Converging Bodies: Contemporary Norwegian Ceramics
Heidi Bjørgan, Lillian Tørlen, Lissette Escobar, Sofie Nørsteng
at Patrick Parrish, New York,
25 October - 8 December
Converging Bodies opening Oct 25th at Patrick Parrish, New York shows the work of seven Norwegian ceramicists. The artists’ wide range of expression demonstrates a diverse rather than conforming field and coming together in the exhibition they are offering a cross section of where Norwegian contemporary ceramics is located today.
From works that examine aspect of use and utility, where the ceramic field has its origins, to figurative sculptural objects, the exhibition can be perceived as a grouping of disconnected elements. However, both individually and collectively the artists in the exhibition represent a common thread; they all investigate and challenge form and body, two of the main building blocks upon which the ceramic field is founded. From Beth Wyller's large vessels from 1994 to Sofie Nørsteng's most recent objects related to balance and growth principles, from Elisabeth von Krogh’s skillful play with the vessel to Andrea Scholze’s amorphous yet expressive sculptures, a main focus for all the artists remain an exploration of shape, volume and body.
Beth Wyller’s (b. 1947) recent “tiles-series” explores the convergence of two- and three- dimensional logic, mirroring her large-scale vessels from the early 1990s. Her irregular surfaces and shifting, handmade lines contrast with the implicit weight and starkness of her artworks, juxtaposing a vigorous mark-making and the common ceramic modalities of restraint and balance.
Anthropomorphic qualities are inherent in the vessel with forms often described by the anatomy of the human body; foot, stomach, shoulders and so on. In Elisabeth von Krogh’s (b. 1947) vessels, these bodily attributes are being investigated and applied to size and form, creating unexpected shapes rather than focusing on the functional aspect of the object.
The starting point for Sofie Nørsteng’s (b. 1981) work is “the interest in body, relationship, transformation and biodiversity.” In direct dialogue with the clay, Nørsteng has developed her own methodical approach to improvisation, producing expressive objects which in relation to each other appear as bodily experiences, recalling human relationships and converging natural elements.
Lillian Tørlen’s (b. 1975) vases, originally shown in Gallery Format Oslo, carry with them impressions and signs of displacement from their former gallery-home where they clung to corners or forced themselves into different gaps and empty spaces. Consequently, the vases reveal a “will” of sorts, and the effect of this “will” is visibly clear—the objects are all deformed and clearly affected by the environmental adaptations they no longer need, enhancing both a bodily and a psychological reading of the work.
Andrea Scholze’s (b. 1988) roughly modeled creatures tell the story of Man’s destructive path. In her expressive sculptures, human interest is set against nature, giving ample warnings of an imminent, dystopian future.
The Pre-Columbian aesthetics of her native Peru is the origin of Lissette Escobar’s (b. 1982) oeuvre. With a keen interest in anthropomorphic shapes and the ritual narratives of ceramic vessel Escobar makes figurative hybrids, in which she scrutinizes the amalgamation of her two cultures and explores notions of belonging.
Like her self-proclaimed hero, the American George Ohr, Heidi Bjørgan (b. 1970) challenges the notion of what a potter may be. Shown at Patrick Parrish are parts of her series of consoles inspired by Dresden’s Zwinger palace and its architectural and inventory extravagancies. Smaller ceramic jars in various states of deformity are resting on top of the consoles. Forming an extension to its base the jars erase the distinction between the object and the console that carries them, whereby the marriage of the two become a sculptural work where errors and imperfections contribute to their distinctive expressions.
Converging Bodies : Contemporary Norwegian Ceramics is curated by Lars Sture and Patrick Parrish. The exhibition is realized by Patrick Parrish, New York in partnership with Norwegian Crafts.
Converging Bodies : Contemporary Norwegian Ceramics runs from October 25th through December 8th, 2018 with an opening reception on Thursday, October 25th, 2018 from 6 to 8 pm.
For more info please contact:
Lars Sture, Norwegian Crafts
Zoe Fisher, Patrick Parrish