Coming up in December, Brainworks Gallery is offering a terrific series of small-scale, 3-dimensional works focusing on ceramics. Curated by ceramics artist and professor Farnaz Sabet along with gallerist Erin Adams, Infinite Content features the works of seven exhibiting artists: Debby and Larry Kline, Alexsandra Papoban, Leslie Goldberg, Alina Hayes, Derrick Isono, Sharif Farrag, and Kellan King.
As co-curator, Adams stresses “We were looking for the highest quality work, both precisely and professionally constructed, with an expansive political focus. Since we are living in such highly-charged times, it was natural to find art with content along those lines.” Sabet adds “Everything is shifting, everything is transitioning. Every work of art we look at, we automatically think of politics.”
Both political and transformational, the subject matter of the show is open to an expression of the infinite nature of conflict, existence, and self-exploration, which each artist presents in a unique way.
Working in glazed ceramics, often incorporating China paint and luster, Alexsandra Papoban describes her work as revealing the “discomfort of viewing the world through the obstacles of darkness.” The artist has an eye afflicted with issues that compromise her vision, and she uses her own experience to merge blurred and stretched features and shape a unique interior view of the world.
Alina Hayes creates sculptural forms grounded in traditional studio pottery technique. Using porcelain, lusters, decals, and glaze. and contrasting texture, color, and form, Hayes creates voluptuous, sinuous work in her “Carry Me” series, while in other works the glaze she uses is almost opalescent, shimmering and glowing, creating the look of liquid frozen in a single breath.
Derrick Isono uses every-day objects and images as his inspiration, creating beautifully defined clay works that include figurative images.
Kellan King works in a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and plastic, shifting the context of objects through his perception of place. Surfaces shift from the expected allowing a change in scale and reality. His “Ossuary for Narcissa Drive,” above, includes gold luster, eucalyptus wood, and Lucite. Mysterious and disconcerting, his works visually shift and dazzle.
Ceramic artist Leslie Goldenberg combines textures and details using the Raku firing process – she shapes meticulous works with what she terms “a spontaneous surface.” Her lush and haunting masks subtly evoke what it means to be human. “Masks represent the idea of a new identity or a hidden one,” Goldenberg notes.
Sharif Farrag constructs richly layered ceramic works in a beautiful tangle of colors and forms that are both delicately sophisticated and whimsical.
Debby and Larry Kline work together, creating works that pose questions, shift context, and challenge preconceptions. “Humor softens the blow,” they report. With media that shifts depending upon the project they undertake, the pair have used everything from salt to Israeli mud, ceramics, foam, and cement to shape their works. “It is the process of experimentation that leads to truly amazing things in the studio,” they attest. Dealing with subjects both political, social, and humane, their witty, pointed, and above all, graceful, work is a conversation with the viewer.
Co-curator Farnaz Sabet makes a comparison between the ceramic process and the human experience, saying that it “embodies the human spirit and becomes a metaphor for the self…We shift and twist to accommodate our daily struggles…The act of using different materials and tools to carve out layers of the clay on the vessel mirrors the revelation of the inner self.”
The artwork in this exhibition is infused with a sense of elegy and quiet passion: in short, a kind of infinite content.
Infinite Content runs December 2nd through 23rd at Brainworks Gallery, 5364 W. Pico Blvd., LA, CA 90019
Opening 5-8 p.m. Dec. 2nd; closing with artists’ talk Dec. 23 4-5 p.m.