Introducing our exquisite find the Jonathan F. Kugel Gallery with it's Cabinet de Curiosité Contemporain in Brussels. There we saw the group exhibition Cabinet de Céramique Contemporain, a selection of recent works by Carolein Smit, James B. Webster and Vivian Van Blerk.
On our path we came across the spectacular exhibition called Cabinet de Céramique Contemporain in an old flemish house where the Jonathan F.Kugel Antiques and Contemporary art gallery resides.
We were welcomed by the owner Jonathan F. Kugel. He was very friendly and reminded me of a dashing protagonist from a French movie I had seen many years before.
He took the time and gave us a private tour of the exhibition, explaining in detail to us who the artists were and the stories behind the mesmerising work before us. Thank you for that, we truly appreciated it.
The Jonathan F. Kugel Gallery presents the group exhibition Cabinet de Céramique Contemporain, a selection of recent works by Carolein Smit, James B. Webster and Vivian Van Blerk.
The resulting works embody visions, translate stories and lead to personal universes where mastery of the material is essential to the expression of their imagination.
These alchemists transform the earth into moving works.
A virtuoso of ceramics, which she has been practicing since the 1980s, and particularly gifted in her work with enamel.
Smit enjoys an international reputation, respected for her technique and her recognizable universe.
Inspired by mythology, folk tales and other tales.
Carolein Smit's works transcend the very idea of beauty and contradict commonly held beliefs about what makes something attractive.
Her fascination with contrasts: the ugly but adorable, or the frightening but fragile, reminds her of the vulnerability and impermanence of life, and the inevitability of death.
As a true virtuoso of enamelled ceramics, Carolein Smit dwells meticulously on the details, which also brings a very sensory aspect to these pieces.
In 2018, the Victoria & Albert Museum of London dedicated the exhibition “Myth and Mortality: the fairy-tale world of Carolein Smit” to her and included her in their permanent collection.
VIVIAN VAN BLERK
Vivian van Blerk, first a photographer, is frustrated with the literal representation of reality.
He then began creating sets and staging, then cutting and transforming his pictures, which he sometimes prints on different supports, in order to translate an unbridled imagination.
In 2017, van Blerk ventured into ceramics with his series of Interior Kingdoms stoneware and porcelain skulls.
It evokes memories and dreamlike stories that imbue our imagination with unexpected images.
Vivian's favorite theme: regeneration.
These sculptures crystallize the narrative of a universe where children and animals coming together to rebuild a society on a planet returned to a wild state.
For this exhibition, Vivian van Blerk unveils the installation Ghosts of Futures Past, conceived as a model and composed of several ceramic pieces.
Faithful to this system of representation, Vivian van Blerk once again explores the idea of an inner world, where architectural elements, fauna and flora but also collective imagination come together.
James B. Webster received training in classical sculpture in Florence, as an apprentice to Marianne Luchetti.
The desire to delve even further into the observation of anatomy and nature prompted James Webster to return to live in his native countryside of Suffolk, where he spent long months isolated in his studio, studying his subjects and s striving not only to master the different techniques of ceramics but also to push the limits of his art.
Through his work James captures human passions and emotions such as pleasure, pain, faith and questions their relationship to time by building bridges between symbols of ancient art and the contemporary world.
After his Martyrs series, James Webster continues to draw inspiration from mythology for his new Black/White series, where he retains
the combination of porcelain and concrete.
Mythological figures celebrated in portraits, bare, sober where grace seems to have struck once again.
Text on the artists translated into English from the French Press text @Jonathan Kugel, Cabinet de Curiosities Contemporain 2022.