Joan Davidow, the owner-director of SITE131 in Dallas, is adamant that the city hasn’t hosted a ceramics show in far too long. In curating clay artists, she hit an obstacle: Ceramists from outside this region who are already replete with gallery representation are wary about shipping works. So Davidow decided to bring this one closer to home. All artists in the current SITE131 show are Texas-based, with the exception of Jenny Hata Blumenfield.
Eric and Morgan Grasham, Julia Jalowiec, Shelby David Meier, Brian Molanphy and Angel Oloshove offered insights into their work for a small audience at the gallery on October 13th in a discussion moderated by Davidow. The panel of artists held forth on the material of clay as one that has a ‘molecular memory’ (Angel Oloshove), and an archeological relevance long after its usefulness as a functional object (Shelby Meier). Artist Mary Vernon continued this dialogue from the audience by stating that the objects put forth by this group of artists will long outlive her own paintings, and certainly the artists themselves. The panel took that point and ruminated amongst themselves what their works would communicate to anyone who may research them in the far-away future.
The standouts of the show are the collaborative works of Eric and Morgan Grasham. Eric’s ceramic vessels are freestanding objects that are inserted into Morgan’s taxidermied animal hides. The vessels and daggers are functionally removable, though they discourage viewer handling with their grandiose flourishes and mason-stained brilliance. Morgan’s taxidermy is expressive in ways that showcase the majesty of form, and they’re terrifying objects of grace and power. The artists are experts in the language of their respective mediums, and are clear to point out the historical nature of taxidermy and ceramics. Seeing them talk about their work produces a feeling of good fortune; these thoughtful couplings are hard to come by.
Davidow asked the panel if perfectionism is present in their practice. Morgan Grasham replied: “You cannot replace a living animal with foam, which is what is inside of those. Do your best and let it go.”
Through Dec. 14, 2018 at SITE131, Dallas