For her third exhibition at the gallery, Francis Upritchard presents a new series of clay pot sculptures that are the result of her residency at the Lux Art Institute this past winter in Encinitas, CA. Upritchard is an adept collaborator and these works are evidence of a natural chemistry between artist and place, in particular between her and the artisans working in the Lux ceramic studio.
Thrown on a pottery wheel, faces emerge from the otherwise smooth surfaces, augmented by painted marks, patterns and glazes. Her pots evoke a sense of artifacts or anthropological objects but resist those categorizations—challenging the viewer to look again, inviting a level of mystery and implying a level of understanding that avoids capture. Installed on a series of plinths that recall the kind of didactic presentation common in museums, Upritchard makes a nod to the tone of wonder often conveyed through the institutional presentation of objects.
Also, on view are a series of small-scale works on paper. These drawings are sketched in washy volumes of watercolor and depict vessels, figures, and fluorescent lizards. Painted in a loose freehand, they foreshadow many of the marks and patterns that emerge on the surfaces of her ceramics.