Walter McConnell "New Theories" - January 2013
Friday January 11th - February 27th, 2013
Cross MacKenzie Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new ceramic sculpture by acclaimed sculptor Walter McConnell. The artist will create an original work from his extraordinary stacked porcelain series, “The Theory of Everything” in our gallery. Hundreds of individual pieces of slip cast and glazed porcelain; faux-Ming vases, kitschy figurines, Disney dwarves and grandma’s collectibles – form his now iconic stupa-like forms – this time in evocative, if somewhat sinister, hues. The new hauntingly dark work is comprised of black, metallic charcoal and burnt umber elements with McConnell’s signature crystalline glazes bursting across the surfaces, creating a rich patina of contrasts and baroque excesses. The clash of cultures is intentional as the artist presents the viewer with multiple hidden messages embedded in the juxtapositions. McConnell’s extravagant floor-to-ceiling ceramic creations become greater than the sum of their parts. The works culminate in a pyramidal architectural form aptly described in a Washington Post art review, “McConnell’s artistic sensibility transforms western pop cultural waste into an eastern aesthetic worthy of worship”.
The exhibition also includes a small, raw clay piece representing a part of his oeuvre for which he is most well known. His “wet works” are unfired environments created on site, encased in a plastic sheath forming a terrarium-like garden world that remains moist and alive through the constant process of condensation within. These site-specific pieces take teams of assistants to install – the process fascinating performance art in itself. A time lapsed film made of McConnell’s recent installation at the University of Tennessee demonstrates the process and will be on view at the gallery during the show.
Professor McConnell teaches at the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University. He has been awarded significant grants and prizes – most notably the Tiffany Prize and he has installed his monumental works in a number of museums including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts, and the Daum Museum in Missouri.