March 12th – May 1st, 2021
Nature Reformed is a group exhibition of six contemporary ceramic artists based in south Florida. The exhibition highlights the ways these artists are using the medium to create diverse sculptural works, beyond the utilitarian vessel. An additional thread between the artists is their acknowledgement of nature – whether using natural forces as inspiration, speaking on the fragility of nature, or depicting natural shapes in the works.
Artist information below:
Ivan Abreht was born and raised in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia (present Republic of Serbia). He graduated at the Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade in 1997, where he also defended his magisterial dissertation in 2001. In 2004, he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (USA). From 2005 to 2008, he managed ceramics programs at Monmouth University (NJ), and since 2008, he oversees the ceramics program at University of Miami (FL).
Albreht has participated in several residency programs, and showcased work in international competitions, and public and private collections globally since 1997 including: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and across the United States. In 2007, he won Special Prize at the 4th World Ceramic Biennial in Korea (CEBIKO), and in 2012, Albreht received the Florida Individual Artist Fellowship for the Visual Arts. He is an elected member of the International Academy of Ceramics (IAC/AIC) based in Geneva, Switzerland since 2009.
I am a Brazilian artist and marine researcher. My work deals with the decline of the coral reef ecosystems. I make drawings, sculptures and installations that investigate and highlight the main causes of the state that coral reefs are found today. The phenomena known as coral bleaching, ocean acidification and plastic pollution are the main starting points in discussing the human effects in ocean conservancy. I invite the public to discover a complex biological network, where the concept of ecosystem is materialized through organization, symmetry and repetition.
My recent and interactive pieces (like to how to dry kill, to kill with water and to replenish with water) deals with the ephemeral state of the work and its forever changing quality, much like the ocean itself. It creates kinship with the creatures of the reef, a direct bodily experience to raise awareness and responsibility of this most powerful and endangered ecosystem. Like the reef itself, my work uses a number of underlying structures – interdependence, diversity and scale – to organize collective empathy. My main interest is to study these phenomena to create dry dives, a way of showing a vailed ecosystem internal to our planet that most people don’t have access too. I am especially interested in endangered species and how to translate scientific based studies into visual arts.
My most recent activity on mitigating strategies for ocean conservancy is creating sculptures that functions as artificial reefs so they can perform their crucial role in deflating the tourism on natural reefs, in providing new structures for corals to attach and grow, generating nursing spaces and new homes for so many reef animals and in helping control sea level rise in coral depleted areas.
Delray Beach, Florida
Kass O’Brien grew up in Pennsylvania, spending much of her childhood fishing and sailing on Lake Erie. Kass’s mother was a docent at a nearby art museum, which sparked her curiosity for art. She became active in the art community as a teenager, and later went on to receive a BFA at the Columbus College of Art and Design and an MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her style focused on urban decay, inspired by steel mills along the Great Lakes.
When she moved to Florida, Kass became inspired by the local scenery and began considering different mediums, like ceramics, to express her love of nature. Whether it is seaweed that has washed ashore or a leaf that has fallen from a tree, she tries to transfer these moments into each piece that she creates.
Lauren Shapiro is a visual artist living and working in Miami, Florida, United States. She earned an M.F.A. from the University of Miami and utilizes a multi-step casting process in clay resulting in modular sculptures and installations which reference systems and visual orders found in nature. Her work draws inspiration from environmental research and data, ceramics and social practice.
Lauren has been a resident artist at the Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute at Jingdezhen, China, where she observed and learned about post-production processes of industrial mold making and porcelain slip casting. She has exhibited during Art Basel Miami at Scope Art fair, the New Art Dealer’s Alliance (NADA) and she has showcased her work internationally during Art Basel Switzerland at Projektraum M54 and a solo exhibition debuted in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She completed a residency in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil, collecting textures for her ecologically driven sculptures and installations. In 2019 she was awarded a Knight Arts Challenge grant for a project which will culminate in 2021 at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami. She is the Artist in Residence for a National Science Foundation grant awarded to coral reef researchers at California State University. Lauren currently occupies a studio as an artist in residence at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, in addition to serving as Head of the Ceramics Studio.
Gerbi Tsesarskaia was born in Zsitomir, Ukraine. After graduating from the Marine Technical University of St. Petersburg in 1980 with an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, for four years she worked as an electrical engineer at “Elektrosila” Research Institute. In 1985 Gerbi moved to Budapest, Hungary, got married, and made a sharp turn in her career. After learning Hungarian she worked first as an art books seller, then later as a translator-interpreter, as well as a marionette puppet maker at the Budapest National Puppet Theater. In 1990 Gerbi moved to Florida where her husband pursued his doctoral studies at the University of Miami. In 1994 she joined the Ceramic League of Miami. At the CLM she first took, later taught courses in wheel throwing.
In 2002 she was accepted to the graduate program at Florida Atlantic University and graduated with an M.F.A. in ceramics in 2005. After a brief period of teaching at FAU she moved her studio to the Bakehouse Art Complex, where she currently works as an independent artist. From August 2009 she has been teaching ceramics courses at the University of Miami and at Miami International University of Art and Design as an adjunct instructor. Gerbi has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions including two world competitions in Korea and Rumania. Her work has been included in many private and two museum collections in Korea and Romania.
Delray Beach, Florida
Born in St. Louis in 1953, Whyman delights in remembering himself as an awed child watching the Gateway Arch being built, and he tells stories of his near simultaneous discovery of fossil shells, of clay that he could shape with his hands, and of fired clay in the form of salt-glazed sewer pipe being laid in his neighborhood. Shells and ceramics continued to be his interest in high school, and in college he struggled to make a choice, first studying marine biology in Miami and then studying ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute.
He also fell under the influence of his teachers and of Voulkos, and he is loyal to those individuals. He and Voulkos had in common their first art expression being painting, their discovery of a feeling for clay, and their move to metal sculpture as a means to larger scale. It was Voulkos who urged Whyman to return to clay after years of concentrating on steel.
Whyman’s ceramics are inspired by nature, including the shells he collects. His vessels, teapots, and plates retain a semblance of function but are really sculptures. His spouts are twisted, his vases sag and tilt, and his plates are rife with lumpy accretions. Whyman creates his works all in one moment while the clay is still wet. He uses the wheel to throw his vessels and spontaneously adds materials as sea glass, Chinese crystals, mineral oxides, metal nails, and wood ash to make forms that call to mind rock formations and what one might find on the ocean floor.