The Canadien noveliest Robertson Davies wrote, "The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprhend." When Eric Serritella wanted to improve his skills working with clay he took a workshop with Ah Leon, one of Taiwan’s most distinguished ceramic artists. Ah Leon invited him to Taiwan to study with four masters. He learned the ancient process of making Trompe l’Oeil Yixing teapots by copying the masters. He returned home resolved to find his own path, however. He continued in Trompe l’Oeil but chose a unique subject, the resilient birch. He remembers birches from his boyhood family homes. "My dad died when I was 10," he explains, "and those birch trees remind me of him. For me, my dad is at the heart of all things birch. I think of them as the angels of the forest—these beings, almost mystical, ghostlike, with the purity of an angel.”
Serritella’s stoneware sculptures now reside in numerous private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His latest work will be featured in an exhibition The Illusion of Permanence, presented by Jason Jacques Gallery and Galerie Fledermaus, and will be on view at the latter in Chicago from August 28 through September 26.
"The illusion of permanence echoes the inevitability of environmental change under duress of climate change, wildfires, pollution, deforestation and a myriad of other human disregards,” he explains. “Through aging and decay, I explore how nature maintains its splendors with tenacity and triumphs of existence, despite human disrespect.”
He knows birch trees so well, he often sculpts from his subconscious, his hands automatically forming the twisting trunks and branches of the tree. Recently he felt he had lost some his original inspiration.