We will present a selection of free standing and wall mounted ceramic sculptures by Christopher Russell that were created for a recent solo show at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia, Missouri. In Russell’s large-scale ceramic wall plaques, he has addressed his ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) by creating representations of these reptiles imposed on a variety of background patterns derived from Moorish architectural influences. His “Arrangement” works are seductive floral bouquets that are both finely detailed, yet large in scale. This will be Russell’s fourth show at the gallery, having previously shown in one and two person installations, following his Wave Hill premier in 2008.
Canadian artist Zachari Logan (b. 1980) lives and works in Regina, Canada, and recently completed two residencies in New York at Wave Hill Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, and the ISCP Studio Program in Brooklyn. Logan’s drawings on mylar combine incredibly intricate depictions of flora, with wildlife and the artist’s own body parts. These playful and sometimes menacing inventions recall the “grotesqueries” of Roman painting as well as medieval manuscripts illuminations. Logan also creates epic scale pastels on black backgrounds, some of which use floral motifs to create self portraits, calling to mind the baroque portrait heads of Arciboldo, or as Logan describes it; “rewilds his body as a queer embodiment of nature.”
A lexicon of nature forms can be discovered in each of these artists’ works; Russell depicts snail covered busts, lilies, sunflowers, roses, daffodils and snakes. In Logan’s blue graphite drawings in addition to his own hands, feet, penis and profile we find butterflies, moths, birds, wildflowers of every description, mice, flies and a finger transformed to a salamander! Together, these exquisitely crafted, nature-based works, go far beyond representation to explore metaphor and metaphysics.
Russell completed a commission for the New York MTA in 2013 entitled “Bees for Sunset Park”, a monumental pair of bronze fence and gates for the Sunset Park subway station. The Daum Museum recently acquired his monumental ceramic sculpture “Tooth and Claw”. Logan has exhibited internationally, and his work is held in many Canadian public collections, as well as the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York where he showed in summer 2015.