve all lost loved ones. All different circumstances, but we all share all these emotions. That’s all part of being human, you know? We share that. How do you express that, and relay that to people?
We’re so much more alike than we are different, but nobody wants to talk about that, especially in today’s climate. You don’t think exactly like I do, but I’m sure we could agree on something.
Do your works look like you?
If you look at me, you’ll see the resemblance. Actually I have really good teeth, but my face is pretty haggard. I’ve got way too many wrinkles already, but that’s just the way it goes. (laughs)