Sunday, March 8, 2009
"Dirt on Delight: Impulses that Form Clay" at the University of Pennsylvania's ICA
Clay is a base material. From potsherds to porcelain fixtures, clay is synonymous with the building of industries and cultures. At the same time , its very materiality—its tactile malleability, earthen sensuousness, and humidity—make it the medium of more elemental associations and expressions. The immediacy with which clay allows one to build form and create ornament underlies its appeal—especially in relation to current modes that seem to take fabrication increasingly out of artists' hands.
Ranging from modestly scaled pots to figurines to large sculptures, these objects cross a spectrum of conventional delineations among fine art, craft, and outsider practices. Collectively they suggest that clay appeals to basic impulses, starting with the delight of building form, coupled with the anxiety of completion. All of the works in the exhibition appear to be in some state of flux or growth.
"Dirt on Delight will be running January 16 - June 21, 2009 and is featuring significant work in clay by 22 artists spanning four generations. The artists include the current generation (Nicole Cherubini, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Jeffry Mitchell, Sterling Ruby, and Paul Swenbeck), artists who emerged during the 1990s (Ann Agee, Kathy Butterly, Jane Irish, Arlene Shechet, and Beverly Semmes), those who established clay as a critical material during the 1960s and 1970s (Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, Ron Nagle, Ken Price, Adrian Saxe, Beatrice Wood and Betty Woodman), and historic and outsider figures (Lucio Fontana, Peter Voulkos, and Rudolf Staffel, as well as George Ohr and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein).
Visit the ICA's website for more information