Old Courthouse Arts Center Hosts Emerging Artist, VIVI
A new emerging contemporary artist, VIVI, or Vivian Ginsberg Smith, is a porcelain ceramic sculptress, sharing an art gallery exhibition, as one of two Northwest Area Arts Council Member Featured Artists showing from now through January 6th, 2008 at the Old Courthouse Arts Center in Woodstock, Illinois.
VIVI specializes in ceramic porcelain artwork produced on the potter's wheel and altered by hand into clay sculpture. Always challenging her previous accomplishments, VIVI experimented with techniques that push the usual limits of porcelain. She manipulated exceptionally thick and thin clay walls in her artwork. The diversity of clay wall thickness complicated the drying stage of the sculptures. She also experimented with techniques that utilize the natural luminous quality of exceptionally thin fine white porcelain.
Paper Clay, or paper fiber mixed with porcelain, keeps the clay strong during construction. In the kiln, the paper fiber burns out of the clay, resulting in extremely thin feather-weight ceramic walls. VIVI also used Water-etching, or designs painted with lacquer to resist the water used to wash away unprotected porcelain from the surface of artwork to achieve thin translucent clay walls in her artwork.
Many of her works are presented as unglazed, or naked clay. It is risky to exhibit unglazed ceramic artwork. Without the seductive quality of color to attract the viewer’s eye, the form of the porcelain sculpture must be powerful enough to engage and hold the viewer’s attention. Most of her forms derived from nature. VIVI presents naked porcelain clay sculptures that defied the necessity of color and relied on the strength of her forms, alone.
Her triptych piece, Emergence, pictured above, has a quiet dignity that encourages viewers to approach and explore the work. VIVI’s naked clay work showed influences of medieval Japanese Zen sculpture. The simplicity of the forms and their titles allow the viewer to contemplate the artwork and its meaning. Much of her sculptural work symbolized parallels between events in the natural world and those of the human experience.
Her glazed porcelain sculptures, plates, and sealed bottles showed influences from ancient Middle Eastern vessels and medieval Far Eastern ceramics. VIVI used low fire crystalline glazes. When exposed to heat in the kiln, the glazes produce crystals from Zinc particles floating within the glaze. Any subtle changes in kiln temperatures or glaze components radically can change the color of the crystalline glaze. VIVI’s crystalline ceramics range from earth tones to vivid cobalt blue.
VIVI is scheduled for a solo show at McHenry County College, Crystal Lake, IL in fall 2008. VIVI lives and works in Harvard, IL. For more information about VIVI or her work contact, Laureen Reu Liu of Phoenix Studios, email@example.com.
VIVI’s work will be on display now through January 6th, 2008 at the Old Courthouse Arts Center, 101 North Johnson Street, Woodstock, Illinois. For more information about the gallery exhibition, call the Arts Center at (815) 338-4525 or go to
Laureen Reu Liu