Flamethrowers // Roxanne Jackson & Shannon Goff (April 7-May13)
Elijah Wheat Showroom is proud to announce a transgressive two person ceramic show, Flamethrowers. Artists Shannon Goff and Roxanne Jackson address handmade sculpture with a vigorous building of clay, fired to ceramic with lustrous glazing yet at war with more traditional approaches. Jackson and Goff fuse two levels of visual structure: above the horizon and below. They each wield weapons, like fire, to merge the two into powerful ceramic objects.
Jackson centers the object firmly, like a mineral once stuck and removed from the geology of an alien plateau. “Her macabre works are black-humored investigations of the links between transformation, myth, and kitsch.” She explains. There is a comfortable emotional shift from the Alienware series of Jackson’s work: representational heads of 'beasts' are flayed and opened in a process that deconstructs the original image(s); the result leads to creatures or mineral formations opening as if caught in a psychedelic, biological dissection of the underworld's secrets. Her protruding ‘mystical’ elements stab the atmosphere from the palms of paws, like an offering to its celestial creator. Nails, fur, candles, crystals, gold chains and dice are reminiscent of an urbane plateau, earthly, physical and profane albeit a suggested irreverence for self-imposed sacred symbols of contemporary occultism.
Contrarily, Goff’s balanced abstractions build a contained calm, breaking rules of gravity, and enacting the false unease of their own strength. The torrid structure implies entanglement, within a collapsing landscape. The imaginary landscapes assemble as gestural drawings in space, testing the conceptual and structural limitations of the material. “I work on the edge of chaos and the beneficial space of failure...gravity is a constant tutor.” She explains. The entangled line often begins innocently, like a doodle in its purest form. The negative space inside Goff’s sculptures feels equal to the positive space. The delicacy of her work goes against the weight of the material, making them feel light, airy, and ungrounded, not so common for an earthly and permanent material of clay, then glazed and carefully fired. As if painting a Japanese landscape, lines lift upward, suggesting the presence of the atmosphere.
The Flamethrowers’ sculptures synchronize with craft in a pure form yet blaze a path for a reinvention and disruption of historic ceramic sculpture. Their keen ability to combine both the celestial and terrestrial from their interpretation of the horizon, as ‘above and below’, sacred and profane, proves their conceptual tenacity. These artists share a sculptural practice that highlights a subversive and at times transgressive one; both thwarting a conventional expectation of the ceramics tradition.
Roxanne Jackson is a ceramic artist and mixed-media sculptor living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Hyperallergic, The New York Times, Gothamist, ArtSlant, Brooklyn Magazine, among others. She has been an artist in residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, the Wassaic Project, Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China, funded by an NCECA International Residency Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, Honey Ramka, Regina Rex, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Knockdown Center, BRIC, the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, PA; the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minneapolis, MN; the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME; the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, NJ. She has shown in China, Portugal, Romania, Canada, and such cities as London, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Brussels, Leipzig and Mexico City. Jackson is also the cofounder of NASTY WOMEN EXHIBITION, a national/international art exhibition and fundraising project.
Shannon Goff is an artist from Detroit currently living and working in Central PA. She received her BFA from the University of Michigan, a Post-Baccalaureate from Kyoto Seika University in Japan and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.Shannon has been the recipient of a Japanese Monbusho grant and twice awarded residencies to the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry program. She has been an artist in residence at the ClayArch Museum in Gimhae, South Korea and a United States Artists nominee. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Knockdown Center, Susanne Hilberry Gallery in Ferndale, MI, Printed Matter, the San Jose Museum of Art, UC-Northridge, Honey Ramka,and in Beijing, Berlin, Chicago, London and Australia.Recent reviews of her work have been featured in Hyperallergic, DesignBoom, Colossal, FastCoDesign,Cfile and Detroit Art Review.She is an associate professor of Sculpture and Ceramics at Penn State University.