Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Clay day

Ceramic fever has already struck New Zealand art schools and taken territory beyond. Artists are presenting ceramics in ways that ignore the conventional divide between art and craft. If you want to see the grip of ceramics in institutional curator land, the top floor of the Whitney Biennial of contemporary American art is probably for you. The Biennial itself is a dispiriting experience packed with archives and arcane tidbits (and not in a good way). It's rather like being trapped on a train listening to half a dozen loud conversations about stuff you know very little about and once you've found a clue to it, the conversations immediately stop.  In this self-involved context the handmade, human-scaled and intimate jump out. While it’s all Americans in the Biennial the ceramic play of NZ artists like Kate Newby, Rohan Wealleans and Suji Park would easily foot it in this company. Who'd have imagined that it would be ceramics that would help return personality and eccentricity into the contemplation of art.
Images: from the top, Pam Lims and Amy Sillman, Shio Kusaka, Stirling Ruby, John Mason