The inescapable relevance of materials is one of the great issues of art. Materials, in turn, are related to craft and skills. Many artists have railed against this material boundary, on and off, for a long time. Others take alternate approaches, all between stark conceptualism and, say, something like the skilled, over the superb, over the top Baroque work of Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini.
[All work shown is by Gareth Mason]
Gareth Mason is addressing this in his own way, by utilizing the materials, intentionally infusing them with an ontological narrative about the work. This also involves conceptual issues, including much questioning of the signifiers of ceramic work. During our personal talk, and later in his gallery talk, Mason mentions that he consciously and deliberately kept the traditional (going back to the earliest ceramics) form of the jar. The earliest jars were functional, of course, and derived from woven baskets which preceded them.
Mason is using that form as a kind of baseline upon which he explores, questions, and states issues within the medium. The results are dependent on viewing distance. From afar, they look almost "normal" and as one approaches them, they configure themselves into the complex objects they are. Sometimes self-contradictory, others synergizing, the viewer's expectations of what ceramics look like are challenged. These things may be perceived as a kind of dissonance at first, then as they sink in, immediately prompt one's mind not only into accepting the work, but opening up to others like it, and to thinking of ceramics in general in a plurality of ways.
Congratulations to the Gareth Mason and Mindy Solomon for a good show.
|Jennifer Kosharek (L.) and Mindy Solomon (R.)|
Above, Mindy Solomon and Jennifer Kosharek, two of the top gallerists in the City of Saint Petersburg.