Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Erasing to Reveal

Look closer... what at first appears to be a 19th-century still life is actually a photo-studio shot of Dutch artist Jo Meester's manipulated vessels.

Meester, who graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2001 and established his own studio last year, recently began exploring ways to create objects that blend historic design and historic techniques with modern aesthetics and technology. He works in all media, but I'm most intrigued by the Ornamental Inheritance series that uses old (but not antique) delftware vessels. The pieces are carfeully sand-blasted in such way that a horizon develops around the body of the form. What Meester leaves, in these relief-like carvings, are "silhouettes" familiar in contemporary life: modern architecture, smoke stacks, windmills (turbine, as well as the old-fashioned kind) and fast-food signs like the Golden Arches of McDonald's. Birds and airplanes fly overhead.

Pieces from the series will be included in Object Factory: The Art of Industrial Ceramics, on view May 15 – September 7 at the Gardiner Museum in Ontario, Canada. The exhibition is curated by ceramist Marek Cecula.

Meester's work is difficult to find outside the Netherlands, but his website includes a list of retailers, primarily design museum shops in the major Dutch cities.


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