Billy White: Coming to America

Coming to America at Shrine marks Billy White’s well-deserved inaugural solo exhibition in New York, offering an exuberant selection of recent work; the paintings and sculptures currently on view dynamically illustrate White’s definitive creative focus and sustained capacity for fearless reinvention. ..

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Mysterious Feelings at Circle Contemporary

Circle Contemporary, the only Chicago space dedicated to integrated programming, has consistently offered ambitious and thoughtful group exhibitions since its founding early last year. Curated by Corrie Thompson, Mysterious Feelings brings together a highly varied selection of Chicago-based artists

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Curtis Davis

Cincinnati-based artist Curtis Davis blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture, alternating between totemic mixed-media assemblages and large scale panels. Davis’ mysterious abstractions conjure various interpretations, yet curious elements ground the viewer...

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Sylvia Fragoso

Untitled, glazed ceramic 

Untitled, glazed ceramic, 14" x 7" x 7", 2013

Untitled, glazed ceramic, 17" x 11" x 11", 2015

Untitled,  glazed ceramic, 15" x 8" x 5", 2014  all images courtesy NIAD

Untitled, glazed ceramic, 15" x 8" x 5", 2014

all images courtesy NIAD

Sylvia Fragoso’s methodically hand-built sculptures are crafted with a deceptive indelicacy and thick layering of glazes - small monuments in which form is defined by seeking rather than devising. Much like the ceramic work of Sterling Ruby or Julia Haft Candell, Fragoso reaches a compromise between concept and process. Where opportunities arise, she inserts symbolism that declares an identity for the work; subjects common in her drawings such as church and family are translated into physical form in a manner analogous to the way that her method of building with clusters of shapes on paper translates to her process of building with clay. References to function or representation are ultimately denied in favor of material manipulation and aesthetic - a revelation of the joy of making.

In a recent Art In America article The Happy Medium, Leah Ollman discusses the re-emergence of ceramics in the contemporary art discourse (especially in L.A.):

A new shift, roughly a decade old, has been catalyzed not by a single or even a few strong personalities, but by a broader redefinition and realignment of creative practice. Increasingly post-disciplinary, artists roam freely among mediums, unencumbered by traditional boundaries and hierarchical divisions. Many show a renewed interest in work of the hand, which they see as an antidote to theory- and concept-driven art. A messy physicality is often their (defiant) answer to the disembodied digital; theirs is a rising constituency for authenticity which advocates the material over the virtual.

This shift has extended to progressive art studios as well; in addition to Fragoso, other self-taught artists creating exceptional ceramic work are Mirov Menefee of The Canvas in Juneau, Alan Constable and Chris Mason of Arts Project Australia in Victoria, Cameron Morgan of Project Ability in Glasgow, Tanisha Warren at Creative Growth in Oakland, and Billy White, also of NIAD.  

Fragoso (b. 1962) has exhibited recently in Hold Onto Your Structure : The Ceramics of Sylvia Fragoso at NIAD Art Center (2016), Telling It Slant organized by Courtney Eldridge at the Richmond Art Center (2015), Visions et Créations Dissidents at Musée de la Création Franche in Bégles, France (2014), ArtPad SF at the Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco (2013), and extensively in group exhibitions at NIAD, where she has maintained studio practice for many years.

Untitled , graphite on paper, 24" x 18"

Untitled, graphite on paper, 24" x 18"

Chris Mason

 

 

Ebony and Ivory holding up peanut butter and jam on toast and milkshakes, modeling material, 2014

Not Titled (woman with snake skin shoes), ceramic, 290mm x 230mm x 250mm

Not titled (woman with snake) , ceramic, 260mm x 170mm x 230mm

Not titled (woman with snake), ceramic, 260mm x 170mm x 230mm

Not titled (standing nude), ceramic, 200mm x 220mm x 140mm

Bare Butt in a Beanie, modeling material, 13 x 21 x 15.5cm

Chris Mason’s small-scale sculptures describe his subjects with adoringly realistic attention to the nature of their forms. In miniature, he achieves the weight and feel of flesh in a manner that’s simultaneously idealized and strikingly true to life. Mason has had an active and accomplished career in Australia and exhibited previously in New York, Chicago, and Paris. Mason has been working at Arts Project Australia, a progressive art studio in Melbourne, since 1998.  From Arts Project Australia:

“Chris Mason is an accomplished artist in a variety of media, including painting, drawing and ceramics. His eclectic subject matter ranges from trains and aircraft to mermaids and voluptuously large women. Mason has a demonstrated ability to render the exterior and underlying structure of the female body, particularly in his sculptural work. Mason has a passion for writing stories that often relate directly to the themes in his art making and this sense of narrative is apparent in his work.” (see More)

Jessie Dunahoo

 

Jessie Dunahoo's compelling, beautiful installations are vehicles for relating his personal history and fictional narratives, while also recalling their genesis as navigational tools. Composed of patchwork, multi-layered panels, he diligently hand-stitches culled materials (plastic grocery bags, twine, fabric remnants and samples) together by touch, constructing large-scale tapestries, shelter-like structures that respond to specific rooms, as well as outdoor environments. Dunahoo's complex oeuvre feels akin to the work of other contemporary fiber artists (such as Sheila Pepe and Sabrina Gschwandtner), but also reflects the rich tradition and utility of quilt-making in rural Kentucky.

Dunahoo, 82, has been maintaining a studio practice at Latitute Artist Community in Lexington, Kentucky since their founding 15 years ago. He has shown previously at Andrew Edlin Gallery (NYC)  and extensively in the  Lexington area, including Institute 193, a non-profit contemporary exhibition space.

From Institute 193:

"Jessie Dunahoo began his art career as a child, sewing bread bags the length of his family’s farmhouse near Beattyville, Kentucky. As a young man, Dunahoo began exploring the family farm by hanging intersecting strings, ropes and wires which could be grasped and threaded, on various fences and trees, thereby creating 3-d maps which he used to navigate outdoor space.
Jessie Dunahoo is deaf and blind. In time, Dunahoo’s environments have grown and evolved into complex sewn structures made of found materials including grocery bags, fabric samples, pieces of old clothing and twine. Through an interpreter, Jessie describes his works as shelters, and they are strung about his home and yard, covering his walls, floor and ceiling. " (see more)

Chris Chronopoulos

Chris Chronopoulos, Viking Helmet, foam core board, 2014, photo credit: Pure Vision Arts

Chris Chronopoulos creates intriguing sculptural work using everyday materials such as paper,  foam core, and foil. These objects thoughtfully combine his various aspirations and attentions, including "his Greek heritage, interest in martial arts, and knowledge of the ancient world. Chris has built an impressive body of sculptures that depict weaponry from Greek Roman, Medieval, and Viking cultures." (See More) 

Chris Chronopoulos (born 1988, Hell's Kitchen) has been a member of Pure Vision Arts since 2011. Pure Vision is an excellent progressive art studio located in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. Chronopoulos has exhibited at the American Folk Art Museum, the 2015 Outsider Art FairArt Enables in Washington DC, and extensively at Pure Vision Arts.

                               various mixed media helmets

Chris Chronopoulos in the studio with various mixed media championship belts, credit for all photos: Pure Vision Arts