Period is a cycle of new ceramic plates, arranged in formations. The works were started in the summer of 2017 in Spoleto, Italy, while on residence at the Mahler–LeWitt Studios. They were guided by the poetic names of the commercial glazes I purchased at Mondo della Ceramica in nearby Deruta, a town long associated with Renaissance maiolica production: Dragon’s Breath, Obsidian, Black Opal, Alligator, Citrus Splash, Cobblestone, Firecracker, Royal Fantasy, Woodland Fantasy, Masquerade, Kaleidoscope, Sea Wind, Northern Lights, Mystic Jade, Black Iris, Irish Luck, Tortoise Shell, Polished Armour... ready-made meaning.
The attraction to glazing plates is entirely based on not knowing the end result. There are few activities in which painting can be so chance-based; in which heat is half the battle. The glazes go on in colours and textures entirely different to how they will end up; the elemental force of volcanic temperatures wreak their aesthetic havoc. Small crystal rocks embedded in the gunk chemically transform and imitate the effects of thousands of years of deep time – geology, mineraloids, the lithosphere, evolution – as well as more contemporary synthetics – plastic, candy, tie-dye, cake batter and glitter. What emerges often challenges my expectations and taste.
The circle has long been the shape of progress, war and currency (wheels, shields, and coins), as well as the basic platform for nourishment at home. The subject of a rectangular painting, when forced into a tondo, becomes an eternal return, both a commemorative and predictive plaque. A period has the authority to end a sentence.
Photos by Filippo Armellin
Courtesy of the artist and Gió Marconi, Milan