vases and drawings
Elizabeth Harris Gallery
February 18-March 26, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday, February 18, 6-8 PM
The Elizabeth Harris Gallery is pleased to announce vases and drawings, a show of recent ceramics and works on paper by Elisa D’Arrigo. In this exhibition, her 9th with the gallery, D’Arrigo continues to consider the possibilities for integrating painting, drawing, improvisational process and animated sculptural form within the context of the ceramic vessel.
Most of the works begin as hand-built linear elements, elongated and hollow, that the artist then manipulates when wet in a short period of intense activity: the clay is twisted, knotted, pinched, poked and crushed. The convoluted forms that result evoke a posture that refers to the body in a gestural and even visceral manner – similar to how one experiences movement within oneself when viewing dance.
D’Arrigo’s works convey the subtle humor of unexpected configurations merged with densely glazed and often encrusted surfaces to express both tender and tough “beings”. The figural aspects of these works pay homage to, and with their writhing corporeality, unsettle the traditional description (originating with the ancient Greeks) of the structure of the “vase” form as comprised of lip, neck, shoulder, body and foot.
The notion of the vase and its implicit functionality fascinates D’Arrigo, and serves as muse.
“I’m drawn to art that is somehow completed (or becomes more fully itself) when used; Bernini’s fountains speak more eloquently when animated by water, human interaction reveals architecture’s intent, the appearance of a Zapotec figurative censer was most likely dramatically transformed when copal smoke emerged from its orifices.”
In 2013, while at a residency at The Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, D’Arrigo created the suite of drawings presented for the first time in this exhibition. D’Arrigo’s approach to these works echo her improvisational handling of the glazed surface – paint is poured and painted onto plastic and transferred to paper, then further layered with ink and droplets of collaged acrylic paint and occasional hand-sewing.
D’Arrigo’s work is included in the collections of The Mead Art Museum, The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, The High Museum of Art, The Mint Museum of Art and Design, The Weatherspoon Art Museum, and Dieu Donne Papermill. Reviews of her work have appeared in several publications including The New York Times, Art in America, ArtNews, Sculpture, Partisan Review, and The New York Observer.
The artist would like to express special thanks to the Civitella Ranieri Foundation.
The Gallery is located at 529 W 20th Street, 6th floor and is open Tuesday – Saturday 11 – 6 pm.
For further information contact Miles Manning at