The Thick of It
James Kelly Contemporary is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new sculpture by Arlene Shechet. This will be her first solo show with the gallery. This will be the inaugural exhibition in the new gallery space at 550 Guadalupe Street in the same building in the Railyard.
Shechet’s ceramic sculptures hover somewhere between the whimsical, absurd, and indefinable. The abstract organic forms have been glazed and fired to create undulating color shifts and tactile surfaces that range from a smooth shiny metallic to an almost fuzzy fungus-like growth that appears to have over taken the ceramic substructure.
The sculptures are perched atop specifically designed bases that combine natural and manmade elements. Often composed of roughhewn timbers, kiln bricks that have been painted or show traces of glaze from their previous life, and welded steel. The rigidity of the bases is in stark contrast to the fluidity of the sculptures that teeter atop them. Appendages and orifices appear to grow out of and open into the body of the sculptures as if Shechet has captured a moment in the life of an amoebic organism.
Gathering inspiration from everyday objects, found images, and art historical periods, Shechet’s work shows the artist’s hand. She allows the process of working with the wet clay to guide her and to determine its own form resulting in what the artist calls an “ugly beautiful” sculpture.
Shechet received her BA from NYU before pursuing her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been widely exhibited in the US and internationally. Examples of her sculpture are in the permanent collection of many public institutions including The Brooklyn Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS.