Works by Michael Kukla and Rebecca Hutchinson
June 1 - June 26
Artists Reception Saturday, June 4th, 2016
All receptions are free and open to the public
In nature there are diverse states of existence that I continue to study; the structure of nature, the result of the state of nature by interaction with other forces of nature, the resilience of nature, and the complexity and awe in the engineering of nature. All these states of nature are rooted and formed in the motivation for the need to survive, and provide endless influences for diverse construction and conceptual possibilities for art making. And, more specifically, endless opportunities for metaphor use; speaking to the depth and complexity of living with the hopes of revealing the human condition in visual and sculptural form, utilizing traditional and non-traditional ceramic materials and processes.
Within the study of ecology and ethology these states of existence are articulated. As a point of reference for sculptural installation building, I have been utilizing specific structural engineering qualities found in functional growth relationships and deformities within specific plant formations. Similarly, and as powerful as organic growth, I have also looked at animal and insect structures and benefitted from an understanding of their ecosystem function and engineering. My main interest has been looking at the quality of coexistence and structural functionality found in nature and the beauty of species manipulation, which in nature observes a balance of the fragility of its surroundings while maintaining the essence of need and individuality.
My work focuses on the respect for process and the endless influences found in nature. Formally and structurally, my interest is in the details: quality of craft, connections, and structure, and conceptually an understanding of all physical parts to the whole. I build site-responsive clay and fibrous sculptural works made from indigenous materials, such as recycled 100% natural fiber clothing or harvested garden materials beat down to pulp and formed into handmade sheets, and industrial castoff surplus materials, like cotton thread from the bedding industry or sisal from the burlap bag industry.
Clay is either site dug or purchased and mixed with pulp for a slurry of paperclay. I hand model, slip trail, dip surplus industrial materials or handmade paper forms, and pour paper clay slip between papers, and cut and construct. Each paperclay form is built to be fired or remain non-fired. A sticky mixture of paperclay mixed with glue binds the handmade paper and the paperclay florettes to each other and to a simple constructed wooden frame. Installation construction is influenced conceptually by specific growth patterns, but does not replicate nature. Like an animal that uses the vernacular from place, I, too, upcycle humble materials and remake them into what I hope to be exquisite sculptural forms.
Rebecca Hutchinson received her MFA from the University of Georgia, Athens. Her site specific works have been influenced by ecosystem dynamics and environmental concerns. Exhibitions include solo shows and installations at Dedee Shattuck Gallery, Westport, MA, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN, Kolva-Sullivan Gallery, Spokane, WA, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC, Belgium Ceramics Biennial, Andenne, Belgium; Perhlman Museum, Carleton College, MN; San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design; Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, Taipei, Taiwan; Vendrell Biennale,Vendrell, Spain; Keramikos Internationale della Ceramica D’Arte, Bracciano Museum, Bracciano, Italy; Racine Museum of Art; Turman Larison Contemporary; Fuller Craft Museum; Holter Museum of Art; The Society of Arts and Crafts; University of Tulsa; Lowe Museum of Art; Blue Star Contemporary, Vertigo Gallery-Denver; Islip Museum of Art; Skidmore College; and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte amongst others.
Rebecca was recently announced as the Massachusetts representative for the National Museum of Women in the Arts 2015 Women to Watch Exhibition. She is a New England Artist Award recipient and fellowship recipient from: The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Virginia Cultural Commission, The North Carolina Arts Council, Virginia Commission of the Arts, a Museum of Fine Arts Maud Morgan Award finalist, NEA fellowship finalist for the Southern Arts Federation.
Images and articles of her work have been published in numerous publications and books including Studio Potter, Ceramics Monthly, Korean Ceramics, Ceramics Art and Perception, Sculpture, Revista Internacional Cerámica, Critical Ceramics, American Craft, La ceramica in Italia e nel mondo, and in Ceramic Sculpture. Lark Books, 2009, Additions to Clay Bodies, and Paperclay Community and Beyond, by AC Black- London. In addition to publications, she has lectured and taught at over 70 international and national venues; 20 American university programs, NCECA, CAA, International Paper, Aberystwyth International Ceramic Conferences, Museums and Art centers such as: Vendrell Ceramics Museum, Tolfa Museum of Art, Bracciano Museum of Art, San Miguel de Allende Art Center, Taipei National Fine Arts, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Southwestern Craft Center, Clay Art Center, Mendocino Art Center, Northern Clay Center, Peters Valley Art Center, Truro Art Center, Appalachian Craft Center, Brookfield Craft Center, Mudflats Ceramics, Guilford Crafts Center, and Manchester Crafts Guild.
I draw my inspiration from nature—in particular, the ways in which time relentlessly transforms matter. Taking my cues from various phenomena such as water wearing away stone, insects devouring wood, or wind’s effect on sand, I drill, grind, and carve my chosen materials to arrive at undulating forms that shape space with a seductive pulse. Whether using marble, slate, wood, or most recently, ubiquitous commercial insulation board, my goal is to unmask a solid surface in order to ‘step inside’ an arena of shifting states. I’m in pursuit of a particular dynamism, a visceral sense of inexorable change.
My work invites the viewer to consider organic processes in the context of architectonic structures. In contrast to the hard-edged geometry typical of our built environment, I interject cavities and openings that suggest nature’s more capricious habits. The result is a mysterious cave-like realm, a reminder of our first shelters hundreds of thousands of years ago. In addition, my altered spaces literally ‘poke holes’ in the notions of stasis or permanence. And given the rapid changes arriving with global warming, acknowledging nature’s ways must be forefront in our current thinking.
Michael Kukla is a sculptor and visual artist working with negative organic forms in polystyrene, marble, slate, plywood, paper and panel. His work is inspired by natural deformation and alteration of physical material. He received a BFA in painting from Castleton State College, VT and a MFA in sculpture from the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin, Germany.
Michael has exhibited his art throughout Europe and the United States and exhibits regularly in New York City. He is represented by DM Contemporary in New York City where he had a solo show New Work, in March 2011. His work is in numerous collections throughout the world.
He lives and works in New York City and also works as a graphic designer.
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