Hidden in Plain Sight

On view through March 31, the show reflects on notions of "reconstruction" (as they have titled the show, which beyond postwar France, resonates poignantly in a city still reeling from Hurricane Harvey). Some of the works—bold jigsaws of color by Leon Polk Smith; Claire Falkenstein’s leafy wonder—are from Gascoin’s time. The more contemporary pieces—including petite Bo Joseph bronzes incorporating found objects; a Sheila Hicks textile that suggests fabric as an almost painterly medium; Thaddeus Wolfe's glass vases in impossible colors; and Donna Green's dropped-from-the-heavens stoneware—all relate to the shapes and warmth and vibes and even the shadows of Gascoin. “The exhibition means to encourage conversations about and between objects and paintings and sculptures in a way that narrows the gap between fine art and the decorative arts,” says Dorn. “At home, it’s not such a leap from table and chair to a framed oil canvas to a blazing ceramic vase to a bronze sculpture on a pedestal. So, it starts here.”


3 - 24 February 2018
Utopia Art Sydney


Opening Reception: Saturday, January 27, 1 - 4pm
January 27 – March 31, 2018
the action or process of reconstructing or being reconstructed;
a thing that has been rebuilt after being damaged or destroyed;
an impression, model, or re-enactment of a past event…
McClain Gallery is pleased to present re:construction, a group exhibition that explores and encourages the dialogues between form and function, art and design, abstraction, extraction and representation by bringing together three-dimensional works by Donna Green, Sheila Hicks, Bo Joseph, Julia Kunin and Thaddeus Wolfe; paintings and works on paper by Ruth Asawa, Nicolas Carone, Claire Falkenstein, Leon Polk Smith, André Lanskoy and Julian Stanczak; with furniture by Marcel Gascoin.
Through various mediums and perspectives, these artists and artisans have a preoccupation with the methods of building form, whether intended to serve a function or result in a non-traditional object. The exhibition energizes the visual and textural dialogue between these fields, and in turn extends our understanding and appreciation of these formal and intuitive relationships. 
re:construction opens Saturday, January 27, 2018 with a reception from 1 - 4pm, and will run until March 31, 2018.
Bo Joseph’s bronzes, Julia Kunin’s ceramics, and Thaddeus Wolfe’s glass works address the intuition of the creator to re-contextualize and build on historical, ritualistic and contemporary objects and portraits.  Donna Green, Nicolas Carone, André Lanskoy, Leon Polk Smith and Julian Stanczak create line through gestural abstraction and optical illusion, challenging our perceptions of dimension, space, and form. Ruth Asawa, Claire Falkenstein and Sheila Hicks are consistent participants in contemporary discussions that place increasingly equal emphasis and dedication to craftsmanship and further attend to the important relationship between art and design.
Marcel Gascoin, a member of the UAM (L’Union des Artistes Moderne), worked as an architect and designer with the French Ministry of Reconstruction and Urbanism to design and build homes and the furniture to fill them during the post-war housing crisis in France. Created out of necessity and with precisely refined details, the pieces demonstrate a streamlined presentation that bridges art and industry and presents a definitive aesthetic in mid twentieth-century design.
re:construction is curated by Erin Dorn of McClain Gallery and Simone Joseph of SGJ Fine Art (New York) in collaboration with designer Malcolm James Kutner.

Donna Green: Ceramics, McClain Gallery, Houston

Donna Green
July 18 – August 29, 2015
McClain Gallery is pleased to introduce the ceramic works of Donna Green in a solo exhibition of recently completed vessels, bowls and anthropomorphic forms. To create these compelling and expressive elements, Green rolls clay coils by hand, then joins them by scraping the coils together, smoothing them, then prodding and pushing the forms from the wet clay resulting in, as Green puts it - "a gestural freedom" that emphasizes the sensuality of the medium.
Donna Green cites the notion of Wabi-Sabi - or the concept that there is beauty in imperfection - as an important influence in her work:  "In pushing the clay towards its physical limits, the vessel plays with the notion of beauty and ugliness."  Green has spent years experimenting with glaze combinations, but also allows random elements to emerge in the firing process.  The results are often unexpected swirls of color.  

Donna Green is a sculptor, potter and photographer, who holds a degree in Industrial Design from the Sydney College of the Arts in Australia.  She moved to New York and joined Industrial Design Magazine as one of its editors.  Donna then began working in clay, studying at Greenwich House Pottery and the Parsons School of Design.  Her work has been exhibited at Japan House and Greenwich House Pottery and in Australia at Utopia Art Sydney, the Ray Hughes Gallery and the Legge Gallery.  She has participated in workshops at the Anderson Ranch Art Center in Colorado and the Good Hope Plantation in Jamaica.  Donna continues to work at Greenwich House Pottery as well as in her Long Island Studio.  This is her first exhibition in the United States outside of New York City.


By ARTAND, Sydney
Showcasing the art of four contemporary artists working with the medium of clay, ‘CLAY 2’ is currently on show at Utopia Art Sydney until 21 February 2015.
As a sequel to the ‘CLAY’ exhibition of 2014, ‘CLAY 2’continues to engage with artists who are creating works in clay that surpass the description of ‘ware’. Conceived as a kind of tribute to the late Mareea Gazzard – an artist who advocated for clay to be treated like any sculptural medium, not to be categorised as a ‘craft’ – the show interrogates the démodé divide between art and craft. It features a diverse collection of works by Donna Green, Glenn Barkley, Eloise Rankine, Brett Stone and Kati Watson, and prompts the audience to look not at the formal qualities of the works (the clay, glazes and techniques) but at the forms themselves.
ARTAND spoke to New York-based artist Donna Green, whose work in the show makes a nod towards the history of clay – one of the oldest and most enduring mediums of art – whilst also inscribing its own mark on our time.  
ARTAND: In the past, your work has been compared to Willem de Kooning’s paintings. What artists influence your practice?
Donna Green: I love looking at and talking to artists about their creative processes. Janet Mansfield was a master in ceramics. Looking at her work and her respect for the material was a turning point for me. The paintings of Emily Kame Kngwarreye are also influential; it is her intrinsic understanding of color and application that I find so exciting. Janelle Lynch, who photographs the landscape, taught me to find beauty in the ordinary or mundane - beauty in ugliness, wabi sabi. And I am inspired by the majesty and presence of the work of Peter Voulkos.
AA: Your artworks have an almost organic feel to them. What inspires this aesthetic?
DG: Their organic aesthetic is part of my visceral response to the clay. The act of making these vessels is physical and emotional. I squeeze and then roll the clay into coils. I scrape the coils together and then I use fingers, fist, thumb, elbow and chin to manipulate the form. But only when I feel I have a command over the material do I dare to make the most bold or provocative mark - a gestural freedom that is a relationship with the clay.
AA: Does this ‘gestural freedom’ ever manifest as a kind of randomness, or is each form carefully considered in the creation of your vessels?
DG: Randomness is not important in the creation of the vessels – every part of their formation is thought through. I look at the history of ceramics, from the Jōmon pots of Japan and the storage jars of the Han Dynasty, for example, to Classical Greek urns and the naturally occurring ‘Chinese scholars’ rocks’. I attempt to understand the strengths and limitations of the clay through experimentation – I have spent years experimenting with glaze recipes and combinations. But there is randomness in the firing process. These pieces are fired in a gas reduction kiln to cone 10 (1305 degrees Celsius). There the chemicals in the glazes react to the atmosphere in the kiln and the results are often unexpected and can appear random.
Clay 2, Utopia Art Sydney, Sydney, 28 January – 21 February 2015

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