Sculpting Humanity in the Animal Kingdom

NEW YORK—A new collection of life-like sylvan creatures is on exhibit at Claire Oliver Gallery. Sculpted by Beth Cavener Stichter and finished with amazingly detailed, painterly surfaces, they appear to be plucked from a fairy tale. A few key details, however, betray a more primal narrative.

Here is how Cavener Stichter describes her work on her website: “The sculptures I create focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms. On the surface, these figures are simply feral and domestic individuals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface they embody the impacts of aggression, territorial desires, isolation, and pack mentality.”

“Come Undone,” an exhibit of ceramic sculptures by Beth Cavener Stichter is on view from Sept. 13 to Oct. 20, 2012.

All photos © Arts Observer

At Claire Oliver, the exhibit “Come Undone” includes all new works by Beth Cavener Stichter.

The gallery describes Cavener Stichter’s ceramic process thus: “She begins with a solid block of terra cotta, taking care to create her signature “painterly” sweeping strokes in the clay. Cavener Stichter then cuts the work into small, manageable sections, severing the limbs and torso at the joints to re-work and re-articulate the musculature, skin, and fur. The next step is to painstakingly hollow out each section until it is very thin and thus fires to an extreme strength. After the kiln, she re-assembles the pieces and paints the finished work.”

In foreground, “In Bocca al Lupo (detail)” (stoneware based mixed media sculpture).

Detail of “L’Amante” (stoneware).

Detail of “L’Amante” (stoneware).

Detail of “The Question that Devours” (stoneware).

Detail of “The White Hind (The Bride)” (stoneware based mixed media sculpture).

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