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The Seductive Surface


  • Plinth Gallery 3520 Brighton Boulevard Denver, CO, 80216 United States (map)

For October 2017, Plinth Gallery is pleased to present “The Seductive Surface.” This one month exhibition highlights work from the gallery as well as work from several new ceramic artists that exploit the unlimited possibilities of surface enhancement. From the earliest known pottery, cultures and peoples have decorated the surfaces of their clay objects. Whether ritual or religious based, or strictly utilitarian, decorative marks are abundant on ceramics.

From patterning by impressing wet clay with coiled rope in the Jomon Culture in what is now known as Japan (c.14500 BCE-c.300 BCE) to intricate colored clay paintings in Native American Cultures, decoration offered culturally specific narratives. Sumarian civilization (c. 4500 – c. 1900 BC) developed the first written communication system by making marks on clay tablets. As cultures evolved, surface decoration became more decorative, but still we are able to identify inhabitants and their geographies. Without village potters, food stuffs could not be preserved, water, wine, and other liquids could not be stored, seeds for future planting could not be maintained from generation to generation.

Potters and ceramic artists in current cultures exploit an unlimited number of decorative techniques, firings, materials, tools and techniques to embellish the surface of their ceramic objects. Both fired materials such as glaze, underglaze, China paints, lusters, as well as unfired or cold surface decoration with gold leaf, acrylic paint, raw pigment, pastels are part of the ceramic artist’s lexicon.

Jonathan Kaplan, Plinth Gallery Curator, notes that “decorative embellishments on pieces in this exhibition range from simple to highly complex. The 3-dimensional form becomes a canvas; the surface ornamentation strengthens the form; the lushness of glaze, color, and pigment invite touch, use, or inquiry.”

The “Seductive Surface” opens October 6, 2017 from 6pm to 9pm.This exhibition will be on view until October 28, 2017.