Man & Nature

January 12, 2018

I’ve seen the Steven Heinemann exhibition at The Gardner Museum twice, because once is not enough. I’ve also watched the accompanying film about six times. In it, Heinemann speaks beautifully about clay and his personal process. “This behaviour of the material, which does not seek your permission, already suggests to me a dance of nature and culture, mind and nature.” His larger pieces, formidable and quiet, have plenty of room to breath in the gallery. His smaller vessels, exquisitely smooth on the outside, rough and volcanic on the inside, are displayed together, almost as one piece of work. One bowl, charcoal black and warped to perfection, stood out among the rest. Tireless, disciplined and deeply talented, I was inspired by how Hienemann stretches the boundaries of his medium. But ultimately, clay has a mind of its own, and what happens to its form, the glazes, when touched by heat is always a surprise. As the saying goes, it’s the kiln that has the last laugh.


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