Subtlety and scale are two of the main factors to consider when viewing the new exhibition, Good Gravy, by ceramic artist Matt Long. The scale of selected artwork, influenced by utilitarianism, questions daily function as being possible. The Crawfish Pot dominates the space with the ability to feed the masses, while the Casserole dish brings back memories of family home cooking for much more than a table of six. Function becomes nonexistent in the Sauce Pot, as the lid appears to be fused together with the body of the pan. The intimacy of scale can be seen in the twelve Bottles, where the viewer is still able to grasp a piece of artwork in their hands, coordinating with the larger forms.
The increase in scale of this artwork allows a larger surface area to be examined. Matt has departed from his usual porcelain clay body with a heavy slip application to the unpredictability of a shino glaze, where crawling and carbon trapping become the visual aesthetic. Good Gravy provides the viewer with a chance to reconsider function within the vessel while examining the subtle surface variations with the glaze.
This body of work titled, “Good Gravy”, has evolved for me over the past 5 years, subtly changing material, surface and scale. With language that has recently become the forefront of the work, these “pots and pans” that are void of their utility either from scale or inability to perform; reference our home, purpose and life.
This exhibition is about recognizing some of the simple things in life. The saucepot on your mothers stove, the beauty of your grandmother’s cast iron frying pan, each aged with the history of its utility. I see beauty in the relationship of food being cooked; where the markings of slow food are evident on the surface, exemplifying the efforts of the hand and time; something that has become a valuable commodity these days. These recognizable “pots and pans” in their pure form, talk about some of the sustenance of life, home, food and family, perhaps revealing an individualized history of times and events that shape who we are. The “Gravy”, well, whether it’s perfect, charred, or spilling over the edge, is always good! I hope these vessels stand strong and bold, yet have surface that quietly speaks to you. Perhaps making you question what “life without gravy” means.
This work is dedicated to my first hero in clay, and later, my friend and hero in life, Don Reitz.