Vessel. It’s a suggestive word with several meanings and some ambiguous associations. It’s a physical word, kind of weighty when spoken. The word Vessel, in the context of art + design, suggests antiquities much as contemporary objects. I like the word for this reason, and because it lends a sort of freedom to its definition around these objects. A vessel might be functional or not. It might be a unique piece or made in small production. It might stand proudly on your mantle or be perched outside in the garden. It might be smooth and soft or chunky and rough around the edges. Swirls, chunks, geometry, structure, Mother Nature, lunar landscapes, clay... Each of these artists is working (or have worked) in very different environments, with different motivations and inspirations. Included in this first online presentation, a new project from The Vitrine, are: Hilda Hellström (Swedish, lives London), Rimma Tchilingarian (German), Tracy Wilkinson (English, lives in Los Angeles), Peter Voulkos (American 1924-2002), Shoko Michikawa (Japan), & Ben Medansky (American).
Hilda Hellström is a Swedish artist who lives and works in London. She studied Product Design at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, and went on to get her Masters in Design Products from the Royal College of Art in 2012. That same year she began her series of Sedimentation vessels and urns using Jesmonite, a non-toxic, acrylic-based plaster. Inspired by many things including rock sedimentation and geological phenomena, the patterns on these sculptural vessels are startling and impossible to define.
I couldn't help but include American legend, Peter Voulkos, in this group. Such an inspiration for so many artists and his brute, earthy, passionate and 'ugly-beautiful' aesthetic seems as current today as ever. Copyright 1995-2007 Voulkos & Co. Photo: Hiromu Narita. These two pieces are from a series called "Stacks." Made using stoneware and fired in a wood oven. "Kings Chamber" measures 34 x 26". Copyright: 1995-2007, Voulkos & Co. Photo: schoppleinstudio.com
Tracy Wilkinson is a ceramic artist and basket weaver who lives in Los Angeles. She recently began a series of sculptural ceramic pieces that combine elements of basket weaving using natural fibers. The objects feel as though they are in flight, light and airy, with the contrast of the earth-toned glazing that keeps them grounded. Inspired by the Southern California landscape, sailing, and Native American basket weaving, the results are unique, very abstract forms that capture a sense of movement and rhythm.
The Gradient Vase by Berlin based artist, Rimma Tchilingarian. Rimma studied Industrial and CommunicationsDesign at the University of Applied Sciences at Potsdam. She is interested in experimenting with the unique qualities of porcelain and exploring new possibilities in the medium. Her work is a balance between traditional craftsmanship + contemporary design.
Shozo Michikawa was born on the island of Hokkaido in Japan, in 1953. He now lives in Seto, Aichi Prefecture, a center for ceramic production since ancient times. His work is very inspired by the landscape in which he lives and works, including Mt. Usu volcanic near where he grew up. He says, "the energy of Nature is truly immense. No matter how much our sciences and civilization might evolve and multiply the power of human beings, it is inconsequential in the face of Nature"s typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis and erupting volcanos." (Source: Puls Ceramics).
Born in Arizona, Ben Medansky now lives and works in Los Angeles. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and worked with several artists including Peter Shire, Kelly Lamb, and the Haas Brothers before going out on his own and starting Ben Medansky Ceramics in 2012. As he says on his website, "his ceramic practice is simple: a few pounds of clay, an extruder, a wheel, basic tools, trusted apprentice, experiments in glaze and a vision for each individual objects." His work includes one of a kind objects, vessels, and functional objects, each made by hand. There is a strong influence of geometry and architecture in the forms, and the southern california and desert landscapes in the glazes.