Hongwei Li. Landscape #2, 2007. Earthenware, raku fired.
Phillip Maberry. Venus on a Half Shell, 1987. Ceramic, glazed.
On April 14, 2017, I attended a gallery exposition called Core Sample: Additional Findings at Alfred Ceramic Art Museum. Core Sample: Additional Findings is the second in a series of exhibitions that explore the permanent collection of the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum. As the titles suggests, the exhibitions are a sample of the artwork that constitutes the fundamental ground on which the museum is built. The exhibitions set forth the overarching structural foundation of the museum’s inventory of ceramic art and works on paper by ceramic artists. There are many interesting works. Two pieces interested me.
The first piece is Landscape #2 created by Hongwei Li (2007). This is the artwork that used modular design. Like a totem pole, this work piled a smaller object on top of a bigger object. Even though the title said Landscape, at first glance, I felt it looked like a totem pole that piled bust statues of vampires because each shape looked like a man, but its sharp ears seemed like a monster, like a vampire. Depending on the point of view, it can be seen as a pile of interesting shapes of woods. For me, however, whichever way I looked at this artwork, it seemed like a totem pole of bust statues of vampires. In other words, it seemed to be artificial work, not a landscape. I could not understand why he named this artwork as Landscape #2. When I looked at this artwork on a diagonal, finally I could understand the meaning of the title. The shadow of this art reflected and looked like shaped piles of rocks. It reminded me of the oddly shaped rocks on Mount Roraima in South Africa. I have never thought that the shadows of art also can be artwork, so this piece really surprised and excited me.
The second piece is Venus on a Half Shell created by Phillip Maberry (1987). This ceramic statue is an homage to the picture, Birth of Venus, painted by Sandro Botticelli in 1486. Birth of Venus was painted in the Early Renaissance. The characteristic of Early Renaissance art is strict logics. The art was drawn by perspective and painted with brilliant colors. On the other hand, the statue created by Maberry seems to reflect the characteristics of cubism and pop art. The various lines drawn on the statue made this art more cubic, and the use of color reminded me of Andy Warhol’s art. I have seen many works of art that are an homage to other artists’ work, and mostly they use similar techniques. However, Maberry created a statue which was an homage to the Early Renaissance picture without Renaissance techniques. His idea of combining other artistic techniques to create new art is very interesting.
This gallery exposition gave me a lot of interesting and new ideas. When I create art, I always stick with stereotyped thinking. For better or for worse, my art is general and stable. A lot of people may think my art is very good; however, that is it. My art is generally beautiful, but it does not have any strong appeal and does not make people consider the art. I thought beautiful and elegant art is good art, so I got interesting ideas from this exposition. I understood that the artwork broke the stereotype of art and gave us fresh surprise and excitement. I will use this new idea for my artwork to make it more interesting and attractive.