Meulensteen is proud to announce an exhibition of new work by Annabeth Rosen in its Project Space. Featuring three large-scale ceramic sculptures, the exhibition will be the artist’s
first with the gallery. Rosen uses clay to create densely expressive sculptures that work both with and against the medium’s traditional utility, formal methodologies, and cultural context.
nous composition reminiscent of towers or human figures, Rosen’s works explode received notions ideas of assemblage, as they include not only abstract forms but occasionally cups
and other vessels that introduce implied use value beyond the parameters of sculpture. In its totality, each work manifests an exuberant tactility in conjunction with energetic visual patterning.
These qualities can also be seen in Rosen’s use of glazes, which are applied to create repeated geometric motifs and colors that range from the austere to the grotesque.
While their formal aspects and overall design are overwhelmingly physical, the works in the exhibition also call to mind a wide range of psychological and philosophical states, as well as their
attendant art historical associations. Individual elements of each sculpture are often fired numerous times; fired objects are broken apart and reincorporated in the evolving composition; and the work fuses acts of destruction and construction, binding them together as if to preserve a sense that the sculpture is in state of flux. Further, the sculptures are perched on metal bases equipped with small casters; at once precarious and humorous, these bases suggest that the objects that they support might move at any moment, and that they are in some way happily independent of their surroundings.
In pushing against the notion of utility, Rosen’s work also hints at the performative presence of the body. Each formed shape bears the mark of the hand, the pleasures and frustrations of interacting with a material that––especially after passing through the firing process––often seems to have a mind of its own. This dialectic between control and unpredictability is a hallmark of working with ceramics, but Rosen approaches it from a conceptual perspective, literally organizing a vertical index of structural experiments, textural juxtapositions, and color relationships. It becomes possible to read even the least traditionally ‘functional’ elements of the sculptures in terms of specific roles within their total composition. The cups or amphora-like vessels that punctuate them become tantalizing hints of how less easily definable shapes might have evolved in the studio.
Visual correspondences keyed by Rosen’s work run the gamut from natural plant and animal forms to canonical works of abstract expressionism. Above all, however, it seems to derive its power from its relentless pursuit of the sentient possibilities of clay, the most ancient of inert materials, as a fluid vessel that can reflect the presence of the human body and imagination.