Lucy Lacoste Gallery announces online exhibition 'Lily Fein and Josephine Burr: Articulating Space'
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Lucy Lacoste Gallery announces online exhibition 'Lily Fein and Josephine Burr: Articulating Space'
Installation view.

CONCORD, MASS.- Lucy Lacoste Gallery is presenting Lily Fein and Josephine Burr: Articulating Space, showing July 10th through August 7th at 25 Main Street, Concord, MA. In this poetic show, two women ceramic artists with ties to Massachusetts challenge the boundaries of traditional ceramics and contemporary sculpture.

The show is a visual treat with both artists using the age-old technique of coiling and pinching to create their forms yet producing very different work. Their work is contemporary—taking unusual shapes, embracing light in new ways, and shifting the expected boundaries of artist, object, viewer, and artistic convention. Lily Fein, working intuitively, makes soft, undulating forms suggesting or relating to the human body. Fein’s hand is manifestly present yet subsumed by the liveliness of her pieces. Josephine Burr gives us objectivity, tempered by the hand. Beneath the stillness and bare weight of Burr’s practice, a certain temporality and openness appear over time. Serendipitously, both artists’ work shares a similar warm white background.

Fein’s Venus Series of sculpture alludes to the female form, with a primal and elemental sensibility. She shows her ‘guts’ with Half Venus, the torso of the contemporary woman-- a woman who unabashedly flaunts her many colors. Originally an esoteric functional potter, Fein is now a sculptor making increasingly larger work, not afraid to push the envelope with content.

Burr’s Still Life Sculptures with Clay Drawings are magical and tantalizing. Her open ended large “Volumes”, play on the closed form, bringing us back to an early industrial time when human touch was so much a part what was done.

The two artists have long connections with Lucy Lacoste Gallery. Josephine Burr began showing with LLG in 2003 and has been presented in numerous art fairs over the years. Lily Fein, introduced in 2018 is now represented by LLG and had her first solo, In Response to George E. Ohr in 2020.

Lily Fein

While her pieces often evoke bodily forms, she sometimes challenges this metaphor “so that the distinctions between the interior or exterior of the vessel invert, touch, or disappear,” she says.

“I encourage the objects to morph and change as I create them, developing a language of improvisation that gives form to a stream-of-consciousness approach to making. I am interested in how a clay form can capture, imply or perpetuate movement… defying the nature of the role we’re taught [that] objects occupy in our world.”

A 2016 graduate of Syracuse University, Fein has won numerous awards; held residencies in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New York, and Japan; and exhibited in Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Montana, and Washington State. Born in Newton, MA, Fein currently resides in New Orleans.

Josephine Burr

Burr, a professor of ceramics at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, raises questions of interiority and objecthood (or: duration/temporality), according to Lucy Lacoste, the gallery owner. “Some of her pieces are unusually large for ceramics—and she sometimes punches holes in the clay to allow light—and her own energy—to shine through.”

Burr explains that the “language” of clay is “mute and absorbent… a holder of time and of the unnoticed, of the underpinnings of consciousness and of daily life.” In her work, she probes at this “unnoticed space, coaxing the temporary and fleeting quality of experience into visible, tactile form.”

Her sculptures “echo familiar objects but confound their meaning—pinched to hold passing time, shifting light, the fragile uncertainty of being,” she says. “Boundaries are intentionally blurred: between interior and exterior space; between pot and sculpture; between object and drawing.

“While clay as a material speaks of the familiar, the concrete and the immutable,” she says, “it also carries a sense of transition, fragility and porousness.” For Burr, “making becomes an act of tactile listening, attending fully to that fragile terrain at the edge of perception… Balance and trust are essential to this process. It is my hope that the work invites the viewer to recognize and rest in that space.”

Burr’s latest approach embraces and interrogates the boundaries of both two- and three-dimensional work. In her ‘still life’ An alphabet of makeshift days, #2 (winter light)—three small sculptural vessels rest on a shelf, a clay ring set against the wall, behind—Burr invites the viewer to consider the continuity and difference between her own work and the art historical lexicon.

Professor Burr, who lives in Hyde Park, MA, has held residencies and/or exhibited in Massachusetts, Maine, Houston, Philadelphia, New York, Texas, Vermont and Iceland. She is a 2021 nominee for the Boston Foundation’s Brother Thomas Fellowship.

Lacoste is “delighted to share the work of two insightful artists who are making important contributions to the increasingly synergistic worlds of ceramics and sculpture,” she says.

Articulating Space will be open through August 7, 2021.

Articulating Space will transition to an online exhibition on Saturday, July 17th to accommodate gallery renovations.

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