John Grade


September 3 - October 2, 2010

Davidson Galleries presents Circuit, Seattle artist John Grade’s newest multi-venue sculpture. This version is the second of three iterations. Here Grade’s work overtly engages its surrounding architectural environment. Later, when presented outdoors in its final form, during a year’s stay on the side of a mountain; weather patterns will affect the work, and the exposed surfaces will evolve, disintegrate and morph into something new.

Creation of Circuit’s ceramic surface membrane was underwritten by grants which allowed Grade to work closely with Wally Bivins and the the studio potters at Pottery Northwest. Multiple wooden skeletons were covered with plates forming the ceramic skin of a series of larger than life, curvilinear vessels. Alternating exterior and interior views of each vessel module, encourages viewers to experience the whole work from the exterior first, and then from within the sculpture’s interior. The artist selected the glazed ceramic skin (more than two tons of clay, fired tile by tile, backed with gypsum polymer laminated to corn based resin and marine netting) for its organic properties and textural capacities. All of the materials are intended to decompose without negatively affecting the environment.

In Grade’s words, “This project continues my investigation into how sculpture can reflect perceptions about landscape and expand these ideas through change and displacement. Because Circuit will be spread over three sites, a complex portrait of this landscape will be captured and a mixture of subtlety and dramatic change should result. The project will be a success when there is evidence of a compelling balance between what I have anticipated and chance events that affect the work in unexpected ways.”

This major installation is accompanied by several smaller individual sculptures that were conceived almost as three dimensional drawings conceptually connected to future large scale projects.

Grade received his BFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. This is his eighth solo exhibition at Davidson Galleries. The artist has had two solo museum exhibitions, in 2004 at the Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID and in 2008 at the Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA. Grade has received numerous award, and artist residencies. Many of the drawings in this exhibition were begun earlier this 2009 during a residency at the Macdowell Colony in New Hampshire and during site visits to Utah, Nevada and locations in England. In May 2010, the artist received the prestigious Willard L. Metcalf Award in Art from The American Academy of Arts & Letters, N.Y.

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