Lisa Selby: Must come down & Benjamin DeMott: Teeter Jam
March 19 - May 18, 2014
Opening Reception March 20, 6-8pm
Must come down, Lisa Selby’s first solo exhibition in the US, explores the performative nature of clay, particularly in relation to gendered notions of the domestic. Exposed to the elements of time, gravity, and human intervention, clay objects in both fired and unfired states become catalysts for transformation through the parameters that the artist imposes on them. Cast vases and other domestic ornaments are displaced from the realm of the everyday and, in the process, imbued with tangible intimacy as well as a subtle sense of alienation. The objects in Selby’s work become active participants in undermining the traditions and gendered etiquette historically attached to the medium of clay. Selby is based in London and created the work for the exhibition while in residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The exhibition includes sculpture, video, and a new performance that will debut at the opening reception on March 20 at 7:30. Not for you/ for them (2014) sees two performers—Sarah Buccheri and Kim Miller—in high heels, instructed to repeatedly step up a small platform made of bricks and back down into a pool of heavy clay soil. Through the performers’ struggle to keep up with this seemingly non-sensical task, Selby calls out the arbitrary nature of culturally sanctioned gender roles and socially dictated norms of female beauty. Must come down is curated by Sandra Erbacher for INOVA. Production funding has been provided by the Arts Council England, the British Council through the Artists’ Inter¬national Development Fund, and the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
In his first major solo exhibition, Chicagoan Benjamin DeMott explores the intuitive side of working with clay, a process the artist describes as one of “knowing through making.” For Teeter Jam DeMott created an array of sculptures installed together in what he imagines to be a fictitious workshop. Here a variety of assemblages play distinct roles. Larger works resembling deconstructed figures stand in for the craftsman. Made of molded clay and historically specific applications of glaze, they signify both the ceramicist’s expertise and the ceramicist himself. Suggesting the craftsman’s products, some include DeMott’s actual tools integrated into the things they are used to make. By merging medium and means, the works become a spirited reflection on labor’s relationship to creativity. Additionally, DeMott responds to the peculiarities of the gallery—its columns, moveable walls, natural light, pedestals and vitrines—and integrates them into his work as sculptural materials. The physical, visual, and imaginative experiences in the exhibition ask us to leap from the material world of objects to the subjective realm of creative play. Teeter Jam is curated by INOVA Director Sara Krajewski.