We are pleased to present Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer Rochlin's first solo exhibition in Japan, California dreamin' ― "On such a winter's day", from October 17 at MAKI Gallery / Omotesando, Tokyo. Rochlin depicts Hollywood celebrities, lush Californian nature and personal narratives on her ceramics (pots), which express her vibrant artistic sensibilities. Her irregularly-shaped pots are 'canvases' that possess a charm all their own.
Jennifer Rochlin completed her MFA in 1999. She then began teaching at a local school, where she developed a ceramic program. This is what initially spurred her to make ceramics. She now skillfully combines a variety of methods to create richly expressive 'paintings' on the surface of her three-dimensional pots.
One of the characteristic features of her work is their form. She layers thin coils of clay in order to make the vessel. During this stage, the artist's inspiration begins to take shape in her hands, literally and figuratively. With exquisite balance, the irregularities freely emerge. The other characteristic feature is her motifs. Their composition is rooted in and determined by the shape of the pots. The bulges, indents, undulations and texture convey more than a canvas stretched evenly over a wooden frame. They thereby provide a more complex and compelling understructure for Rochlin's 'paintings'. The narratives that have been depicted on the surface of the pots sometimes encircle its entire surface, and at others, are vignettes that have been placed on each of four sides. (In the latter case, the vignettes may be related or unrelated to each other.) The relationship between form and motif in Rochlin's work varies depending on each individual piece. However, they all blend elements of painting and ceramics, embodying the words of Peter Voulkos (1924-2002) – the American artist who was highly influential in the shift away from functional and well balanced ceramic vessels – that 'clay is just thick paint, and paint is nothing but thin clay'.
For this exhibition, the artist states that, 'From the souvenir postcards on Hollywood Blvd(*1) . to the private parties of Brentwood stars, [I've] created a pastiche(*2) of Hollywood glitz, glamour and dare, with an infusion of the sincere California high culture, all framed with the luscious southern California flora and fauna'. Combined with the form of the pots and the composition of the motifs, these elements – their boldness and vivid colours – add extra flair to the works, giving full expression to the artist's intentions.
The title of the exhibition derives from the lyrics of the song, California Dreamin', which was released by the American folk rock group, The Mamas and the Papas, in 1965. Rochlin, who loves and is loved by California, chose this title with the wish that even in faraway Japan, people would dream of California. Each of her pots is a window onto her infinite imagination and we invite you to enter her world through viewing this exhibition.
*1 The center of Hollywoodʼs tourist attractions and the location of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Shopping malls and gift shops line this street.
*2 An imitation of an existing work. If the imitation expresses respect or admiration toward the original work, it may also be called an homage.
Press release courtesy of MAKI