A lot of galleries have a tendency to lean towards paintings in their exhibits. Don’t get me wrong, I love paintings(really) and wish I could adopt them all, but I feel like they could share some of that time in the spotlight with other kinds of art. Sculptures in particular tend to be underrepresented. That’s one of the reasons I was drawn to Plinth Gallery in RiNo. Located at 3250 Brighton Blvd, they give some well-deserved attention to sculptors, specializing in contemporary ceramic works.
If the word ceramics brings back memories of high school and hours spent making ashtrays and lopsided pots with lids that almost fit if you turned them just the right way, you’re not alone. I invite you to repress those memories however, and treat yourself to an afternoon at Plinth. They have a huge selection of sculptures from dozens of artists. Forget the whole ashtray idea, it’s repressed now anyway, remember? These artists push the boundaries of clay as a medium with their intricate designs and attention of detail. The results are incredible.
Plinth features rotating exhibits from regional and international artists on a bi-monthly basis. Now showing is a series from Shamai Sam Gibsh called Shadows In Smoke.
Gibsh is an Israeli artist with degrees from both Cal Poly/Pomona and Tel Aviv University. He’s a master of all types of ceramics. He creates sculptures, vases, tile compilations, he even had one exhibit involving dozens of masks arranged in the shape of a giant eye. With a penchant for history, he practices methods dating back to the Romans. He frequently experiments with different clay combinations, pigments, and firing conditions resulting in different colors and textures. Gibsh is internationally recognized and his work has been featured in collections across Europe, Asia, and the U.S. His
latest series is done using ancient techniques that predate modern glazes. When working with ceramics, artists today use glaze to help seal the piece when firing. It also adds color to the finished product. Gibsh likes to do things the old-fashioned way though. Using a method called Terra Sigillatta, he applies a thin layer of soil to the outside of the pieces before firing. He then fires them with things like pine needles, sawdust, seaweed, or other dried plants. The smoke from the plant matter gives each piece a unique pattern and color combination.
This is a rare opportunity to see Gibsh’s work in Denver. He’s beyond talented and takes tremendous efforts to preserve traditions and techniques passed on for centuries. Shadows In Smoke will be showing through September 29th. Plinth Gallery is free to the public and open Thursdays thru Saturdays, 12-5. For more details visit their website at plinthgallery.com.