Kathy Erteman "Catalpa" - April 2013
Friday April 5th – May 1st, 2013
Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new ceramic work by renowned artist and designer Kathy Erteman. In the two and a half years since her last show at our gallery, Erteman has developed a new body of work in part inspired by her continued engagement with the Nixi Tibetan Potters from Diquing Prefecture, Yunnan, China. Through the organization, Aid to Artisans, Erteman has been granted the State Department’s Nwang Choephel Fellow’s Program Professional and Cultural Exchange Award and will return to China this summer. In American Craft Magazine’s 2009 profile on Erteman, she explains that “the Nixi potters have been making the same black pots for 2,000 years – her goal was to assist them in bringing their wares to the new market of Chinese tourists flooding the formerly unreachable regions”. Erteman shared her design expertise and her precision techniques to achieve fitted lids and flat-bottomed pots and in turn they shared their approach for decorating yak butter tea pitchers and their Tibetan culture. In the upcoming exchange, there are plans for an environmentally friendly kiln and another American tour of ceramic studios for the Nixi artisans.
Kathy Erteman has been a practicing ceramic artist and designer for 30 years. After receiving her BFA from California State University at Long Beach, she worked with the artist Judy Chicago on her ground breaking feminist work The Dinner Party. Comfortable straddling both the functional and fine art worlds, Erteman’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Los Angeles County Museum and Taipei Museum of Fine Arts and she has designed for companies such as Tiffany’s, and Dansk. 2012 began with the launch of 18th Street Dinnerware, Erteman’s exclusive design for Crate and Barrel named after her studio address in New York City. Her wheel thrown originals were thoughtfully interpreted and produced in Thailand. She currently teaches at the famed Greenwich House Pottery in NYC and has taught at the Brooklyn Museum and Parsons School of Art.
“Catalpa” ambles across the wall in narrative groupings of hand built porcelain inspired by natural forms. Abstracted seed pods, husks and clay stones are arranged and installed following the theory of chance as laid out in the I Ching and practiced by contemporary artists most notably John Cage.
Erteman’s vessel forms have been honed to minimalist perfection. She builds surface texture with layers of clay slip and contrasting, smooth glazes creating a tactile sensuality through a Modernist lens. Now, more sculpture than pot, these one-of-a-kind vessels literally and figuratively hold water.