The Jane Hartsook Gallery is pleased to present Ghada Amer’s solo exhibition Déesse Terre. The work in this show was produced during an intensive three-month artist-in-residence at Greenwich House Pottery.
“There is no precedent for Ghada’s ceramics beyond her own body of work. Since the 1970’s, Figurative art has experienced a renascence in the ceramics’ sphere. Ghada’s large wall hangings are undulating curvilinear forms with raised rounded edges framing the image. These ‘ceramic paintings’ contain portraits of women made bright with color and fierce through their rugged organic forms. These pieces grew in size and formal complexity, one might say, anticipating her sculptures. The sculptural work, zigzagging freestanding slabs she developed are far more conscious of their arrangement. They reference her paintings torn from their stretchers, folded and crumpled. These brilliant and imposing slabs are viewable in the round necessitating larger figures and subsequently more developed narratives.
Ghada set out to close the distance across her mediums in her quest to express a vision and develop a language that is uniquely her own, uniquely female. Ghada’s connection with material and her desire to become physically invested in process through a medium linked to the politics of domesticity and femininity, achieve ultimate culmination in clay. Ghada’s artistic vocabulary relates to painting, however, her crusade to establish an authentic female voice has achieved great strides through her foray into ceramics. Unlike embroidery, her ceramics sever all material connection with painting’s patriarchal tradition, liberating her from the hierarchical struggle she experiences while engaged in that milieu. The embroidered canvas, synonymous with woman’s work, remains a dialogue with painting. Ceramics affords Ghada the means to disassociate her language from the tradition of masculine authority.
Ghada Amer’s ceramics promotes and arguably realizes her mission to attain female empowerment in art. In her work, ceramics captures the sublimity of pleasure and individual fulfillment. Working in clay has given Ghada a great sense of happiness and freedom, and has begun to inform her other work. Ceramics can be an inglorious reminder of physical reality where time, heat, and weight maintain an unmistakable presence. The enduring nature of ceramics often affords archeologists an opportunity to rediscover ancient civilizations. This may also one day be true of Ghada’s ceramics, revealing an era when the power of love, desire, humanity, beauty, and women represented the ethos of a people. Artists like Ghada do not always set out to change the ceramics world. They do not come to ceramics to start a revolution, but rather to investigate a medium ripe with potential, liberated from artworld dogma. Undoubtedly, their goal is to leave some kind of legacy through the material. What Ghada and the others do not anticipate is that while they are changing the future of ceramics, clay is changing them.”
--Adam Welch, Director, Greenwich House Pottery
Ghada Amer is an American artist, born in Egypt, living and working in New York City. Amer received her MFA in the arts at Villa Arson in Nice, France. She has been featured in many major exhibitions worldwide with solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum of Art; Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal; and the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome among others. She was included in major group exhibitions at Gwangju Museum of Art, South Korea; and the Museum of Modern Art New York, and PS1. Amer has also exhibited in the Venice Biennale, the Sydney Biennale and the Whitney Biennale. Amer’s works are part of major public collections such as Centre Pompidou, Paris; Art Institute of Chicago; Detroit Institute of Art; Mathaf, Doha; Samsung Museum, South Korea; and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
Ghada Amer is represented by Cheim & Read in America, Kukje in South Korea and Goodman Gallery in South Africa.