January 20 – May 19, 2018

Gerhardt Knodel, Minglings: A Journey Across Time


Chinese Folk Pottery: The Art of the Everyday

Gerhardt Knodel, Minglings:  A Journey Across Time

Artist Statement

Living in a time when negotiation between individuals is such a dominant aspect of public and private lives, what about the negotiation that occurs silently in the artist’s studio as mark-making and material manipulation link to earlier precedents?

In this work, Knodel collides the time and circumstances separating a 17th century Chinese silk tapestry with 21st century sensibilities.  Fragments of fantastic images generated centuries ago serve as DNA for the new, extending the past into the present moment of time, and perhaps even offering a link to the future.  The exhibition presents a three-dimensional environment inviting the viewer to inhabit the spirit, fantasy and inspiration of the original textile.

This body of work continues Knodel’s exploration of the potential of the fabric medium in a technique of his invention reminiscent of intricate fabric structures of the past.  Relating to the Chinese inspiration, all of the materials used in the current work are mass produced in China, and commonly available to today’s consumer.

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Chinese Folk Pottery: The Art of the Everyday

Chinese Folk Pottery: The Art of the Everyday exhibition explores contemporary folk pottery produced within the diversity of ethnic minorities and Han people across China.  It examines pottery from three perspectives: production values, functions, and aesthetics.

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The 34 pottery pieces in the exhibition were collected through many research trips between 1995 and 2009.  A generous grant from the Asian Cultural Council (a Rockefeller Foundation affiliate) made it possible to travel, document and research kilns and pottery in remote regions.  Objects in the exhibition are a cross-section of products by Tibetan, Dai, Miao, Bai and Han potters.

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“As China rushes headlong into modernization, the contemporary folk pottery is struggling for existence.  With the demise of traditional ware (no demand) village potters have migrated to the cities in search of more lucrative work. The dragon kilns that operated for centuries are cold and threatened by extinction.  This is a global issue that cannot be reversed, but this is an attempt to preserve by documenting what will be gone.”

                               Excerpt from a written statement by exhibition curator Marie Woo, 2013.