Jonathan Anderson is a master curator when it comes to weaving together disparate mediums. As Andrew Bonacina said of the ‘Disobedient Bodies’ exhibition he co-curated with Anderson earlier this year, the Irish designer ‘brings things together in a way that’s expansive and promiscuous’.
The same can be said of the diverse inventory of objects currently on show at Loewe’s Miami boutique. ‘Chance Encounters III’ attests to Anderson’s eclectic curatorial vision. It’s the third in a series of exhibitions established by the Loewe Foundation, that brings together artists from various disciplines in the hopes of promoting unexpected conversations.
The latest showcase includes specially made ceramic vessels by Irish artist (and Loewe Craft Prize 2017 finalist) Sara Flynn, seen in relation to photography of 1930s Ceylon by Sri Lankan artist Lionel Wendt, and a renowned 1975 fabric sculpture by Richard Smith. The works surround an imposing 18th-century Spanish granary that runs the length of the boutique.
More than simply aggregating variant objects, Anderson’s curatorial method is nuanced, balanced and trusting of his artists. ‘In terms of the brief, Jonathan didn’t ask me to make work in response to the other makers,’ Flynn explains. ‘Instead, he wanted me to respond to the space. He didn’t want me to be derivative or try to link the three artists together in a false way.’
‘Esker’ vessel, by Sara Flynn, 2017, for the Loewe Foundation
Held together and framed by the granary structure, a kind of effortless conversation exists between the works. Each bares an understanding of how three-dimensional forms interact with the space around them. Wendt’s dynamic portraits, for example, carry a dancerly sensitivity of how the body displaces the air, reflected in the ripples and contours of Flynn’s manipulated ceramics. Likewise, Smith’s protruding ‘kite painting’ juts out into the gallery, its contoured structures exploring the tension between volume and surface.
To wit, each work is preoccupied with craftsmanship. Flynn adopts an organic, almost folkloric approach. Her vessels are thrown on the potters wheel to start with, in ‘a method steeped in tradition’. Then they’re ‘cut, pushed, reassembled and stuck back together’. The resulting asymmetrical forms appear to shift and change as the surface unfolds.
Flynn has had a ‘lifelong love affair’ with clay. ‘I’ve been making clay pots for upwards of 20 years,’ she says, ‘and the clay is still the boss.’ Materiality is of the upmost importance to her – something she believes Anderson understands better than anyone. ‘Loewe have these master craftsmen working with the most incredible leather. His relationship with high quality materials is a real common thread between our works.’
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