September 17 – November 2, 2022
Roll Up Project is pleased to present works on paper and sculptures by Maria Porges. Porges’ creative practice spans many media, including drawing, sculpture, and writing. She is also a professor at California College of the Arts.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Porges taught a ceramic history course via Zoom. Without the benefit of in-person field trips and studio visits, she expanded her slide lectures to cover a greater depth of worldwide history, from the Neolithic era to present day. This exploration of ceramics and their dazzling variety of shapes, colors, and textures led to a new body of work Porges refers to as Mashups.
Soon after the class ended, Porges created a series of India ink drawings that combine recognizable elements from various cultures. The long, delicate brushstrokes, as seen in Greco Sino, may be interpreted as hair, or as a visualization of latent energy emanating from the sculpture.
A few months later, she started rendering the Mashups in clay. These sculptures mark Porges’ return to ceramics after a hiatus of over 30 years. Viewers might recognize a Greek vessel shape here, or a Meso-American foot there, but it’s not necessary to know all of the historical sources. Rather, the Mashups are like favorite quotes pulled from a long lineage, creating new forms that bring them into a contemporary conversation. The sculptures also encourage the viewer to think about the impact of many unnamed creators across cultures and eras, and their contributions to our shared visual language. In Mashup # 22 in the Harrison Street window, for example, three arcing tubes connect a flask-shaped vessel to a vertical spout, calling to mind Moche bottles with their stirrup-style spouts. The Mashup sculptures have a variety of finishes, ranging from velvety matte finishes to finely incised marks that resemble crazing. Porges’s works remind us of the many ways our contemporary lives interact with history, and the ways we build upon and shape culture through ongoing conversations and explorations.
About the Artist
Maria Porges is an artist and writer whose work has been exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions since the late eighties. She received a SECA award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and has twice been in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. A finalist for the Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Art Writer’s Grant in 2014 and 2016, her critical writing has appeared in many publications, including Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture, American Ceramics, Glass, the New York Times Book Review, and a host of other now-defunct art magazines.
Porges is a Professor at California College of the Arts.
Learn more about her work at mariaporges.com.