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Kathy Butterly, Ling Chun, Future Retrieval, Valerie Hegarty, Cody Hoyt, Heidi Lau, Rebecca Morgan, Joakim Ojanen, Elise Siegel, Anthony Sonnenberg, Guðmundur Thoroddsen, Cristina Tufiño

June 22 - August 11, 2017

Maijolica Portrait Bust with Gray Face and Blue Lips
Elise Siegel, Portrait Bust with Amber Shirt and Faceted Base, 2017
Heidi Lau, The Cloud 3, 2014
Clock (We've Lost a Lot of Years)
Low Oblique
Solid Stand
Kathy Butterly, Hottening, 2017
Cody Hoyt, Tall Oblique Variation Vessel, 2017
Anthony Sonnenberg, Candelabra (Golden Bear & Golden Elephant), 2016
Dream Jug
Cristina Tufiño, Pinche, 2017
Two Pronged Candelabra (Dark and Stormy)
Bebe Fantasma de Pablo
Guðmundur Thoroddsen, The Great White, 2016
Rebecca Morgan, Crunchy Copper Jug, 2017
Joakim Ojanen, Small Brain Drop, 2017
My Red Round Friend
Shy Nose
Valerie Hegarty, Watermelon Rind with Teeth 2, 2016
Space Succulent, Blue Crater
Future Retrieval, Space Succulent, White, 2016
The Gate and Its Keeper
Ling Chun, Plop, 2016
Valerie Hegarty, Clipper Ship Shell, 2016
Valerie Hegarty, Warp Scape 2, 2016
Valerie Hegarty, Broken Painting (Flowers), 2017
Two Pronged Candelabra (Matte Lavender)
Rebecca Morgan, Heather Jug, 2017
Elise Siegel, Majolica and Copper Portrait Bust with Twinkling Eyes, 2014
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery. Busts are on pedestals
Two busts on separate pedestals
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are many sculptures on a table in the gallery
An installation view of the group exhibition "Morph". There are sculptures on a table and on the wall in the gallery

Press Release

Asya Geisberg Gallery is proud to present "Morph", a group exhibition of contemporary ceramic sculpture. Artists include: Kathy Butterly, Ling Chun, Future Retrieval, Valerie Hegarty, Cody Hoyt, Heidi Lau, Rebecca Morgan, Joakim Ojanen, Elise Siegel, Anthony Sonnenberg, Guðmundur Thoroddsen, and Cristina Tufiño.

"Morph" is a snapshot of a resurgence of ceramic sculpture, and a re-contextualization borne of increasing celebration of clay's malleability and many cultural reference points. Intentionally imperfect forms, unpolished surfaces, and allusions to figuration and traditional ceramic styles are all trademarks of the included artists. Elements of Art Brut hide within even sophisticated presentations. Each artist works in multiple media, signaling that ceramic is no one's red-headed step-sister. The artists in "Morph" paint expressionistically with glaze, weave in hair, inlay surfaces, squash perfect forms, recombine tchotchkes, and subvert genres heedless of strict boundaries. Like the namesake British TV character, a staple of 1970's children's television and claymation icon, the artists in "Morph" twist this famously moldable material into conceptual and visual pretzels - much to our delight.


Kathy Butterly brings a painterly sensibility to her idiosyncratic ceramic sculptures. To realize her witty, quirky and inventive fired forms, she applies a range of sophisticated glazes and delicate textures. For Butterly the kiln is a crucible of possibilities. With each firing, a playful intuitive sensory dialogue ensues. Over decades she has mastered teasing out highly associative meaning with each additional glazing. Her aesthetic synthesizes Asian ceramics and California Funk. Butterly's vessels bend and sag into delicate yet strong forms, upending their functional origins in a singular transformation.

Butterly was born in Amityville, NY, and lives and works in New York City. She received her BFA at Moore College of Art before earning an MFA at University of California, Davis where she studied and was a studio assistant to Robert Arneson. She has exhibited across the United States and many of her works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Detroit Institute of Arts, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the de Young Museum of San Francisco. In addition Kathy Butterly has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants such as a Guggenheim Fellowship Award, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a Smithsonian American Art Museum's Contemporary Artist Award, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and inclusion in a Carnegie International. Butterly is represented by Tibor de Nagy Gallery.

Ling Chun describes her ceramic forms as "playgrounds for glaze", and challenges the rules and roles of ceramics by disassociating the material from its stereotypical or culturally accepted uses. Removing still-hot pieces from the kiln, Chun applies liquid glazes to the surface creating a sizzling sound and a haze of steam until the glaze sticks. Hers is an intuitive process - over multiple firings and layers of glazes, her work is born of the spontaneous dripping, sliding, running, climbing and crawling that occurs. Finally, Chun adds bright-colored hair to her finished pieces, which she sees as an extension of the glaze and signifies a progression in how the material is viewed. Chun focuses on the materials' physicality separating from their stereotype and cultural reference, by questioning their authentic use and redefining them in her language.

Chun was born in Hong Kong and lives and works in Helena, MT. She earned her BFA in Visual Communication Design and Ceramics from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received an MFA in Ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design. She has shown nationally and internationally including at the HONOS Gallery, Rome, Italy; The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Seattle, WA; and with Archie Bray at The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), Portland, OR. She has had residencies at Seward Park Clay Studio in Seattle, WA; Arquetopia in Puebla, Mexico; and c.r.e.t.a. rome, Italy. Chun is the founder of HIDDENFOODPROJECT, a public national art project, and is currently the Matsutani Fellow Artist in Resident at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. 

Future Retrieval is the studio collaboration of Guy Michael Davis and Katie Parker. They utilize three-dimensional scanning and digital manufacturing of found forms that are molded and constructed in porcelain, mimicking the history of decorative arts and design. Their process addresses the conceptualization, discovery, and acquisition of form, to make content-loaded sculptures that reference design and are held together by craft. With an interdisciplinary approach, they strive to make influential historic objects relevant to today. The works in "Morph" were made in Jingdezhen, China while working at an artist residency. The original form was hand carved from a block of plaster, digitally scanned, altered and stretched. The form was 3-dimensionally printed, taken to Jingdezhen and cast in porcelain. 

Guy Michael Davis and Katie Parker received their BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and went on to earn MFAs from The Ohio State University. Katie Parker is an Assistant Professor of Art and Guy Michael Davis is an Annualized Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Cincinnati. Recent exhibitions include the Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA; Art Me Today Gallery, St. Petersburg, Russia; and Mufei Gallery, Jingdezhen, China. Their work is held in collections such as Arizona State University Ceramics Research Center; Cincinnati Art Museum; 21C Museum/Hotel, Durham, NC; Society of Dresden Porcelain Art,Germany; and The Pottery Workshop, Jingdezhen, China. Awards and residencies include the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Residency. Future Retrieval is represented by Denny Gallery.

Throughout her career, Valerie Hegarty has explored fundamental themes of American history and particularly the legacy of 19th-century American art, addressing topics such as colonization, slavery, Manifest Destiny, historical revisionism, nationalism and environmental degradation in her work. Elaborating upon visual references to the art-historical canon of North America, Hegarty repurposes the ideological tenets of such works into a critical examination of the American legacy-artistic and otherwise. Cloaked within allusions to American classicism, Hegarty's work consistently interrogates the darker ramifications of the American Experiment, ranging from the environmental impact of expansionism to the conflicted and repressed dimensions of collective memory.

Hegarty lives and works in Brooklyn. She received an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BFA from San Francisco's Academy of Art College and a BA from Middlebury College, VT. Solo exhibitions include Nicelle Beauchene, NY; Marlborough Gallery Chelsea, NY; Locust Projects, Miami; Museum 52, London; The MCA in Chicago; Guild & Greyshkul, NY; and The Brooklyn Museum. Selected group exhibitions in NY include Artists Space, The Drawing Center, D'Amelio Terras Gallery, Derek Eller, White Columns and MoMA PS1. Hegarty has been awarded numerous grants such as the Pollock Krasner Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, the Tiffany Foundation, and Campari NY. Residencies include LMCC, Marie Walsh Sharpe, PS 122, MacDowell, Yaddo and Smack Mellon. Hegarty is represented by Burning in Water Gallery.

Driven by an intuitive sensibility and a process-based approach, Cody Hoyt makes his ceramic vessels angular, faceted objects from intricately patterned clay slabs that strike a balance between Brutalist architecture and natural elements like stones and minerals. Originally, Hoyt was drawn to a multidisciplinary form of printmaking. The structural aspect of printmaking, which combines disparate colors, transparencies, and techniques, fueled Hoyt's transition to sculptural work, along with drawings, which he creates constantly. He describes the move to ceramics as a natural evolution and a byproduct of formal challenges that he began to encounter while working in 2D.

Hoyt lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA and studied with the Akademie Voor Beeldende Kunst in Enschede, NL. Solo exhibitions include Patrick Parrish Gallery, NY; Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, IL; and Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY. His group exhibitions include DCKT Contemporary, New York, NY; Nudashank Gallery, Baltimore, MD; Show and Tell Gallery, Toronto, Canada; and Design Museum Helsinki, Finland. His work has been reviewed by Brooklyn Magazine, American Craft Magazine, New York Magazine, and Modern Painters. In 2015 Hoyt was named one of Architectural Digest Italy's "Designers Under 40".  Hoyt is represented by Patrick Parrish.

Heidi Lau's sculptures suggest fragile growth formations and biomorphic towers. Often referencing Taoist creation myths and reincarnation stories, her sculptures are enhanced with the supernatural enchantment of the half-destroyed.  Lau's ceramics embody tales of disintegration, chimerical and sensual in the act of transforming. A sense of rebirth and survival are hopeful aspects of her work. Lau grew up around ruins, as during most of her childhood in Macau was during a time prior to the handover to the People's Republic of China. Lau describes how Macau, as a colony, was "hidden, in disarray, and falling apart," and she was "drawn to things that were left behind." She describes a tragic feeling as well as the intrigue of exploring abandoned houses that gave shelter to wild animals, dense with plant growth taking over.

Lau lives and works in New York. She received her BFA from New York University. Her ceramics and works on paper have been exhibited nationally and internationally including the Macao Museum of Art, Macao, China; Wave Hill, Riverdale, NY; Boston Center for the Arts, MA; Tiger Strikes Asteroid New York, NY; Kniznick Gallery at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; and Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ. Lau has been the recipient of numerous residencies and awards, including Bronx Museum Artist In the Marketplace Program, Emerging Artist Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park, Center for Book Arts Workspace Residency, Martin Wong Foundation Scholarship, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the LMCC Process Space Program. 

Rebecca Morgan is from central Pennsylvania, and her paintings, drawings, and ceramics emanate from stereotypes of rural Appalachia. Humorous, benevolent, and savage at turns, her characters touch on truths about poverty, addiction, and off-the-grid living, as well as idealizations of uncultured country life. Morgan's face jugs revive a craft tradition common in the American South and Appalachia of vessels used by slaves to ward off the devil and later for scaring children away from moonshine. Many jugs are glazed using the Raku process, in which the ceramic is taken from the kiln while very hot and quickly cooled in liquid, resulting in a beautiful variegated iridescence. Individual portraiture is replaced by the jug's typecasting, and the contemporary is subsumed in the folkloric.

Morgan received a BA from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and her MFA from Pratt Institute, NY. Press for her work includes Time Out New York, ARTnews, Whitehot Magazine, Beautiful Decay, Artslant, Juxtapoz Magazine, The Huffington Post, and Berlin's Lodown Magazine, among others. She is the recipient of a residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, The Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts Residency, a Vermont Studio Center full fellowship, and the George Rickey Residency at Yaddo. Exhibitions include The Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada, Invisible Exports, NY, Elga Wimmer Gallery, NY, Arts KC, MO, Booth Gallery, NY, Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, and Spring/Break, New York, NY, among others.

Joakim Ojanen's paintings and ceramic sculptures maintain a sense of humor as they manage to hit an intense spot in the human psyche: the desire to belong. Each of Ojanen's works tells a story about finding one's way in the world and reminds us it's okay to be ourselves. Ojanen entered into the arts through graffiti, then learned how to use animation programs and began to make short movies and music videos. He also pursued drawing, published fanzines and organized art shows. After a couple of years, he decided illustration wasn't for him. Ojanen signed up for a ceramics open studio session outside of school. It was during these sessions that he started to make sculptures from his drawings. Ojanen's iconography is reminiscent of a comic book language, and his artwork hints at the works of Philip Guston, Keith Haring and at times the Surrealist paintings of Salvador Dali.

Ojanen received his BA and MFA from Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Sweden, where he lives and works. Solo and two-person exhibitions include Galerie Lefevbre and Fils, Paris, France; Richard Heller Gallery, CA; Bries Space, Antwerp, Belgium, Torshälla Eskilstuna, Sweden;  and Superclub Gallery, Edinburgh, UK. His work has been collected by Coleccion Solo, Madrid, Spain; Västerås Art Museum, Västerås, Sweden; Frans Masereel Centrum, Belgium; and The Ryerson & Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Ojanen is represented by Richard Heller Gallery. 

Elise Siegel's series of highly expressive ceramic portrait busts vary stylistically as well as in scale, surface and glaze. Drawn from figurative sculptures that had some other cultural function, either in ritual or in daily life, they are influenced by the abstracted features and exaggerated forms of the Jomon dogu figures of Neolithic Japan, the hollow window eyes of terracotta Haniwah funeral figures from the third to sixth century A.D, Renaissance reliquary busts, and African masks, among others. While squarely within the European tradition, Siegel's figures are not meant as commemorations of great power or beauty, but are fictional portraits meant to evoke a timeless emotion.

Siegel lives and works in New York. She earned her BFA from Emily Carr College of Art, Vancouver, British Columbia. Siegel has exhibited nationally and internationally including solo and two-person exhibitions with Dubhe Carreno Gallery, Chicago, IL; Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, NY; and The Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS. Selected group exhibitions include Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, WI; Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX; The Third World Ceramic Biennale, Icheon, Korea; and MC Gallery, New York, NY. Siegel has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Virginia A. Groot Foundation Award, Anonymous Was A Woman Award, and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, among others. Her work has been reviewed by Art in America, Clay in Art International, and The Village Voice.

Anthony Sonnenberg works in multiple arenas to critique the cycle of denial and decadence through the body, the timeless veracity of Greek myth, and excessively ornate Baroque and Rococo aesthetics. Using decadence as a by-product of our attempt to cope with the fear of uncertainty, he builds screens of over-abundance and hides behind fantasies to try and forget a seemingly cruel and unavoidable fate. Crowns and candlesticks -- things made in the moments just before a crash -- are the protagonists of his work. From opulent interiors and aggrandizing portraits in the mansions of the ruling class, to a banal self-indulgence, his work suggests an escape into the comfort of vice when overwhelmed with the anxiety of facing the irrational world.

Sonnenberg lives and works in Houston, TX. He received his BA from the University of Texas, Austin before earning an MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle. He has shown his work widely including solo exhibitions with Art Palace Gallery, Houston, TX; CMA Gallery, Seattle, WA; and the Lawndale Art Center, Houston, TX. He has been an artist in residence with the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX; Sculpture Space, Utica, NY; Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Helena, MT; and Ox-Bow School, Saugatuck, MI. His work has been included in The Houston Press, Vignettes, and City Arts Online.

Guðmundur Thoroddsen is from Reykjavik, Iceland, where he currently lives and works. His sly trophy-based ceramics undermine concepts of masculinity, achievement, and the characteristically "macho" need for constant competition. Thoroddsen's clunky messy forms and muted glazes undermine glossy gold of trophies and perfect forms of urns and traditional ceramic. Crudely formed ceramic statuettes are titled as trophies awarded for futile victories, pointing to a farcical and pointless pursuit. Some have names like "Double Naughty Boy" or "Trophy for Longest Pee", while others spout appendages suggesting phalluses or ungainly excrement. With colors in a feminized pastel or Victorian-era tastefulness, the ceramic vessels seem confused about their role, just as the male characters in all of Thoroddsen's oeuvre.

After studies in Iceland, Holland, Berlin, and Granada, Thoroddsen completed his MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has been included in many solo exhibitions in Iceland, including at Tysgalleri in Reykjavik and the ASI Art Museum in Reykjavik. Group exhibitions include the Akureyi Art Museum,  Iceland, Quartair, The Hague, Ausstellungsraum, Basel, Reykjavik Art Museum, DODGE Gallery, NY, Kling and Bang Gallery, Reykjavik, and Danziger Gallery, Berlin. His work has been reviewed in Time Out New York, The Brooklyn Rail, Artforum and Hyperallergic. A recipient of a Fountainhead Residency in Miami, FL in 2012, and artist grants from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Iceland, his work appears in the publication "Icelandic Art History from late 19th Century to Early 21st Century", as well as the 2015 Twin Magazine article "21st Century Ceramics".

Inspired by consumer goods, industrial debris and autobiographical narratives and objects, Cristina Tufiño addresses her practice as an archaeologist hoarder rummaging through a broad cultural system of references, with a particular nod to artifacts and museological aesthetics. Her multimedia works arise from a process of assembling, associating and translating images and ideas inspired by seemingly oppositional languages and spaces. Tufiño's photographic compositions, prints, videos, installations and sculptures, give a new meaning to post-studio practices and the use of social debris in our time.  

Tufiño was born in Capetillo, Puerto Rico and lives and works in New York. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, including solo and two-person exhibitions with Galeria Agustina Ferreyra, San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Red Eye Gallery, Providence, RI. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions with Museo de Arte de Caguas, Caguas, Puerto Rico; ViennaContemporary, Austria; and ICA Philadelphia, PA. Her work has been reviewed in publications such as Hyperallergic, The New York Times, and Artnet. In 2015 Tufiño was named as one of the "Artists to Watch" by Modern Painters. Tufiño is represented by Galeria Agustina Ferreyra.