Korean artist Wookjae Maeng works with ceramics, focusing on the relationships between humans and animals. The ghostly pieces often resemble commemorative busts or mounted heads reminiscent of big game trophies.
“I concentrate on art as a vehicle to communicate contemporary social and environmental problems to the viewer by stimulating, not just emotion, but sensibilities and memories. In this regard, ‘stimulus’ plays an import role in the expression of my work and in its perception by the viewer. Visually or sensually appropriate stimuli evoke curiosity in the viewer and their desire to grasp the inner meanings of the work. Within this process the viewer not only intellectually comprehends the work but also viscerally appreciates it if their preconceptions are challenged or senses other than sight are stimulated. This three dimensional appreciation-which engages the viewer both physically and sensually-I believe conveys the message of a work on a deeper level.” Wookjae Maeng
Adrian Arleo is a ceramic sculptor living outside Missoula, Montana. She studied Art and Anthropology at Pitzer College and received her M.F.A. in ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design.
“For over thirty years, my sculpture has combined human, animal and natural imagery to create a kind of emotional and poetic power. Often there’s a suggestion of a vital interconnection between the human and non-human realms; the imagery arises from associations, concerns and obsessions that are at once intimate and universal. The work frequently references mythology and archetypes in addressing our vulnerability amid changing personal, environmental and political realities. By focussing on older, more mysterious ways of seeing the world, edges of consciousness and deeper levels of awareness suggest themselves.” Adrian Arleo
Stockholm, Sweden based artist Joakim Ojanen aims to make work that is timeless. Joakim’s approach to timelessness is unconventional: His woozy characters are intended to be both 8 and 30 years old at the same time.
There’s something undeniably grotesque about the lumpy sculptural works of Ojanen, though this is balanced with a sense of humor and a child-like naivety which, in all, creates a confusing feeling for the viewer.
Arkansas based artist Linda Lopez –influenced by mundane objects and the everyday– creates ceramic objects that almost appear to grow and propagate. Her squat, globular forms sprout rounded appendages and elaborate trellis-like crowns. The artist displays these objects in carefully orchestrated arrangements with a distinctly domestic atmosphere.
Cristina Tufiño is a Puerto Rican artist best known for the installations and photography she creates inspired by a social debris. Tufiño gets her inspiration from the social surroundings. Cristina’s expression comes in a form of certain rearranging of cultural products as if they were her very own artistic material.
Lee Yun Hee creates narrative ceramic pieces inspired by literature and story telling. She uses both Western and Eastern influences, creating a style of her own that is striking, unique and undoubtably contemporary. Her work is fragile and flawless, almost creating an aura of effortlessness. She uses her work to reflect upon stories of everyday people; their struggles, fears, hopes, and anxieties.
Hee’s work is mystical and fantastic. Though balancing modern, classic, Eastern, and Western styles, she has creating an epic body of art that is honest, profound, and truly unique. Her work acts as windows into her own version of a fairy tale; she is able to re-create morality stories within her own framework.
West Virginia-based artist Brett Kern sculpts these incredible “inflatable” dinosaurs and other objects out of plaster. Kern sculpts his own molds out of clay and uses glaze to emphasize his materials’ depth and details.
Pop culture has always influenced Kern’s work, and these faux inflatable sculptures are no exception. One of Kern’s first memories as a child was being given an inflatable dinosaur at the hospital for behaving while his mother gave birth to his sister. It’s this playful, childlike wonder that informs the bulk of his work, and the forging of a balance of fragility and buoyancy.
UK based Hitomi Hosono is a ceramic sculptor who studied pottery in Kanazawa, Japan and Copenhagen, Denmark. Ever since then she’s studied the botanical forms of leaves and flowers she found in her garden. She allows herself to be consumed by the legion of small, intricate details present in every leaf.
Often monochromatic, the works are focused on carved detail rather than color—repetition of form making each piece uniquely beautiful. The level of detail she’s able to wrestle from her porcelain sculptures is astounding. Every fragment of her botanical-inspired forms screams with intention, whether it’s in the finely-chiseled and painstakingly-researched anatomy of the plant or the mesmerizing colors of her glazes, which make the forms look equally organic whether they’re in cream and orange or black.
Crystal Morey (previously featured here) takes inspirations from an alternative upbringing where she closely connected with the natural landscape around her. Living in rural Northern California shaped her perspective on nature and how humans interact with land, animals and each other.
Now living in an urban environment, Morey aims to show our relationship to the world around us through the fragile medium of porcelain. With this delicate material she creates a heightened sense of urgency and stress, commenting on our human evolutionary path.
Argentinean visual artist Claudia Fontes has been based in England for the past 10 years. She studied arts at the National School of Fine Arts Prilidiano Pueyrredón in Buenos Aires and Art History at Buenos Aires University.
Fontes explores through her actions, objects and research the poetic space and alternative modes of perception of culture, nature, history and society that emerge from processes of decolonization, be they personal, interpersonal, or social. Her white figures are gripping each other tight as they are transfixed/formed into fungus like growths and spores in an eerie series.