Thursday, March 20, 2008

French Ceramicist Gregoire Scalabre

French ceramicist, Gregoire Scalabre, has a fantastic new exhibition at the Galerie NeC at 117, rue Vieille du Temple. Gregoire, one of the leading ceramicists in France I am told by his associates, transforms clay, here mainly lush white porcelain, into
contemporary, sculptural work that is at times rather akin to surrealist organic forms.

The smallish, circular-like objects, titled "Temps Moderne," are a recurring form. They often have small holes pierced onto the sides or are open at the base. They suggest something between a children's rattle, an industrial plumbing device and chemistry models for molecules. He places them onto their sides or against one another, sometimes on a layer of small, pentagon shaped tiles and other times a
flat rectangular base. It's a seductive, if not unusual work that can
function alone on a pedestal, as a sculptural, stand-alone object, but
would also be lovely as an object that tied in with other household
pieces like a desk or low table, perching it just so to give it its
space, yet engage with other pieces around it.

In "Fleurs de Grand Feu," tube like shapes about 8-10inches high, sprout up from a flat, rectangular base. With a metallic like patina the piece could almost suggest a late 60s-early 1970s ceramic work. Scalabre also riffs on traditional ceramic vessels in his large cylindrical vessels with handles, or the Tony Cragg like installation of dozens of miniature, white vase-like vessels with cut out centers which are placed on a high pedestal.

Also on view are ink on paper drawings and sketches made both as studies and
preludes to the sculptural work. They are interesting studies of form
and space.

It's is clear that Gregoire is talented, very experienced and
extremely skilled with the possibilities of ceramic as a medium and its
potential to be transformed into contemporary sculpture.
I may be biased because Gregoire was my teacher during my three-month 'stage' at the Atelier de Ceramique,
where I struggled interminably on my quest for zen and just one
centered pot (not). From time to time we had the pleasure of watching
M.Scalabre while he spun his miniature vessels, one after the other from a large dome of porcelain. You can visit his website for more information,

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