Figuration

18 March-1 May 2011 

Harrison Gallery, The Clay Studio of Philadelphia, PA 

Humankind's fascination with himself/herself has been represented in pictorial or sculptural works for thousands of years. Whether represented on the walls of caves or Etruscan Vases, in Tang Dynasty Figures, Michelangelo’s David, or in Pre-Columbian Fertility Icons, the representation of the figure in art has been key to our understanding of the evolution of ancient cultures, and ultimately our selves. Of course, representations of the figure have constantly been used in ceramics. But few contemporary makers in clay in the past 40 years have created works that are compelling both formally and conceptually. However recently, more artists are creating works that demonstrate both an understanding of the complexities of sculpting or rendering a figure, while simultaneously charging the work with relevant and resonant meaning.

The seven artists participating in this exhibition have each developed a highly personal way of working; their articulation of the human form representing multiple aesthetics that move beyond purely academic representation, the representation of true likeness not their end goal. Proportions might be exaggerated or truncated, or singular physical attributes may be emphasized, de-emphasized or deformed. These choices are made in support of the message that each maker wishes to convey.

The participating artists are: Pattie Chalmers, Anne Drew Potter, Clayton Keyes, Melissa Mencini, Lee Stoliar, Paolo Porelli and Christina West.

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