Photos and reporting by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL, 62035, USA. If you enjoyed this post, then like the post, and also like my Facebook page. Check out Beachfront Pottery posts on Instagram @beachfrontpottery. There is additional information about Beachfront Pottery on my web site.
The Blanche/Blanc exhibit took place from January 26 through March 13, 2021 in the Bruno David Gallery in Clayton, Missouri.
This is the street entrance of the gallery.
The Call for Entry
There was no call for entry, as this was an invitational group exhibit.
The Ceramic Art Pieces
The exhibit pieces were white, or hues of white color, arranged in a white-walled exhibit space. There were many two dimensional pieces, and only a few 3D pieces in the exhibit. These were the only ceramic pieces, the third 3D piece was a plaster sculpture.
These large (about 6 feet tall altogether with the pedestal) and otherworldly ceramic sculptures attract the viewers’ attention from all angles. New aspects of the Firstlings reveal humanoid shapes.
Here is Arny’s statement from his web site: “I am obsessed with the predicament of the human form, both its fragility and its dominance in the environment. The son of an immigrant tool and die maker who was permanently paralyzed in a factory accident, I grew up preoccupied with the notion of wholeness—of body and place. Making sculpture has always been my way of understanding the world.
I was trained at a very young age to look carefully at how things work, to steal with my eyes (as my father put it) while poring over the shops and drafting tables of his industrial practice. As I developed as an artist, the scope of these observations extended beyond tools and machines to the intricacies of living form. This tendency toward visual appraisal was undoubtedly honed by seeing my father, as powerful as he was, struggle against the realities of living with a disability. Despite the wheelchairs, braces and hand controls for driving the Pontiac that I was taught to repair and modify, some losses simply cannot be engineered away.
My sculptures and works on paper investigate the body in a state of ambiguous metamorphosis, struggling to adapt to challenges and hostilities that originate within the body and from an unpredictable and evolving environment. What, specifically, they are becoming is not very important—that they are on their way toward an unknown conclusion is. Some of the figures are grotesque, some are alluring, and some are both. Drawing on human and animal bodies, these almost otherworldly figures precariously gesture, as if even they don’t know what they truly are.
The drawings began as a warm up exercise, to quickly experiment with the fluidity of form without the constraints of gravity and the inherent challenges of working with clay. The drawings and sculptures now develop symbiotically, each influence how I see and make the other.
I work in clay for its mutability and plasticity. Many of my sculptures are formed by grafting individual parts together in a manner that nods at structural order but disregards anatomical and proportional correctness. Irregular outgrowths in the material signal erratic germination or atrophy—a misfiguration of appendages. Limbs that don’t appear to work often-times take on pronounced roles in the visual hierarchy I assemble. The resulting forms are often simultaneously heroic and absurd—they acknowledge the limitations of the body and flout conventional response systems. Where traditional figurative sculpture often captures a predictable motion in time and space, my work changes as the viewer moves around it. What happens on one side might be wholly unanticipated on the other. By working against symmetry, I defy the expectations of wholeness for the body. Their stilled and puzzled nature is my grasping for truth or a viable system to make things whole.”
To see more of his works, visit his web site.