Nine Situations: The Stability of the Inanimate

This virtual exhibit examines the fascinating relationship between two ceramic artists, Jolie Stahl and Sherry Italiano.

By Hudson Guild

Ninth Situation: Poppy Tree and Judith with the Head of Holofernes (after Mantegna) by Sherry Italiano & Jolie StahlHudson Guild

Nine Situations

This virtual exhibit examines the fascinating relationship between two ceramicists. Their pieces are paired with one another's in what are tagged "situations." It was originally meant to be installed in Hudson Guild Gallery on shelves that would then be dramatically lit with spotlights.  Theatrics are intentional as is the influence of the mundane. But 2020 held more in store than any two artists could have imagined -- a worldwide pandemic coupled with the most important election in anyone's lifetime. In the face of total uncertainty, these two friends and ceramicists speak of the confluence of beauty and humor in nature. There is a hint of violence, but a little magic too. Let this exhibit be respite from the anger and despair of the unknown.   

First Situation: The Power of Scrutiny Pitcher & Pitcher with Flower and Leaf Handle by Jolie Stahl & Sherry ItalianoHudson Guild

The form and tonality are similar in both vessels. The language on one vessel states “the power of scrutiny” while the other pitcher scrutinizes the form of a flower on a stem.

Second Situation: Black Box & Bud Vase by Jolie Stahl & Sherry ItalianoHudson Guild

Surfaces deserve to be monumentalized, whether they have color applied to form like Sherry’s, or symbols applied to surfaces like Jolie’s.

Third Situation: From the Sea Cup and Boxwood Bud Vase by Sherry Italiano & Jolie StahlHudson Guild

Cup and vase appear in conversation. One leans into the other.

Fourth Situation: Salt Tree with Spoon & Evergreen Pitcher by Sherry Italiano & Jolie StahlHudson Guild

When do the decorative arts become fine art? That is the question and always the challenge.

Fifth Situation: Crow Bowl & Stacked Cups by Sherry Italiano & Jolie StahlHudson Guild

Bowls are a necessity. They hold and contain nourishment. The range in scale and texture of bowls is endless.

Sixth Situation: Seated Woman Vase & Japanese Stacking Tea Cups by Jolie Stahl & Sherry ItalianoHudson Guild

In some of the “situations,” Sherry and Jolie’s palettes are extremely similar and harmonizing. This careful and deliberate arrangement enhances equilibrium, instilling a feeling of calm.

Seventh Situation: Giant Pine Tree Vase & Salt Tree II by Jolie Stahl & Sherry ItalianoHudson Guild

Jolie and Sherry work in close proximity and enjoy a fertilization of ideas with very different outcomes.

Eighth Situation: Basket with Clouds & Mythology Vase (after Poussin) by Sherry Italiano & Jolie StahlHudson Guild

Storytelling and Ceramics

Storytelling in ceramics is ageless. Ancient Greek civilizations recorded narratives of their lives on ceramic vessels for themselves and future generations. During the Renaissance, a larger range of colored glazes was introduced which allowed greater decorative detail and narrative range. The technical maturation of ceramics became comparable to the quality of narrative art introduced by “easel painting.”

The atmosphere in Sherry’s basket speaks directly to the space between figures in Jolie’s mythological scene, which borrows compositional ideas from Poussin.

Ninth Situation: Poppy Tree and Judith with the Head of Holofernes (after Mantegna) by Sherry Italiano & Jolie StahlHudson Guild

In this final situation, the compositions juxtapose humor and its opposition. Sherry’s Poppy Tree is a real “cutie,” while Jolie’s Judith with the Head of Holofernes speaks directly to our conflicted and volatile times.

Credits: Story

To inquire about purchases, call 212-760-9837 or email jfurlong@hudsonguild.org.

This exhibit was created by Jim Furlong.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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