Exhibit | Keny Galleries: Picasso's pottery sometimes his canvas
By Peter Tonguette For The Columbus Dispatch
Sunday, Feb 19, 2017
In a new exhibit at Keny Galleries, viewers
will encounter an assortment of pitchers, plates and other containers.
Although it is not uncommon to find such objects in a gallery, these vessels
are far from ordinary. Each is distinguished by the inimitable mark of Pablo
The German Village
gallery's exhibit - one of the new year's most significant - presents a
selection of the brilliant ceramics that were the fruits of Picasso's
collaboration with Madoura Pottery in Vallauris, France (where the Spanish
artist resided from the late 1940s to the mid-'50s).
Judging by the pieces on display, Picasso was
intrigued by the possibilities offered by ceramics.
Faces are seen on
the contours of many vessels. On the hourglass-shaped pitcher "Visage avec des
Cercles," thick green streaks stand in for eyes and a nose; another pitcher,
the more evenly proportioned "Chope Visage," renders a female face in delicate
blue lines, including dabs to evoke a Cupid's bow on the lips.
Animals of all types are also prominent. For
example, "Chouette" is molded in the shape of a white-and-gray-flecked owl
with a spoutlike tail, while the plate "Tete de Chevre de Profil" depicts a
goat in profile; the animal's visible eye is adorned with boldly rendered
In fact, plates seem to have been substitute
canvases for Picasso. In "Picador," a horseback-riding figure tangos with a
bull; in "Service Visage Noir, D," a female face is outlined in white against
a black background - two patches of red suggest blushing or the presence of
An exhibit of Picasso's ceramics would be eye-popping on its own, but the
gallery supplements it with a striking survey of prints. Artists of Picasso's
epoch - including Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Fernand Leger (1881-1955) and
Joan Miro (1893-1983) - are also featured.
Calder's lithograph "Les Fleurs" is a
masterpiece in primary colors, featuring a branch bearing leaves in red,
yellow and blue. The work is free-associational, too: Some leaves resemble the
shape of the fleur-de-lis, so an actual fleur-de-lis is depicted on the right
side of the picture; other leaves are heart-shaped, so an actual heart is seen
near the top.
Miro's kinetic etching "Danseuse Creole"
depicts what is essentially a red stick figure with a yellow, egglike object
in the center of its head; swirling black lines drawn on top of the figure
indicate a dancer's movement (as referred to in the title).
More serene is Leger's lithograph "Les Deux
Visages," which offers a side-by-side portrait of two women - one facing the
viewer, the other in profile, and both wearing wry, knowing expressions.
Such works encapsulate the spirit of Picasso
and the other artists included here: ebullient, inventive and forever fascinating.