Drawn to the material for aesthetic or symbolic reasons, many artists have incorporated glass or dinnerware into their work. Julian Schnabel is probably the most prominent artist who has incorporated dinnerware into his practice. He created his famous “plate paintings” in the 1970s/80s and they became some of his best-known work. Judy Chicago’sThe Dinner Party is another famous instance, but with a feminist theme. Chicago depicted place settings for 39 mythical and historical well-known women. Each setting features symbols relating to a specific woman’s accomplishments. Josiah McElheny creates finely crafted, handmade glass objects that he uses to make museological displays depicting one’s attempts to learn about historical peoples from their household possessions and objects. Molly Hatch is an artist and designer who grew up on a dairy farm in Vermont. She studied ceramics alongside painting, drawing and printmaking and incorporates all of them into her work. Jason Kraus uses glasses and flatware to generate reiterations of the same setup. For instance, for his installation at Redling Fine Art Kraus served a nearly identical meal for the first seven nights of his exhibition. After the meal he would clean the dishes and stack them inside a plywood cabinet, creating remnants of an ephemeral performance. Esther Horchner is an illustrator whose clever teacups depict bathing figures. Cheryl Pope incorporates dinnerware and other objects in unexpected ways. Her Balancing Stacks, for instance, was a performance where a woman stacked dishes on a precariously balanced table. Like the feminization of a ritual like clearing or setting the table, Pope uses her stacks as a symbol for something destined to collapse.
Each of these artists finds symbolic or artistic value in the typically utilitarian objects. Using these almost universally recognizable items for art and performance enables a kind of storytelling or metaphor that is unique to each artist.
Mathew Borrett’s intensely detailed drawings of maze-like rooms and secret compartments that seem to never end are mysterious puzzles that fade into the nothingness of the stark white paper that they are drawn on.
“From a very early age I used to have frequent dreams about finding hidden rooms between rooms in my house. Usually some facet of my fears or desires would be present in these rooms. As a Lego fanatic, I’d often find fantastic new Lego sets I didn’t know existed (which made waking up a disappointment). Later we moved into an old farmhouse with lots of nooks and crannies and a basement that often flooded. It underwent a lot of renovation over the 17 years we lived there, and I was always fascinated when a wall was removed or temporarily breached and you could pass from one room to another in a new way. The scope of the dreams expanded to include strange gaps and holes and secret shafts that dropped away into spooky abysses. Sometimes I’d explore basements beneath the basement, or attics beyond the attic. I think I’ve probably explored a thousand different dream versions of that old house.”
With simple masking tape, photographer Robert Chase Heishman transforms everyday spaces into flat, geometric scenes. This effect creates an illusive new space, redefined by new boundaries. Whether the tapes’ colors are bright or more subdued, the effect is stark. He creates new shapes within the photograph, or uses the tape to create a framed effect for the photograph. If the photographs were stripped of tape, the photographs would be a bit dull. By adding the tape to some of his scenes, Heishman creates the effect of a lost dimension. Because his designs are so thoughtfully shaped, it takes more than a glance at these photographs to recognize that the tape has been placed onto the scene and not the photograph. When he’s not masking his surroundings with tape, Heishman also works with video and sculpture to explore similar themes like peripheral vision, flatness, and digital affect. He lives and works in Chicago. (via from89)
Justin Bartlett is self proclaimed black ink warlock from the grim and frostbitten ravenrealm of Southern California who enjoys thee grimm riffs, vberkvlt metals, and other dark musick, times of solitude, skulls, and scotch. He’s done work for indie (and I mean indie) bands and record labels. Pretty awesome. Here’s a quote he leaves you with: “EMBRACE VISUAL HELL!!!”