Third time is a charm: Joel Otterson ‘Dark Matter’

Joel Otterson 58m10s063

Joel Otterson, a sculptor based in Los Angeles with a BFA from Parsons School of Design New York, has participated in the John Michael Kohler Art Center Arts/Industry program for the third time in 2018. 

Joel Otterson 23m02s146

Since the first residency 25 years ago in the pottery, he has been working and creating art pieces with everyday objects found in the house. He has scanned the domestic landscape for elements for his work in copper, pipe, concrete, blown glass, and more.

Joel Otterson 58m40s274

When he was invited for the third residency program to the Kohler factory in Wisconsin, he had two big ideas that he wanted to realize during the three months. The first was amphoras and the second to marry domestic objects with filigree floral ware from the 1940s and 1950s.

Joel Otterson -10h07m36s158

In the beginning he modeled his visions in wax and clay but didn’t really achieve the results that Joel Otterson was looking for. Taking a different approach in drawing the designs directly into the sand that is used in the foundry, was a game changer.

Joel Otterson -10h08m22s346

Skipping the modeling process opened up a new flexibility and gave rise to art pieces that trigger emotions and are of a delicate, mystical beauty.

Joel Otterson 24m09s277

The art exhibition ‘Dark Matter’ that is the summary of his body of work at the factory in 2017 and 2018 represents a new visual landscape of objects of a bigger scale integrating utilitarian objects and interior design pieces bordering on architectural elements.

Joel Otterson 58m19s918

Joel Otterson wanted to make vessels that were inspired by amphoras that he had seen in art museums around the world. However, he envisioned the containers not in clay but cast iron. To achieve this, the technicians in the pottery and the foundry were of tremendous help. Their technical knowledge and skill enabled the artists to produce arresting pieces.

Joel Otterson 58m02s247

When he first attended the residency many years ago, he said that a dream had come true as his father was a plumber and Joel had worked with plumbing pipes and fittings in his work. Being at the factory opened a new world of possibilities to his creative process. Returning to Wisconsin after so many years, made Joel realize just how inspiring the environment of the factory is.

Joel Otterson 24m44s029

The 168 acres area where anything that goes in the bathroom or kitchen is produced instills the feelings of ‘thinking bigger’ in artists and makes them more ambitious in their work. Suddenly, they can see a different scale. Their work expands and grows exponentially with the help of the available personnel and machines.

Joel’s exhibition speaks to this new dimension and approach through the inherent beauty. Visitors are left with a lasting experience that will linger far into 2019.

Joel Otterson jcr_content (4)

See some other recent Arts/Industry residents: Risa Puno, Samantha Fields, Ghada Amer.

Source: photos are courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Jason Jacques Gallery.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.