Sam Chung at Greenwich House Pottery

By Koplos, Janet | Ceramics Art & Perception, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Sam Chung at Greenwich House Pottery


Koplos, Janet, Ceramics Art & Perception


PLACE/SETTING, SAM CHUNG'S INSTALLATION IN THE Jane Hartsook Gallery, consisted of one large low platform occupied by 16 arrangements of biomorphic-shaped plates, bowls and cups around the edge and seven vase-and-plate arrangements in the middle. I wonder if there is some significance to the numbers, but at least the platform is comfortably proportional to the gallery, whose domestic detailing (mouldings, fireplace, tall windows) support the sense of the installation as a communal festive occasion.

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All the dishes are soft white. Their narrow dark-coloured edges are interrupted by two hyphen-like spots of light, cheery colours--orange, gold and green--that code the position of the stacked elements. Green is always on the base platter, gold on the next level and orange on the tallest pot, whether it is a tea bowl or a soup bowl. Only the tea bowls are round; they resemble proper china teacups but lack handles. My interpretation of the shapes of these dishes is altered by the vases, which feature striking black outlines on protrusions that might serve as multiple, eccentrically placed lug handles on these largest upright forms: they resemble cartoon-like cloud motifs and suggest that the shapes of the plates and bowls are not just generally biomorphic but continue this cloud theme.

Everything looks related and all is reasonably utilitarian but not restricted in function. The plates that hold the tea bowls are without a saucer ring, so they could just as easily take a salad. What this means is that although the groupings are defined (each set has an incised number on the bottom), arrangement and purpose is up to the user, to be determined in an aesthetic exercise before the first bit of food is placed.

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The arrangement of multiple inset elements has many referents, from fancy china services to Bobby Silverman's concentric bowls to Asian dishes with their varied forms. …

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