Beth Katleman: "Folly" Exhibition

Greenwich House Pottery is pleased to present a new installation by New York-based artist Beth Katleman, January 20-February 17, 2011. Please join us for the opening reception on Thursday, January 20th from 6-8pm.

Location: Greenwich House Pottery 16 Jones Street, between Bleeker and West 4th Street, 2nd Floor

Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 12 - 6pm

For more photos, please visit Beth Katleman's Web site.

Katleman’s work has been described by Ken Johnson in the New York Times as “doll-sized rococo theaters of murder and domestic mayhem.” Her deliciously subversive porcelain sculptures combine rococo ornament with icons from popular culture. Read the most recent New York TImes article about the "Folly" exhibition, from Penelope Green.

The intimate Jane Hartsook Gallery, with its marble mantel and double-height windows, hints at a domestic past. Katleman responds to the genteel surroundings by covering an entire wall with three-dimensional porcelain “wallpaper”. Fifty white sculptural tableaus hover just off the turquoise wall, surrounded by an explosion of fruit and flowers. Each tableau is a miniature landscape with water features, topiaries, architectural follies, figurines and toys from the flea market. Dark humor infuses the narratives: an elf sits astride a giant smiling snail in the shadow of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica; a parade of bridesmaids ends badly with one attendant drowning in a pond; and a toothless boy cavorts with a kindly reindeer as a duckling tumbles over a waterfall.

Inspired by the florid designs of 18th century wall coverings, Katleman explores themes of consumption and desire. She writes: “I have long been fascinated by Toile de Jouy, the printed fabrics that drape the walls and beds of 18th century France. Peasants cavort in bucolic landscapes decked out with flowers, all in the shadow of classical ruins. There is something surreal about these scenes, which float, disembodied in a world without gravity. I love the contrast between the frivolity of the scenes and the incongruous settings.” Her process involves scouring the flea markets in search of trinkets. “Often the 2nd and 3rd generation knock-offs catch my eye, especially those that seem to pine for a grander existence. I cast these trinkets in porcelain, a material that suggests luxury, refinement and royal provenance.” Katleman’s installation at the Jane Hartsook Gallery will be her largest and most ambitious work to date.

Beth Katleman was born in Park Forest, Illinois. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University, an MBA in Arts Management from UCLA and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work is included in many national collections, including the M.H. de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI, Kohler Company, Kohler, WI, and the Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT. Her sculptures have been featured in solo exhibitions in the Barneys New York windows and at the Sybaris Gallery, Royal Oak, Michigan. She has appeared in numerous group shows at institutions such as the M.H. de Young Museum, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, Garth Clark Gallery, New York, Thomas Healy Gallery, New York, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, and the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C. Her work has garnered critical attention in the New York Times, American Ceramics, the New Art Examiner, Sculpture Magazine and other publications. She is the recipient of a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation grant, a Kohler Arts/Industry Fellowship, the Watershed Generation X Award, and a residency in Cortona, Italy sponsored by the University of Georgia, Athens. She has taught at Pratt Institute, New York University and Greenwich House Pottery in New York. Katleman lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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