Our Gallery will be closed on April 15, 2022 and April 16, 2022 for Good Friday and Easter holidays. Happy Holidays
Apr 06

Earth Oracles: Contemporary Ceramic Arts

By Earl Miller, April 2022, March 19 – June 25th, 2022, Mayten’s is pleased to announce Earth Oracles, an ambitious survey of contemporary ceramic art comprising a diverse group of fifteen ceramic artists from the United States and Canada.



March 19 – June 25th, 2022

Mayten’s

Panel Discussion: Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Sunday, March 20, 3–5 p.m

Mayten’s is pleased to announce Earth Oracles, an ambitious survey of contemporary ceramic art comprising a diverse group of fifteen ceramic artists from the United States and Canada.

Mostly but not exclusively mid-career artists residing in a range of locations—including San Diego, Brooklyn, Montreal, and Toronto—the exhibited artists present object-oriented, materialist ceramics and then transform them through the introduction and revision of a range of art and decorative art histories from Western to Asian. Take, for instance, the Asian influence in Hong Kong–born, Toronto-based artist Sami Tsang’s Chicken and Duck Talk (2022), a grotesquely cartoonish sculpture comprising two figures linked mouth to mouth by a stretched, umbilical cord–like tongue. Or consider the Western art historical influence of Lindsay Montgomery’s, Hag Rebellion (2022), which re-configures the imagery of the medieval and Renaissance periods, imbuing it with a feminist narrative celebrating the Earth “as the ultimate wealth.” Co-curators Montgomery and Talaee “seek objects that take [them] to another world . . . beyond engagement with materials, realities, and histories.” The key, then, is transformation.

One sees, for example, a brash representation of change that recasts the history of ceramics in Laurent Craste’s Révolution IV (2019), in which an axe splits the surface of a delicate, modestly ornate antique porcelain vase with gold trim and decoration. This violent rupture of tradition is indicative not only of Modernism but also of futurity.

Linda Sormin, Self Portrait 2021-2022, Pen, glazed handbuilt stoneware, found ceramic shards, handcut watercolour on paper, resin, epoxy, found fibers, found objects, 3D printed plastic, gold leaf, 13x17x8″

Many subthemes wind throughout this exhibition: the grotesque, the neo-Gothic, and the revisional insertion of female and Black bodies into art history. Exemplary of these is Sharon Norwood’s Wicked! This Is Not a Fairy Tale! 2022, comprising Black female heads on which hair merges with line—the intertwining of art and what it represents. They are beautiful yet macabre for their disembodiment.

Many times, one will witness a manifestation of horror vacui (fear of empty space)—a bacchanalia of colour, twisted forms, and scattered shards, especially visible in Linda Sormin’s sprawling floor installation floor installation including two of her pieces Ancestor (2020-2022) and Self-Portrait (2021-2022). It’s a messy, energetic Rauschenberg-reminiscent collage (glazed handbuilt stoneware, found ceramic shards, handcut watercolour on paper, resin, epoxy, found fibers, found objects, gold leaf) that, while earthly—both for its material and installation—loosens this gravitational pull in an animated frenzy.

While ceramic art has long been established as a contemporary art genre, no longer cloistered as either craft or antiquity, Earth Oracles showcases just how vast the spectrum of contemporary ceramic art is and how variant histories and identities can be juxtaposed to present an eclectic cosmopolitanism that redefines the medium.

- By Earl Miller, April 2022

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Press - Wicked! This Is Not a Fairy Tale! 2022

Sharon Norwood, Wicked! This Is Not a Fairy Tale! 2022,

glazed ceramic, overglaze, luster, silver tray, 7x14x8″

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Press - Patronus 2019

Roxanne Jackson, Patronus 2019,

ceramic, glaze, luster, 22x24x13″

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Press - Furl 2019

Linda Sormin, Furl 2019,

glazed handbuilt stoneware, found ceramic shards, epoxy, gold leaf, 19x20x24″

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