FI Series - Rough Cut 1, 2020 Stoneware 9 x 8 x 8 in | 22.8 x 20.3 x 20.3 cm
Two artists, with over 50 years of experience creating, have been brought together to create an exhibition of complementary opposites. Both artists started their exhibition careers in the 1970s and have remained steadfastly committed to their respective mediums. Both artists have remained focussed on a language of poetics, if poetics are defined as a theory of both forms and discourse. Both artists allow the combination of materials at play in their work (materials that act as the base but also materials that are added on to that base, such as pigments to create marks and to add colors) to guide their practices. Often, it is as if the materials themselves act as an oracle, leading the artist into unchartered, unconscious terrain. In the process, both artists have continued to surprise themselves and their audience, creating works of refined sophistication which continue to evolve. One artist resides comfortably in the realm of two dimensions, while the other only works in three: both eschew representation in favour of a type of abstraction that is unafraid to approach the difficult, the unforgiving, and the possibly repellent in order to achieve new parameters of aesthetic appreciation.
Born in New York City in 1944, Ray Meeker was raised in California and has been living in Pondicherry since the early 1970s. His dedication to ceramics has led him to pursue a wide range of applications and experiments with clay. His newest works displayed in this exhibition range from the small (hand-held, object-like) to the statuesque (stoic columns standing seven feet high). His process is unconventional: turning away from the standard methods of constructing forms on a potter’s wheel or by using coils and slabs. Meeker wrestles blocks of clay into brutalist chunks, tearing at it as if it is flesh, pummelling forms into being with crowbars and hammers. The surfaces of his objects retain the marks of these violent tools, the deep browns and blacks of his glazes enhance the somewhat industrial, almost alien, character of his forms. No hint of functionality corrupts these works: Meeker’s art is an uncompromising aesthetic inquiry with few ancestral references from any known compass points. In the end, the message of these works may be humanity’s ultimate doom, the slow decay of civilization back into the inevitability of nature.
This exhibition will also be accompanied by an online viewing room of Mona Rai’s works entitled, Prescriptions of Silence.
Image Courtesy of the artist and Nature Morte.