Salon 94

Blog

Pancake Painting with Matthias Merkel Hess

There are few things in life better than a good pancake, but if that pancake portrays a scenic landscape in full color and is followed by hors d’oeuvres and whiskey cocktails, things just got better. This is exactly what’s happening at Marine Projects this coming Saturday, Aug. 2, as they host the first-ever MerkelWare Party, debuting the new pancake set made by local potter Matt Merkel-Hess. 

While Merkel-Hess is an artist, he’s also a father. It was while making breakfast for his kids – and getting creative with the process – that he came up with pancake painting. He starts with jars of batter, adds different food coloring to each one, and then uses these colors to “paint” the batter onto the hotplate. 

Of course, as he's an artist, it’s not just rainbows and smiley faces, although his Instagram account does have evidence of both of these basic artistic tropes. His take on the former has it sporting a rainbow “tumor,” and his execution of the latter is an artists’ self-portrait that his son eats for breakfast.

Tagging his alimentary art #pancakemorning, Merkel-Hess caught the eye of local gallerist Claressinka Anderson of Marine Projects. She responded  to his contribution to the meal meme and thought it the perfect way to do site-specific art in the spirit of his work, which includes sculptural works that represent kitchen items — blenders, KitchenAid mixers, milk cartons, coffee makers and even take-away chicken containers. 

Merkel-Hess also has a line of functional lead-free, dishwasher safe ceramics under his MerkelWare banner, the name a play on Tupperware. Saturday’s MerkelWare Party is a nod to the Tupperware parties of the 1950s.

From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. this weekend, Merkel-Hess will demonstrate his colorful new edible pancake art — including both the abstract and landscape styles. Merkel-Hess’ influences for the “panscapes” – pancake landscapes – include such artists as Komar and Melamid, Albert Bierstadt and PBS’ Bob Ross. Think mountains and lakes – a welcome twist on the stacks of pancakes and pools of syrup that have been occupying breakfast plates for ages. 

Van Gogh’s influence, too, is apparent, in the texture the batter gives to the work. But for those who’d have trouble taking a bite out of such a vivid depiction, Merkel-Hess paints abstract pancakes as well, influenced by the colorful and geometric work of Kazimir Malevich, Josef Albers and Frank Stella. The point being, whatever your taste in art, there’s something tasty for you. (Although, eaters beware: With each cake a work of art, time constraints may not allow the artist to paint a pancake for everyone in attendance). 

During the party, Merkel-Hess and Marine Projects will be debuting new MerkelWare pieces inspired by his edible art and perfect for your own #pancakemorning. These cups, plates and bowls are an addition to Merkel-Hess’ whiskey jugs, which will be working overtime at the party on Saturday pouring whiskey cocktails for attendees. 

To read the article click here.

Roberta Smith Reviews “More Material” in the New York Times

​At Salon 94 Bowery, “More Material,” an exuberant, illuminating array of art, photography, jewelry, fashion, ceramics and whatnot, has been orchestrated by the lawyer turned fashion designer Duro Olowu. (He organized a smaller exhibition at the gallery in 2012.) With over 70 people represented, it shows how they erode the traditional boundaries between artistic disciplines simply by doing what they want with what is at hand. Crossover efforts by three painters include James Brown’s sea-shell-and-glass necklaces, Amy Bessone’s torso-shaped ceramic vases and Josh Blackwell’s wall pieces, which consist of embroidery on irregular mats made of layered plastic bags.

Freedom and the pervasiveness of creativity are Mr. Olowu’s big themes, as is the naturalness of mixing: whether it is the contrasting prints of the garments he designs, the variety of things in his London shop and his own collection, or installations like this. Here, he juxtaposes his own gorgeous, often ethereal evening capes with 25 examples from his collection of short tops called bubas, which are made of Ashoke textiles for Yoruban women of high status, and one of Nick Cave’s flamboyantly bejeweled soundsuits, which only the hardiest performer can wear.

Among the photographs are the work of a talented newcomer Sandy Kim, who records strange New York moments in saturated color; the Polaroid portrait studies by the painter Barkley L. Hendricks, and images by lesser-known African studio photographers like Dossa Z. Cosme and Mama Casset. Other unfamiliar names include Sylvie Franquet, who creates needlepoint homages to art and literature and also makes small malformed masks in glazed ceramic; Sarah de Teliga, who paints Cubist abstractions on crushed metal cans; and Cyrus Kabiru, whose handmade metal eyewear is best taken as strange, insectlike sculpture. There are wonderful ceramic vessels by Adam Silverman, Gareth Mason, Tommaso Corvi-Mora, Magdalene Odundo, Summer Wheat and Matthias Merkel Hess. His casts of a West African water kettle amount to very large (and heavy) teapots that might have been glazed by Marimekko.

Mr. Olowu has an omnivorous but exacting eye. Looking at his shows is both humbling and instructive, especially where color is concerned. It’s too bad he can’t be cloned. The curatorial profession sorely needs wide-open sensibilities like his.

To read the article click here.

Check Out “SITElines: Unsettled Landscapes” at Site Santa Fe Featuring Liz Cohen

​A new biennial exhibition series that explores contemporary art from Nunavut to Tierra del Fuego  

July 20, 2014 – January 11, 2015 

SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas is a six­-year commitment to a series of linked exhibitions with a focus on contemporary art and cultural production of the Americas. The exhibitions will take place in 2014, 2016, and 2018 and will be organized by a different team of curators, from locations throughout the Western Hemisphere. Through SITElines, SITE will establish a new programming hub called SITEcenter to generate connectivity between and during the exhibitions.

“With Unsettled Landscapes, we build connections from Santa Fe to the rest of the Americas, we explore untold stories and perspectives, and we link between our past and our present,” said Irene Hofmann, Phillips Director and Chief Curator of SITE Santa Fe. “First Native American land, then a Spanish Kingdom, a Mexican Province, and an American Territory, all before statehood, New Mexico is a rich microcosm of the Americas. We are proud of the selection of artists participating in Unsettled Landscapes. These artists represent multiple generations and regions throughout the Western Hemisphere. Our show includes important new and existing works, 13 new commissions and several off­site installations. In addition, we have also included key works of art from previous decades that further expand the ideas of the show. Our aim was to curate a dynamic exhibition that shows how themes of landscape, territory and trade weave throughout the work of artists from every corner of the Americas.”

SITElines signifies a radical rethinking of SITE Santa Fe’s signature biennial exhibition, originally established in 1995. It represents a collaborative structure for planning its biennials, a vision for continuity between biennials, a commitment to community and place, and a dedication to new and under­recognized perspectives. This new multi­dimensional approach—together with a strong geographic focus—redefines SITE’s role at the forefront of biennial exhibition making and proposes new curatorial frameworks for biennials globally.

Unsettled Landscapes will look at the urgencies, political conditions and historical narratives that inform the work of contemporary artists across the Americas – from Nunavut to Tierra del Fuego. Through three themes – landscape, territory, and trade – this exhibition expresses the interconnections among representations of the land, movement across the land, and economies and resources derived from the land. 

To visit the website, click here.

Page 1 of 60 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›