Continuing through April 3, 2015
Ceramics as a fine art medium came of age over half a century ago when its crafts tradition of the wheel-turned vessel was neatly and powerfully undone by Peter Voulkos’ Abstract Expressionist style. He related it to avant grade painting of the time, registering the ‘attack’ of the artist rather than serving utilitarian ends. Conceptual artist Janine Antoni returns to the potter’s wheel to explore the act of childbirth in her new show. The artist, who became a mother ten years ago, had been interested in the theme, and created two trios of pit-fired, unglazed ceramic bowls on the theme of crowning, when the baby’s head lies between its mother’s pubic bones.
Antoni acquired women’s pubic bones and sacrums, or tailbones (which move back during crowning) from a biological supply house, and made ceramic casts of them. She used the bone casts as shaping tools for a series of bowls and vases, affixing the casts to the tops of the vases and the sides of the bowls, or to the bottom, as a tripod base. The new container is molded by its maternal container. In addition, a drawing depicts a fetus wearing two pelvic bones, both gilded, as a crown or headdress. A chair-rail molding fashioned from plaster that Antoni scraped with pelvic molds (which are affixed to one wall) dominates a front room of the gallery’s 1911 Willis Polk mansion.