Vincent Price Art Museum is pleased to announce Corporeal Impulse, an exhibition featuring five West Coast artists: Julia Haft-‐Candell, Matt Merkel Hess, Jeffry Mitchell, Kathleen Ryan, and Bari Ziperstein. Corporeal Impulse focuses on the relation between the physical body and clay. Working to expand ceramics above and beyond its craft association, the exhibition investigates not just the formal function of clay as vessel, but its sculptural properties as well. Ranging from the established to the emerging, the artists in Corporeal Impulse reference the body in clay through various contexts including biological systems, temporality, indexicality, gender, and identity.
Views on clay as a medium in the contemporary art world have continued to change. The West Coast is known historically as the place of clay’s revival via such revered artists as John Mason, Ken Price, and Peter Voulkos, whose practices arising in the late 50s and 60s forever changed the face of ceramics. Today, Corporeal Impulse’s five ambitious artists continue to develop this conversation through clay’s malleable qualities whilst critically engaging with the medium’s historical craft associations.
Ceramics is an innately technical practice; these artists explore the failure and fragility involved in its process, allowing handmade qualities to remain. The immediacy in the tactility of clay is made apparent by the artist’s presence in the work. Clay has the ability to record touch producing an inseparable relation between clay and the body. Incorporating materials such as leather, steel, fabric and found objects, the artists expand their ceramic practice beyond the use of clay alone. Denying a linear read of ceramics as simply decorative, Corporeal Impulse seeks to explore the dynamic potentialities of a timeless medium.
Guest curated by Allyson Unzicker, graduate student in Critical & Curatorial Studies at UC Irvine, Claire Trevor School of the Arts.