Review From Boston Underground:
The Futures: The Next Generation of Ceramic Trailblazers @ Vessels Gallery
Text Written By Rachel Parker
Vessels Gallery presents an eclectic symphony of style and form with its new show “The Futures: The Next Generation of Ceramic Trailblazers.” The overall effect is a diverse medley of sometimes intricate, sometimes conceptual and sometimes functional pieces filling the space to the brim. The show presents the work of mid-career and early career ceramic artists all connected to the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, which provides artists the space for a retreat, and the time to focus on their art. Springing from Watershed, the show is organized almost as an artistic genealogical tree. Each artist spiraling out and away from the very same community space. From the inventive playfulness of Seth Rainville, who curated the show, to the conceptual installation of Stephanie Rozene, there is something to please everyone in this treasure chest of art objects.
A highlight of the show, Rainville’s “Theater cups” can be found tucked away in the shelving which takes up one wall of the gallery space. Reminiscent of Joseph Cornell’s multi-medium ‘boxes’ the two cups, symbolic of Rainville’s style, have miniature theatrical stages recessed inside the cups with hand painted dramatic scenes. A theater show inside of a teacup, one shows a man in a boat on crashing waves with umbrellas falling from the sky and the word “ponder” below. His work is made even more playful with the use of words, presenting the scenes or elaborating on their theme, often like fables or fairy tales.
Diametrically opposed, Shawn Spangler’s works are masterpieces of form and color, with precise red lines highlighting the soft green curves of teapots and other functional forms. Also working with color but without the same clean precision, Jonathan Mess’s works stand like rock formations or reclaimed natural elements in high contrast to the surround ceramic work. His unique process was described to me in this way: he reuses or reclaims old and discarded pieces of pottery from the woods outside of Watershed, and puts the broken pieces inside of molds, and pours colored clay over them. The resulting multicolored forms seem to imitate the nature from which Mess reclaimed the broken pottery. There are also two large installations in the space as well, one is Stephanie Rozene’s “Corrosive Use of Money in Politics” a collection of embossed plates.
Since it is simply impossible to mention each artist in turn I’ll end with a list and suggest that each is different and interesting in their own way: Sam Chung, Bryan Hopkins, Elizabeth Kendall, Jonathan Mess, Dan Molyneux, Jill Oberman, Seth Rainville, Stephanie Rozene, Shawn Spangler. With prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand the show is reasonably priced as well as playfully creative, I suggest it to anyone since there is something for everyone in this small gallery space. The show is on until the 18th of May.
GET THERE: Take the Red line – a short walk from Broadway Station
SEE IT: On view through May 18th
MORE INFO: http://vesselsgallery.com
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