Montag, 29. November 2010

Cheryl Ann Thomas "New Work" at Frank Lloyd Gallery

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet,” American poet, Emily Dickinson, once wrote in the 19th century. It is exactly the same awareness of our mortality that American ceramicist Cheryl Ann Thomas toys around with in her new works that are currently showcased at Frank Lloyd Gallery. But more than that, her work is also about aging; the disappointments, the hopes and hardships, the dealing with suffering, all the ups and downs that shape our precious lives. Thomas said, “My work is an intimate and experiential inquiry into fragility and loss; I construct, I sabotage, I reconcile.”

The exhibit is comprised of ten elegant black and soft creamy white-colored sculptures, primarily made out of porcelain, except for two bronze and one stainless steel sculptures. Most of them contain the title Relics and several numbers, which indicate the different parts they’re made of. The simplicity in the titles and the reduction to two colors is a conscious act of the artist. Thomas wanted viewers to bring their own interpretations and experiences to her work. Therefore they almost function like a Rorschach test, where one can project one’s inner dialogue. The majority of sculptures sit individually. The two sculptures Coupled-Relics and Five Relics are installed together. Made in the same manner as her former work, the Santa Monica-born artist created them through the coil-technique, where hundreds of clumps of black, white, and gray clay are hand rolled into thin, ropelike strands and stacked, which were later over-fired.

In Six Relics, one can see what seems to be a hooded black cape with a floating creamy white scarf wrapped around it. The sculpture suggests the mysterious interplay between life and death – perhaps death made an appearance, but life force was stronger and pulled him away. In Threesome Relics, a solely creamy white sculpture, one is exposed to what seems to be a figure that could be an aged man wearing a large straw hat, resting his forehead on his left knee. In contrast to Six Relics, this sculpture presents perhaps a life that has yet been spared from a direct encounter with death.

The beauty in Cheryl Ann Thomas works is their elegance and philosophical content. Like each life entering the world, her oeuvre also seems to have that uncertainty of the outcome.
- Simone Kussatz

Copyright (c) by Simone Kussatz

Published in Art Ltd. March 14, 2011