PLAYGROUND DETROIT presents Relations Between featuring multi-disciplinary artist Elysia Vandenbussche. The exhibit explores and breaks boundaries of traditional crafts, the concept of a canvas, and skill combined with intuition through her porcelain wall installations on June 16th from 6-9pm with a Members-only VIP preview hour from 5-6PM. On view through July 14th.
“I’m really interested in clay on the wall, it’s just been a practice I’ve done for many years and it keeps evolving.” she explains. With her unique concept, collectors can assemble the pieces vertical or horizontally, and most importantly, interact with her art.
Vandenbussche is a Detroit-based multi-disciplinary artist and ceramicist primarily working in porcelain and clay. Her interest in pottery began when she was a child exploring sculptural and functional forms.
After completing her education at the College for Creative Studies, she graduated with a Crafts major and started her own studio practice. Her studio space is in an unassuming building, located in a primarily industrial zone.
“When I started creating these clay canvases, a big part was because they were so small that people can pick and choose all of these different personalities and create their own larger work on a wall.”
Her practice is currently focused on creating her own multi-piece installations made from porcelain that essentially create miniature ‘paintings’ and form interactive compositions.
She considers several design details before moving along to creating each piece, including the actual size of the canvas, the beveled edge, and also created two holes on the back that help with the formation process, but also helps to make them easy to hang.
“Design is a important part of the beginning stages of each form.”
The first step is to design models and prototypes, then make the canvases themselves by hand. Her entire process is nothing short of intense and extensive, creating every single part of the objects that she materializes down to the first tiny pieces of minerals.
Each piece begins as a pile of powder and are then formed into her unconventional canvases, which are all carefully put through an extensive multi-step process, resulting in a stunning coalescence of shape and color.
She makes her own porcelain clay from scratch, by using five different minerals mixed with water and hand-mixed with giant drill in a 5 gallon bucket. After each ‘canvas’ is cast, they go to the greenware stage, where she cleans up each piece individually, and then puts them in the kiln fire.
She fires the pieces sometimes up to four or five times and fires them each over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. After they are removed from the kiln, she arranges them to cool, and finally- can begin to focus on the surface. All of the processes leading up to this point, at which she gets to really begin to conceptualize the next part of the creative process..
She begins to determine what is put on the surface, which includes a variety of techniques including photography decal work, printing on the clay, drawing with underglaze; and all the space and the lines are relational to how it’s finally assembled as an installation.
“If I decide to do underglaze work, going right from a pigment to the bisque clay, it’s in a sense more like drawing- instead of glaze, that is more painting- it’s a feeling like pen work on paper,” she explains.
It’s a way to create layering, and a way to achieve detailed work. “I’ve been doing these little dots on individual pieces, and the most fascinating thing about these little dots is perspective, that from far away you may not even see them, or if you do, it will feel more like a texture- and then you get really close and it’s a whole other world you enter,” Vandenbussche confesses. She continues:
“When I’m in the work, in the process of it, I lose myself; I’m not really thinking about what I’m making or even art… I’m thinking about life, or even trying things in the middle of my process, exploring a little or taking risks, and seeing what works and what doesn’t.”
Traditionally in ceramics, the practice is centered around the form that is created. Instead, Vandenbussche prefers to pay attention to and explore the surface, creating her own ambitious canvases. In turn, the arrangements of these surface-heavy objects become their own relational forms as multi-piece installations.
In addition to the gallery exhibition featuring her latest body of work, Vandenbussche will also soft launch a new dinner series experience in collaboration with Dr. Sushi in early July at PLAYGROUND DETROIT. A selection of hand-crafted dish wares and serving wares will be available for guests to use first-hand with a curated three course dinner designed to feature the pieces.
The intimate evening will take place in the gallery space limited to 30 guests, to completely immerse guests to with a wall to table experience of her deeply involved craft which also includes handmade flatware and functional ceramics. For additional information, please contact us here.
“It’s more about the idea, or what I want to communicate through the material than being bound to any specific [medium]. I like mixing things, creating spontaneity in my work, a lot of what I do is very tactile, it’s an emotional/ feeling thing instead of logic or how I should approach something.”
Saturday, June 16th
6-9PM Public Reception / 5-6PM Member Reception
DJ Set by PETER CROCE
Beer from our friends at Eastern Market Brewing Co.
On view through July 14th
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