"TERMINI" Julian Stair, Rob Barnard, & Rebecca Cross - September 2017
OPENING RECEPTION Friday, September 8th
Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present Termini, a conversation on death, both symbolic and physical, featuring cinerary jars by Julian Stair, white ceramics by Rob Barnard, and works on paper by Rebecca Cross.
Stair, the eminent British potter and historian of ceramics, has built a reputation around the world for his powerfully evocative vessels. A former studiomate of Edmund de Waal, the renowned potter and author of The Hare with the Amber Eyes, Stair’s work is similarly minimalist, using simple forms to great emotional effect, as in the full-size sarcophagi crafted for his Quietus exhibitions of 2012 and 2016. Stair’s reverence towards death is exceedingly evident through his work in Quietus, from which the cinerary jars on display in Termini were taken; using a variety of clays, from basalt to porcelain, Stair’s hand-thrown jars bask in the tactile immediacy of their materials, stripping away the garish adornments of modern urns to focus, instead, on the earth from which the clay came, and to which we all return. As a scholar, Stair’s essays have been featured in numerous publications, including Art in America and Ceramic Review, and will be part of the catalogue for the upcoming exhibition, Things of Beauty Growing, at the Yale Center for British Art, where his ceramics will also be showcased alongside those of Edmund de Waal and Felicity Ayelieff.
Barnard likewise emphasizes the physicality of the materials in his whiteware, allowing the white slip to form idiosyncratic cracks and drips instead of uniformly smooth surfaces. Another scholar of ceramics, Barnard has spent much of his career studying the traditional techniques of Japan. The choice of the color white for the slips is noteworthy, as white has historically connoted ideas of divinity and tranquility in eastern cultures, obliquely referencing the purity of death. Heavily influenced by his time working under the illustrious Yagi Kazuo, founder of the Sōdeisha movement in Japanese ceramics, Barnard’s work favors biomorphic sculptural characteristics in place of polished functionality. Based in western Virginia, this is Barnard’s first show with Cross MacKenzie Gallery.
Cross provides a stark contrast to the meditative ceramics of Stair and Barnard, with monochromatic drawings of ancient weaponry, from Indian war clubs to Fijian cannibal forks. Whether by illness, accident, or wittingly, the moment when a living organism suddenly transforms into cold matter is inherently violent. Cross’s works are unabashed contemplations of that transition, recalling one to the primal nature of death.
William Dunlap - October 2017
OPENING RECEPTION Friday, October 6th
Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by William Dunlap in honor of his recent publication, Short Mean Fiction. For over four decades, Dunlap has made his career as an artist and writer, as well as an arts commentator for PBS. “Hypothetical realism” is the self-coined term Dunlap uses to characterize his creative style; put plainly, "the places and things [he] paint[s] and describe[s] are not real, but they could be." Dunlap’s grand southern landscapes are cinematic in scope, with lushly saturated colors and expansive vistas, nearly overwhelming the viewer with the scale of their environments. Beguiling and seemingly idyllic, his scenes are often underscored by a touch of the southern gothic, from tombstones to severed deer heads to hunting dogs. Short Mean Fiction provides a counter-point to his paintings, highlighting the wilder side of Dunlap’s imagination with rough sketches and rowdy flash fiction stories. The new boxed set, published in an edition of 20, includes 12 numbered prints of the sketches contained in the book, as well as an original inscribed sketch by Dunlap.
Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present new paintings by Angela To. To, a Chinese-Canadian artist working in the US, paints oversized, abstract patterns taken from nature into an overall dizzying surface that she covers with multiple layers of glaze-like resin. The resin coating accentuates her luminous acrylics, capturing the light and heightening the contrast between bright colors and starkly black-silhouetted shapes to give her paintings an added pop of modernity.
"Face it!" by Andrea Ponsi - December 2017
OPENING RECEPTION Friday, December 8th
Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present Face it!,the sketches of Andrea Ponsi. A celebrated architect, draftsman, painter, writer, and professor of architectural design, Ponsi has been putting his ideas to paper since he was a child. When not working on architectural drafts, Ponsi habitually sketches faces. Even in his youth, his “school diaries were full of faces.” Decades ago Ponsi found, as he sat in his office on the phone throughout the day, that his restless hands would begin sketching faces on the nearest surface, the ubiquitous post-it note. Utilizing his extensive art historical knowledge, these faces are manifested in a dizzying array of styles, from meticulous studies reminiscent of Daumier or Goya to quick caricatures evocative of Hirschfeld and Steadman. Ponsi is quick to clarify that “none of [the faces] belong to a specific real person,” rather, they are all drawn from his lively imagination. These post-it note sketches, now numbering well over 20,000 in total, have been compiled as the monograph Face it! and exhibited at galleries throughout the country. Ponsi, whose architectural firm is based in Italy, splits his time between Italy and the US as a visiting professor at numerous universities.