2015-16 Clay Art Center’s Artist in Residence Exit Exhibitions
Max Seinfeld and Chris Pickett
On June 4, 2016 Clay Art Center celebrated the opening of Space and Time: a duo exhibition featuring whimsical functional works by Barbara Rittenberg Fellow Chris Pickett and abstract sculpture by Artist-in-Resident Max Seinfeld. Made at Clay Art Center during their year-long residencies, Space and Time runs June 4 – July 15, 2016 . Also on exhibit in the Main Classroom display case are sculptural vessels by Westchester Community Foundation Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist fellow Jose Tlaczani.
Since September these two artists have spent space and time working alongside each other. This exhibition explores line and color through Pickett’s whimsical pottery and Seinfeld’s intimate sculpture. As part of our year-long focus IN OUR BACKYARD, we will see how their immersion in this urban, eclectic community environment shaped their paths as artists and makers.
A recent MFA graduate from University of Florida, Gainesville, Barbara Rittenberg Fellow Chris Pickett’s hand built porcelain combines form, color and design to create utilitarian work that is culturally relevant and aesthetically poignant. His forms and imagery are often suggestive of physical intimacy, personal domestic spaces and childhood experience.
Max Seinfeld’s experimental sculpture is transformed from fiber into ceramics as well as glaze phenomena. A recent post-baccalaureate from SUNY New Paltz, Seinfeld has developed a body of work through a process-oriented practice, creating non-referential sculptures that address material and process. His artistic methods explore the possibilities and limitations a material presents through alternative modes of making.
Max Seinfeld “Flower Brick” $575
Chris Pickett “Liquor Bottle” $225
Max Seinfeld “Honey Drip” $550
Chris Pickett “Bud Vase” $72
Chris Pickett “Chaise Lounge Tray” $135
Chris Pickett “Olive Tray” $$225
Chris Pickett “Low Vase” $185
Max Seinfeld “Drained” Detail
Chris Pickett “Spring Vase” Detail
Max Seinfeld “Faint Squeeze” $550
Chris Pickett “Atomic Mugs” $62 each
Max Seinfeld “Wedge” $500
Max Seinfeld “Descent” $500
Max Seinfeld “Drained” $550
Max Seinfeld “Pressed” Detail
Max Seinfeld “Languid” Detail
Chris Pickett “Circles Make Square” $450
Max Seinfeld “Agglomerate” $500
Max Seinfeld “Pressed” $550
Chris Pickett “Oil Can” $225
Max Seinfeld “Porous” $575
Max Seinfeld “Drained” Detail
Chris Pickett “Spring Vase” $245
Max Seinfeld “Impending Touch” $575
Max Seinfeld “Peer” $500
Max Seinfeld “Languid” $550
Max Seinfeld “Jut” $550
Max Seinfeld “Touch” $550
Max Seinfeld “Porous” Detail
Max Seinfeld “Bending Drip” $500
Max Seinfeld “Impending Touch” Detail
Max Seinfeld Left-“Peer” Right-“Honey Drip” Detail
Max Seinfeld “Flower Brick” Detail
Max Seinfeld received his BFA from the University of Hartford, Connecticut in 2014 and finished his post-baccalaureate studies from the State University of New York at New Paltz, New York in 2015. After completing a four month assistantship at Peters Valley School of craft in Layton, New Jersey he was accepted as a resident artist at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, New York. In addition to a formal education he works as a part time studio assistant for Doug Peltzman Pottery and will be continuing his residency for a second year at The Clay Art Center.
About his work, Max states, “Currently, I am developing a body of work through a process oriented practice creating non referential sculptures that address material and process. I tend to favor repetitive artistic methods in hopes of thoroughly exploring the possibilities and limitations a material presents through alternative modes of making. By transforming my sculptures from fiber into ceramics, I create a more permanent surface than is achievable working solely in fiber. I weave forms by wrapping plant-based and synthetic fibers around newspaper dowels; a variety of fibers are used to obtain specific attributes such as high absorbency rates and specific textures. I then dip these in casting slip and fire them in a gas kiln to burn out all of the organic material, effectively leaving clay shells or husks. At this point I deconstruct these woven forms and reassemble them using low-fire glazes. I challenge myself with the process of constructing, deconstructing, and reconstructing, which allows me to play and take risks in the effort of building a sense of tension within each sculpture. Each structure goes through at least six to eight low temperature firings before being shelved for a time. I pack them away and revisit them after a month to decide whether or not the firing process will continue. Working this way creates a strong relationship between myself as a maker and the work. The naming of each piece is a product of this process, based on reactions that I experience during the process or the ideas a finished piece may radiate. Ultimately, I hope to encourage a connection between the viewer and my work by compelling the audience to observe the gesture and depth through a balance of control and serendipitous occurrence.”
Chris Pickett grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Childhood experiences filled with Lincoln Logs, improvised tree house construction and action figure forts constructed of twigs and pine needles, taught Chris to love working with his hands at an early age. These early experiences would become a significant influence on his work years later. Chris earned his BFA from the University of Tennessee in 2001. In the years that followed, Chris maintained a studio practice at his home in Chattanooga, while frequently working as a studio assistant at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. Chris completed his graduate studies at the University of Florida and was awarded his MFA in 2011.
About his work Chris states, “The human desire for comfort is universal. In moments of uncertainty, it insulates us from anxiety and unease. My functional ceramic vessels cater to this hunger for physical and emotional comfort and gratification. Using nostalgia as a point of reference, I utilize form, color and design to evoke a sense of familiarity and solace. I choose visual language that is suggestive of the comforting nature of physical intimacy, personal domestic spaces and childhood experiences. The use of low relief stencils and compound mold systems allow me to articulate vessels with a specific formal language. With the appearance of being freshly constructed, the fullness of form allows these vessels to evoke a sense of play and ease. Generous volumes reference childlike items, such as toys and stuffed animals, and serve as metaphors of our own bodies that allude to the comforts of physical intimacy. Exaggerated pillow forms create a desire to physically interact with the work, and voluptuous curves awaken our preconceptions of volume and what it represents: vitality, sensuality, generosity and abundance. With these vessels I provide the user with a transformative personal experience through use, rather than to address needs of utility, necessity, or convenience.”
A grant from the Westchester Community Foundation’s Emily & Harold E. Valentine and Evelyn Gable Clark Scholarship Fund supports Clay Art Center’s Emerging Artist Residency. This residency provides post-baccalaureate training for a young local artist who is seeking a career as a ceramic artist. CAC selected Jose Tlaczani as the recipient of the 2015-16 Emerging Artist Residency. For the past year he has been developing his work and gaining teaching skills in our community arts classrooms across the county. Jose will be exhibiting sculptural vessels that express his journey in clay these past 8 months.
About his work Jose states “My inspiration comes from my surroundings. This can range from man-made objects like a metal screw to things found in nature such as a beautiful rose. The color of the leaves is re-imagined in the surface of my work making it colorful and bright. At other times it depends on my mood. I like working in the studio with music. I listen to the lyrics of a song, and emulate the emotion of the words through texture and etching on the exterior of my pots. This decoration becomes visual rhythms as felt through the sentiment in a song. The defining aesthetic in my artwork is a blend of tradition & innovation that combines elegant form with loose & uninhibited glaze application. My strong foundation in drawing & painting comes alive on the surface of the ceramic work.”