Artist Joel Otterson’s sculpture is a bricolage of domestic handicraft with traditional sculptural materials, at times blurring the line between high and low culture, art and craft. Copper pipe, woodworking, pottery, concrete, marble, blown glass and needlework are some of the raw materials and techniques that he employs. Otterson has had an ongoing interest in the decorative arts, from its most elegant form in the cabinetry of André-Charles Boulle, and 18th Century Sevres porcelain, to artisanal handicraft and domestic labor, like lawn ornamentation or quilt making. He describes his art practice as “from crochet to welding, and everything in-between.”

 

When a curator admired Otterson’s ceramic collection of over 200 pieces of American pottery by McCoy, Red Wing, Roseville, Weller, and others, he commented that Otterson should make a sculpture out of the collection, which became the work The American Portable Pottery Museum (1994). The pottery is placed in a structure made of copper plumbing pipe and fittings, organized by color—brown on the bottom like the ground and trunk of a tree, with gradations of natural shades of green, ending in white, suggesting the clouds in the sky. Twenty years later, the renowned curator/collector Beth Rudin DeWoody approached Otterson to make a wall of china out of her eclectic collection of white pottery from the 1920s to the 90s, including unique pieces of Czechoslovakian pottery, amassed over a thirty-year period. Otterson noted that many were of a Modernist flare, and, originally designed to hold floral shop bouquets before the now commonly used disposable plastic vases. The resulting sculpture, The White Wall of China (2014-16) exudes calm, like a white snowcapped mountain or floating cloud, but in its whiteness also suggests the erasure of the functional object.
 - Carol Ann Klonarides





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOEL OTTERSON

CONVENE

 

Jeffrey Gibson • Hilary Harnischfeger • Joel Otterson • Lisa Sanditz

 

This exhibition focuses on four artists, Jeffrey Gibson, Hilary Harnischfeger, Joel Otterson, Lisa Sanditz not traditionally trained in ceramics, but who may incorporate clay into their respective practices/works. Each artist unites varying or disparate materials, references domestic or architectural environments, and often evinces an installation sensibility. Convene was organized in conjunction with Maker, Mentors and Milestones, the 50th Anniversary Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in Kansas City, March 16-19, 2016

 

 

CURRENTLY ON VIEW AT THE NERMAN MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, KANSAS CITY

Fuga Arcobaleno

Fuga Arcobaleno

2014 Crystal, plastic, ceramic, glass, coral and metallic beads, glazed ceramic and Persian carpet over wood panel 41 x 21 1/2 inches

Cadenza in Pink

Cadenza in Pink

2015 fabric, thread, glass, plastic, shell and other assorted beads 19.5 x 10.25 inches

Flesh Cup #2

Flesh Cup #2

2015 Enamel on hand blown glass 11 1/8 x 5 1/4 inches

Blue Etude

Blue Etude

2015 fabric, thread, glass, plastic, shell and other assorted beads 17.5 x 9 inches

Sampling in the Old Style

Sampling in the Old Style

2015 Crystal, glass, plastic beads, silk and cashmere thread on canvas 20 X 9 inches

Flesh Cup #3

Flesh Cup #3

2015 Enamel on hand blown glass 9 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches

Jeux de Vagues

Jeux de Vagues

2015 Crystal, glass, plastic beads, silk and cashmere thread on canvas 45 x 26 inches SOLD

Ballade d'Or

Ballade d'Or

2014 Crystal, plastic, ceramic, glass, coral and metallic beads, glazed ceramic and Persian carpet over wood panel 42 x 24 inches

Sonatina Green

Sonatina Green

2014 Crystal, glass, plastic beads, canvas 20 x 10 inches SOLD

Whitney Biennial Installation View

Whitney Biennial Installation View

Image Courtsey New York Times Camp (2014) Curtains Laced with Diamonds Dear For You (2014)

White Wall of China

White Wall of China

2014 American ceramic collection, steel and plastic casters 95 x 60 x 12 inches SOLD

Bottoms Up #2

Bottoms Up #2

2013 187 vintage press glass and cut crystal goblets, steel, metal chain, copper wire, electrical parts, 84” X 28” diameter SOLD

Bottoms Up #2

Bottoms Up #2

2013 Detail

Bottoms Up #3

Bottoms Up #3

2013 75 vintage press glass and cut crystal goblets, steel, metal chain, copper wire, electrical parts, 48” X 20” diameter

Bottoms Up #3

Bottoms Up #3

2013 Detail

My Shoes

My Shoes

1988 Cast iron, cast iron pipe and fittings, beeswax candles 60" X 30" X 24"