Text by Mechteld Jungerius
Jason Jacques Gallery recently presented Nomad, a solo exhibition by Aneta Regel, which is the last on-site exhibition at the gallery’s historic Upper East side location before moving down-town. The exhibition proves a great opportunity to explore her artistic practice, through all its vibrant colours and playfulness.
Regel affirms that she is not a potter, but a ceramic sculptor. Her work has always had a whimsical, buoyant undercurrent guided by the visually propulsive power of colour, form, and texture. In Regel’s hands these concepts yield physical forms of unwavering beauty and complexity: amalgams of porcelain, stone, slip, and glaze metamorphosed by heat so that they seem to have sprung up from the earth itself.
Her work makes open, sweeping references to inert natural forms; they bring to mind something between tree and stone with a slightly fungal propensity for playfulness— coral perhaps. The sculptures stand, bend, lean, stoop, and recline as though toying with the idea of body language: a certain refinement of motion and gestural grace permeates the artwork. Even contortions emit charm as the idea of posture is hinted at.
It is an enchanting sort of anthropomorphism because Regel sculpts as though to
indicate rather than articulate the idea of a body. It’s sculpture caught between abstraction and figuration but entirely unconcerned with either— non-referential naturalism, if ever there were such a thing.
Stone (both presented and represented in her work) makes an important contribution to the materiality of Regel’s artistic practice. Her technique of mixing porcelain with gravel, placing stones into the clay, and subsequently allowing the clay to shrink and crack around the rock inside the kiln makes for a sensational sort of indeterminacy as the artwork rises to the challenge of forming and reforming itself.
In it’s own way the material teaches us about strengthening through growth and change in the face of obstacles. Like life, sculpting clay is a process of iteration and reiteration mediated by the artist’s hands and the transformative power of the kiln.
This time around, Regel’s work sounds a resounding tone of joy.
JANUARY 2021 — NYC — Nomad, a solo exhibition by Aneta Regel has opened in New York City and will run through the 29th of January.