I'm pleased to invite you to join us on Tuesday July 5th 2022, at 8pm (eastern standard time) for cocktails, and a lively discussion about art, life, and some things I've been working on in the studio. You can join us on the platform of your choice. We will be live on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook.
Please join us for an exhibition of artists and makers offering their work for sale in support of Ukrainian Refugees held in conjunction with Open Studios | Ukraine Benefit at The Clemente on Saturday, May 21 from 4-8p and Sunday, May 22, 2022 from 2-6p.
The Soniashnyk/Sunflowers exhibition takes place in Room 406 at The Clemente, located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side
107 Suffolk Street, Studio 406, New York, NY 10002
(Between Rivington & Delancey Streets. Subway: F, M, J, Z to Delancey/Essex)
Evoking the sunflower as a symbol of peace and solidarity with the Ukrainian people, Soniashnyk (Ukrainian for ‘sunflowers’) is a group exhibition of ceramics, prints, and paintings organized by The Arts & Crafts Research Studio. A significant portion of each sale will be donated to World Central Kitchen, an organization that is directly supporting refugees of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Curated by the Arts + Crafts Research Studio.
Participating artists include Kelly Chang, Julien Gardair, Aya Natalia Karpińska, Hee Chan Kim, Sam Linguist, Andrew Cornell Robinson, Russ Spitkovsky, Frederic Tuten, Miguel Villalobos, and Integrated Makers Collab (a ceramic sculptural collaboration between thirty-two students of Parsons School of Design and the Arts & Crafts Research Studio). Lucas Benoit, Melanie Calabrese, Cindy Cao, Saumya Choksey, Jacqueline Clayton, Janay Davison, Cece Deming-Bernstein, Marcello Flutie, Zoe Frangos, Joshua Frizell, Carlo Hatke, Ellis Herz, Aryan Jaglan, Weston Kear, Yasemin Kurttepeli, Xingtao Liu, Jorge Lopez-Doria, Amanda Lugo, Thomas Mathieu, Presley Nguyen, Mateus O'Donnell, Henry Pakenham, Katie Parsons, Aidan Reinhold, Ahana Sharma, Quincy Sileo, Chloe Trachtenberg, Edmund Trang, Shelby Tse, Ciara Gabrielle Uysipuo, Defne Uzelli, Jiayi Wang.
This exhibition coincides with the 25th edition of The Clemente Open Studios
The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural & Educational Center, Artists Alliance Inc., and the Clemente Residents are pleased to announce the 25th edition of The Clemente Open Studios on Saturday, May 21 from 4-8p and Sunday, May 22, 2022 from 2-6p.
Housing more than 46 visual artists’ studios and 11 visual and performing arts organizations, the Clemente community is thrilled to welcome friends, colleagues, and neighbors back into their home on the Lower East Side. The public is invited to explore this multigenerational community of artists, some of whom have lived and worked in the neighborhood for more than two decades, and residents of participating residency programs. All events are FREE and open to the public. See the press release for a complete schedule of performances, events, and a guide to artist studios and exhibitions.
Join us on Saturday April 2nd for Wunderkammer, an exhibition of work by Andrew Cornell Robinson and Karen Leo at Guttenberg Arts, 6903 Jackson Street, Guttenberg, NJ 07093 April 2, 2022 - May 1, 2022; Opening Saturday April 2nd, 2022. Schedule your visit by going to www.guttenbergarts.org/exhibitions For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-868-8585 Guttenberg Art Gallery is free and open to the public by appointment only. www.guttenbergarts.org
During his time at Guttenberg Arts, New York-based artist Andrew Cornell Robinson (b. 1968, Camden, NJ) has methodically drawn, modeled, carved, cast, printed, and created a layered network of queer and peculiar artifacts and images exploring history, memory, erasure, brokenness, and repair. Robinson’s work during the residency reflects on these themes through a series of layered prints, and ceramic forms that introduce an ad-hoc kintsugi (the Japanese art of repair with gold and lacquer) with the use of DIY materials (duct-tape, epoxy, plastic, spit, gold, glitter, and glue), combining collage and drawing onto a painterly and fragmentary surface. By interrogating collage and traditional methods of making, Robinson made room for a new vocabulary embedding his personal and queer histories through layering and obfuscation.
Robinson reflects on his work: “Drawing upon notions of brokenness, of seeing the world, or ourselves just as we are, and finding some acceptance of that imperfect humanity have emerged in my work. Initially I was drawn to Kintsugi, a tradition that celebrates the fix. This Japanese art of repairing broken ceramic by mending the fragments with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, likely arose during the fifteenth century when shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke a favorite celadon tea bowl. This bowl was sent for repair and returned with its fragments pieced together with iron staples as was the custom at that time. The result was an unsightly repair, and Ashikaga turned to some local Japanese craftsmen who filled the cracks and fragments with lacquer and gold powder, accentuating the breakage with something precious. Kintsugi transforms something broken into something renewed; its mended cracks reveal its unique character and accentuates its aesthetic appeal through the acceptance of its shortcomings. My appropriation and adaptation of this approach to repair, is probably closer to the tinkering traditions of my grandfather who was always making or fixing something. As he would say, “…a bit of spit and glue will do nicely.”
Robinson’s residency led him to explore new work at the intersection of printmaking and ceramics. He uses hand built and wheel formed porcelain that is then cut, carved, and covered with custom silkscreened decals. The glazed and fired works are in some cases broken, or cracked, and an adhoc repair of these objects result in renewed artifacts and enigmatic narratives. The decal and surface imagery pollute the form, and is eerily detached from the objects, like the asynchronous imposition of graffiti over an edifice. These ceramic forms are presented along with a series of painterly prints built up with layered images abstracted figures and obscured portraits.
Community: Craft Exchanges from Haiti and United States
Donna Karan and the Design, Organization, Training Center, and Parsons School of Design invited Andrew Cornell Robinson to collaborate with Haitian artisans in the design of a new ceramic studio in Port-au-Prince.
After the successful launch of the studio, Andrew was approached by a Yoruba priest who commissioned him to use locally harvested clays from Haiti and the United States to create a water vessel for the deity Olokun. Inspired by this creative challenge, Andrew created multiple offering vessels, a selection of which were presented in the “Occupy Art Project #3 – Networks” at the French Consulate, in New York City.
Creating: Offering Vessels
The invitation to create a ritual water vessel to honor the god Olokun at the behest of a friend, a Yoruba priest, offered a profound opportunity to reflect upon the function of ritual, history, faith, connection, redemption, and the concept of àṣẹ, a philosophical concept through which the Yoruba of Nigeria conceive the power to create and produce change. Reflecting upon these ideas led me to Olive Senior’s poem, Olokun: God of the Deep Ocean. *
“Olokun: God of the Deep Ocean, by Olive Senior
In the waiting room beneath the sea lies the mythical Atlantis or the sacred Guinée
Who knows save Olokun master of the deep
guardian of profoundest
Shall we ask him?
Shall we ask him where the world tree is anchored?
Shall we ask him for the portal to the sun?
Shall we ask the tally of the bodies thrown down to him
on the crossing of the dread Middle Passage?
Shall we ask him for the secrets read in the bones
of the dead, the souls he has guided to his keep?
Will he reconnect the chains of ancestral linkages?
Send unfathomable answers from the deep?
Divine Olokun accept the tribute of your rivers
the waters of your seas give back wealth as you please
guard us from our innermost thoughts; keep us from too deep probing
but if we cannot contain ourselves and we plunge
descending like our ancestors that long passage
to knowing, from your realm can we ascend again
in other times in other bodies to the plenitude of being?”
As part of a creative research project and exhibition in New York, Andrew Cornell Robinson’s work was included in an exhibition/intervention along with a group of international artists and curators invited to occupy the Greek General Consulate and French General Consulate in New York City in which work was installed in situ for one month, along with several public events, and musical and theatrical performances.
The Design, Organization, Training Center (D.O.T) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was created by Donna Karan, Urban Zen, Parsons School of Design, and Haitian artisan and businesswoman Paula Coles to support Haiti’s artisans with visiting international artists and designers and the creation of a thriving design lab where creative collaborators can work across multiple media from ceramic, wood, metal, and textile, to fiber, horn, and leather.
Andrew Cornell Robinson was a visiting artist and educator, who worked with D.O.T. to design and set up the ceramic studio on site, and lead ceramic materials workshops including uses of local clays, surface design, and food safe glazes. He worked with Haitian artisans as well as scholars in the Parsons Design Fellowship.
Several workshops in ceramic surface design and glaze preparation were offered to local artisans. Participants learned how to prepare slip and engobe materials using imported and native clay and natural materials. Explorations using found chemicals such as rusted metals (i.e. iron oxide), to produce colorants and discussions of local materials that can be used to produce surface colors in the kiln, including seaweed, seawater soaked and dried fabric, etc.
Traditional slip trailing techniques were also explored. Since many of the participants in this workshop were relatively new to ceramic as a material (there were several jewelry makers, a sculptor, a painter, a textile artist, et al.) we spent some time producing test tiles and created a series of beads.
In the afternoon we did a workshop on the use of plaster and alginate to produce various molds for casting, stamping and press molding clay. Additionally, we did a series of printing and slip transfer techniques including stenciling, block printing, and silk-screening colored clay onto clay surface slabs.
The second day participants learned about low fire earthenware glazes. The students mixed tin glazes and developed several colored over glazes using various oxides and stains. In the morning we explored different glazing techniques by glazing about a dozen bisque ware vessels and plates. In the afternoon we explored various production techniques on the pottery wheel including throwing fundamentals, as well as some “tricks of the trade” for production work including forming, warp and crack prevention, sgraffito and finishing.
I enjoy aesthetic polytheism, and I am suspicious of most curatorial interpretations. Someone’s always got an axe to grind regardless of what was in the artists’ mind. I never really know what to say when asked What’s your art about?. I usually want to talk about how I made it, because I really like the making; but that never seems to satisfy, in fact it appears to demystify, and the asker walks away with an impression that I am a mere tinkering intuitive. Kind of an idiot child. I am afraid to tell them what I think it might be about, I rarely begin something with any sense of certainty of meaning, that might emerge later, sometimes years later, in the rearview mirror meaning might crystalize. I’m afraid to tell them that I think I am making magic, because that's pretty uncool these days. I might talk about some ideas about my lived experiences, about being gay, growing up poor and graduating to middle class with lots of debt and an unfulfilled sense of entitlement, or surviving the 1980s AIDS crisis through a drunken blur; but no matter how intrigued the asker may appear, I suspect that they could care less what I lived through. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when they get that eyes-glazed-over look, because my ideas about what I think I am doing when I make a painting, or a sculpture, or whatever, sometimes don’t translate.
I think my best work is often confounding to myself, and to others; meaning slips through fingers. Form and craft are important to me, and meaning, if it holds, can be really cool too, but I’m really interested in beauty. A Lot of people seem to be afraid of that. Afraid of the destabilizing nature of art that uses beauty to celebrate marginality. On the reactionary right, they default to feeling threatened; suspicious of images, and the ideas within them that may undermine their sense of their position in the world. It is probably why the Taliban immediately white washed all the delightful community murals in Kabul, or why some uptight morman took a paint roller to white out all the nipples and groins on the billboard advertising the Chippendale Dancers, just outside Salt Lake City. Perhaps it is an extension of the protestant iconoclasm that lingers within western culture, particularly in the United States. On the left, there is an equally hysterical suspicion of beauty, probably because they correctly see beauty as a threat to their authority as interpreters of meaning.
I sometimes stumble around the halls of academia, and there I have noticed many professorial types who are afraid of beauty. I notice it by their silence on the subject, or their inordinate disdain for craft and form and a perverted need to force interpretations of everything they see, laying on some heavy socio-political readings, like repressed horny monks operating from the neck up within a puritanical culture of their own making. I imagine that these silences hiding disdain are an indication that they know that they can’t compete with the sublime. That art is a force that destabilizes certainties and threatens to change the world around us, perhaps by changing the ideas within us.
I have often sought a through line in my work, a sense that what I am making has some common denominator. For a time I relied on the use of a material or method, but that got complicated quickly by my love of ceramics, and printmaking, and drawing, and painting, etc. I prefer not to be hemmed in by the desire for fitting myself into a category, a discipline, in spite of having worked with ceramics much of my life. So I began to look for a visual or formal language that held together across all these media. Drawing and a graphic line seems to run most coherently through my work, and yet even that falters as I find my line or my approach to materials, or my embrace of theatricality can lean hard into an expressiveness that doesn't fit neatly into a formalism that seems so popular of late. In all this incessant seeking to conform to a core identity through form making, I was reminded of the desire for freedom that art making has always been about; breaking out of the conformity of a culture that I have often felt constrained by, making a mark. And in that simple seeking of a place for free expression of form and materials and ideas, I find joy and laughter, and surprise. The core of what I make are not simply images and objects, it’s like an energy, like the artifacts of an event, a memory, a moment.
This sequence of images below began with 1,000 drawings culled from 30 years of sketch books, transformed into 41 prints, with gestural drawings of Jamón Ibérico (Spanish smoked ham legs), superimposed in four colors, abstracted and broken down into half-tone dot patterns. These prints were then cut up into 1,000 small swatches, and were papered over sculptural plinths on which various ceramic abstractions of ham and pork products were placed. Then these prints were silk-screened onto thin paper and pasted over ceramic busts, and lately these have been printed directly onto porcelain forms.
An idea unfolds visually and intuitively, and I try to keep up with it, chasing it where it wants to go.