Brooklyn-based artist Cody Hoyt’s second exhibition at Soho gallery Patrick Parrish – 'Fossil Record' – pushes the limitations of ceramics to the edge. 

Originally a painter, illustrator, and printmaker, Hoyt shifted to working primarily in ceramics several years ago. As a result, his mesmerising vessels have surfaces that command as much attention as their structures, from riotous colourful melees to precise geometric patterns. Hoyt hand-forms the faceted vessels and uses tinted inlay clay pattering that is sliced, sanded and fired to reveal distinctive designs. 

'Fossil Record' builds on Hoyt’s oeuvre in scale – some of the pieces, at about 32 inches tall, are his largest vessels yet – and in form. Due to the comparative oversize scale of his work, Hoyt risks having the vessels become cracked or broken in the kiln. 'Cody’s really pushing the pieces, and that has brought on its own set of issues and problems that he’s had to work through,' says gallery owner Patrick Parrish. 'He’s technically working in “the wrong way".'

The striations in the clay add a rich element to the pieces, taking on different nuances and revealing the process behind each one. His hand-marbled vessels resemble wood or sandstone in a wabi sabi manner, while his more constructivist patterns appear to cut through the exterior to the inside. 'Instead of making everything perfect, he’s trying to embrace the flaws, the damage,' says Parrish. 'He’s making something beautiful out of what could be considered failure and seeing where it goes.'

Hoyt admits that the involved process to create this effect is a challenge (a large percentage of the pieces break completely in the kiln), but the resulting beauty is worth it. And from the bustling crowd and number of red reserve dots cropping up on his pieces at the gallery’s opening night, it seems everyone agrees.