From Restaurant Decor to Solo Show: Cassie Griffin’s Ceramics Make their Gallery Debut

A little more than four years ago, Cassie Griffin took a pottery class on a whim. What began as an extracurricular activity quickly blossomed into a booming side business as her hand-painted porcelain pitchers and cups made their way to the tables and shelves of Dimes, a beloved hipster eatery on New York’s Lower East Side. Striped with strokes of bright glaze, her earthypieces have seduced many of the the upwardly mobile creatives who frequent the West Coast-inspired breakfast hangout. Sold off the table, her perfectly crumpled forms caught the attention of gallerist Patrick Parrish, who offered the young artist her first solo show this September at his eponymous New York gallery.

Griffin’s debut exhibition will focus on her latest adventures in ceramic—a series of charmingly dilapidated pots and new endeavors into sculpture. “I intend for these works to look like an abstract form of classical sculpture, containing elements of figuration,” says Griffin. “I also hope to include some sculptures I’m making in Italy this summer—thrown forms deconstructed and reassembled that are a nice chaotic addition to the classical forms of my porcelain works.” 

A departure from her functionalist roots, this new work showcases Griffin’s exponential growth as a ceramist but also her desire to push the boundaries of the testy medium. “This summer I’ve stepped out of myself; I’ve been embracing and pushing the risk involved with firing and the variations of chance,” says Griffin. “I’ve been adding organic materials to pieces, sunflower seeds, pastas, coffee grinds, chickpeas, to burn out in the firing and create an interesting negative space. I'm hoping for some explosions and amazing aggressive textures.”

Surveying Griffin’s hunched creations, the fruits of her curiosity are readily apparent. The multi-colored forms feel at once organic and manufactured, giving them a surreal quality that has become paramount to the sculptor’s aesthetic.  In addition to her trials with the kiln, Griffin is also taking more risks with her finishes. “I’ve been glazing like a wild woman, attempting to be completely excessive with the materials, layering so much that it slides off and pools like melting cheese,” she says. “With each work there is a great degree of chance as the combinations of colors, glazes, and stains can result in a failed outcome, however, this element of chance or unknowing often drives the work forward into places that are difficult to predict. This isn’t to say I rely on chance—but I do embrace it.”


—Kat Herriman


Cassie Griffin is on view at Patrick Parrish, New York, Sep. 11–Oct. 3, 2015.


Follow Patrick Parrish on Artsy.