2014, porcelaine and music wire, 57 by 24 by 7 in
ModernDallas.net repost of my article.
Du Chau’s exhibition has been extended into the second week of November at Liliana Bloch Gallery. An epic installation such as Chau deserves more time on the walls and floor. I thought I was getting the last glimpse this weekend, but I think I will have to visit one more time in November to experience these engrossing art pieces.
Du Chau uses two main materials, ceramic and wire. Both pulled from the ground and traditionally reshaped into functional objects. Chau uses these materials to tell a personal story about his childhood and journey through life.I didn’t initially see a history, instead I was attracted by his formal elements of repetition and a beautiful unity to each work. I felt like touching each piece, but I resisted the urge. Something about ceramic just invites you to feel its surface. The wires on each piece encouraged you to fan the art in order to see the ceramic parts wave back and forth. I enjoyed how the shadows played off the walls.
A story started to become apparent when I ran across a group of hands. Then I noticed the row of blocks with red flower shapes which appeared to be books, the the very large work with long ceramic fingers dripping down looked like a tree, and one of the works looked like little men strung like beads. Chau hints at history, but I can see how our own narrative can creep into the work. The tree like piece references a weeping willow and I was instantly taken back to my aunt’s apple farm in Michigan. She had next to her greenhouse when my brother and I use to explore and play hide and seek. If an artwork can pull a memory from your own past while still retaining its’ intent, then I would have to say the art piece was fairly successful. What makes Chau’s willow reach an even higher level of success is that it also transcends story and you can enjoy the piece as just a purely abstract form. I found myself breathing deeply and clearing my mind before another piece would invoke another memory. A strange cycle of rest and memory overcame me at the show.
Sublime is a term batted around when describing art like Du Chau. It is easy to see this work elevating your senses to a more spiritual plane of existence. Or at least to a higher degree than just surface information. I felt moved by the works and I thought Chau’s art spoke to me on several levels. This is the kind of show you have to experience to get the feelings I can’t seem to fully express in words.
Du Chau teaches at Brookhaven College where apparently quite a few talented ceramic artists are teaching. Lisa Ehrich, who is currently showing at Mod Gallery, is the department chair at the college. Like Chau, Susan Feller Mollet adjuncts and creates some fun whimsical art pieces. I have to poke my nose around the college again to see these artists working with their students.