Physick House, 2017
Preservation is a collaborative exhibition in partnership with PhilaLandmarks at the Hill-Physick House, a federal style mansion built in 1786 in Philadelphia. Artists were selected to explore the potential intersections of historical preservation and contemporary art making in their work.
Artists: Jacintha Clark, Adam Ledford, Robert Lugo, Jane Irish, Teri Frame, Haviland/ Colagiovianni, Kevin Van Zanten, Syd Carpenter, Jordan McDonald
With porcelain as her primary medium, Jacintha Clark makes installations that explore environments and focus on memory of time and place. Working in architectural conservation for the past six years has given her the opportunity to make connections with the hidden layers and skeletons of structures, which allow historical elements to influence her art. Her work is about forging connections with both material and subject, uncovering the hidden stories buried beneath the surface of the built environment. The physical property of vitreous porcelain, at once delicate and brittle, emulates states of decay in nature, yet are built and mended by hand. She emphasizes fingerprints and allows the clay to reveal the human hand in the work as it warps, cracks, and changes. Her installations create moments where the work accesses dimensions of both physical and psychological landscapes, finding the beauty and the unrest in temporal junctures.
This body of work is in direct conversation with the Physick house Mansion built in 1786 and owned by “the father of surgery” Dr Philip Syng Physick. The decorative elements found in the house tell a story of what is original to the house at the time it was built as well as what has been added and reconstructed by others through time. The original and the reconstructed elements are placed side-by-side blurring into a larger dialogue of taste, preference and status. By translating these historical references into contemporary porcelain objects, a new layer of questions can be asked. What parts of our architectural past can we hold onto for the future? What psychological and symbolic qualities of that environment relates to ours today?
Room with a View, 2017, $2,800
"The everyday objects we surround ourselves with have inherent potential to disseminate ideals and values. Their relative unimportance is what makes them so influential--it is a slow, quiet conversation of object to viewer/user, one that the audience is not always conscious of. My installations attempt to create environments emphasizing our identity construction through objects. Research into pottery traditions is essential to my studio practice. This research takes the form of reading anthropological and archaeological studies, art history and ceramic books, as well as careful examination of historical pottery during museum visits"
Adam Ledford creates installations that explore the narrative power of objects. Research into decorative arts is essential to his practice, whether this means examining museum collections or rummaging through thrift shops. Ledford is fascinated by the ways we project personal identity through our possessions and the public performance of domestic space. Referencing objects drawn from regional museum collections, historical style guides, and local production centers, he hopes to create an echo of former inhabitants through reflections of their material culture. His terracotta portraits of domestic objects evoke the primitive, or ancient. He uses locally dug clay with sticks and rocks, bugs and lye, to create unexpected results from the kiln and lend a patina of antiquity to a flat-backed Cuisinart ice cream maker or coffee pour over.
Ledford studied at Tyler School of Art and continues to live and teach community arts in Philadelphia. He teaches with at-risk urban youth in the Juvenile Justice System through The Clay Studio’s Claymobile program, adults who are blind, and has led a series of claymation workshops for youth in rural Morocco. Ledford has been an artist-in-residence including the Archie Bray Foundation, Guldagergaard International Ceramics Research Center, and the Museum of Art and Design. He was a Windgate Fellow in 2011 and a recipient of the Windgate Project Grant in 2017.
Frederick Douglass/Arthur Ashe Urn, 2016, $8,000
I am a potter, social activist, spoken word poet, and educator. All of these roles are rooted in my childhood. Having had no formal music or art training, I often practiced table drumming and writing hip-hop lyrics as it was customary to “battle rap” during lunch Instead of art class, I drew in my composition book, and marked every wall that I could. “Graffiti” was a way to get my name into the community, to attain a local fame.
Today my graffiti is defacing social inequality I teach communities to make mosaic murals to honor victims of gun violence. I see my pottery as a process of transforming the ground we walk on into something we eat from; we search all day for the perfect spot to put it on display. In many ways this transformation of tragedy into triumph is a metaphor for my life’s story.
My experiences as an indigent minority inform my version of Puerto Rican American history. With my education in critical theory, art education, art history, and studio art I have developed a studio practice that fluidly communicates with diverse audiences. I bring art to those that do not believe they need to see it and engage in deeper ways of knowing, learning and thinking.
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