Not that there’s anything wrong with a making a tea pot, but for many contemporary ceramicists, clay is a vessel that can hold more than liquid. Walter McConnell is such a conceptualist, pouring ideas into his ceramic work, which includes temporary, wet-clay installations (mounted under moisture-retaining plastic sheets) that explore the ways in which we construct our understanding of nature, through landscape and other art forms.
Two small examples of McConnell’s wet-clay sculpture, from the artist’s “Itinerant Eden” series, are on view at Cross MacKenzie Gallery. But the showstopper is a towering heap of fired porcelain called “Dark Stupa.” Cast from hundreds of hobby-shop molds, and featuring a bust of Elvis, the work plays with the highbrow-lowbrow divide, and questions the nature of artistic production and value.
Read my full review, and check out a selection of images from McConnell’s work in the gallery above.