Kathy Butterly’s beautiful and odd sculptures are the result of a literal manipulation of traditional ceramic forms. Her latest exhibition of new work titled “Thought Presence”, on view now at James Cohan Gallery in New York, presents 24 new vessels that demand a full 360-degree exploration.
Each form begins with an existing generic store-bought vessel. Kathy replicates each “perfect” item in wet clay through a molding process, that she can then physically distort. The resulting new sculptures are glazed and fired up to 30 TIMES each, building up layers that often crack or add new volumes.
These aren’t ceramics anyone should experience sitting down. You’ll find yourself (and watch other visitors) circling every work multiple times. Each sculpture is a surprise from every angle, often appearing as 2 entirely unique objects from front to back. At the same time, each work is littered with incredible tiny details that require a close and quiet examination – from tiny bead-like trim to confetti-like outgrowths.
The #1 job of art is to keep you looking – and Butterly’s ceramics are impossible to turn away from. Like the night sky, you’ll just see more the longer you look.
What: Kathy Butterly: Thought Presence
Where: James Cohan Gallery, 533 W 26th St, New York, NY
When: September 6 – October 20, 2018
All images © Kathy Butterly courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York. Installation photos by Phoebe d’Huerle.
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