Flower Power, a solo exhibition of new work by Medellín-based artist Chris Wolston (b. 1987, USA) is on view now at The Future Perfect’s New York gallery. Wolston’s fourth solo exhibition and tenth presentation with the gallery, Flower Power marks a new direction for the artist’s ceramic practice with the debut of a series of terracotta furniture and lighting—the first ceramic collection he has made exclusively for The Future Perfect.
Drawing inspiration from the blossoming tropical flora found in the mountains and forests of Wolston’s adopted home of Medellin, Colombia, Flower Power probes and celebrates the cultural significance of the flower—from the practice of planting and cutting flowers to express joy, love, remembrance, and romance, and its various other symbolic meanings; to the role the flower industry plays in both the local and global economies; to its emblematic use in social and political movements. The exhibition’s title alludes to the phrase coined by beat poet and counterculture leader Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform anti-war demonstrations into peaceful affirmative spectacles, through the use of love, unity, and imagination.
At the center of the exhibition is a series of thirteen throne-like botanical terracotta chairs and benches—some textured with detailed ceramic casts of plants, flowers and wild fruit from the artist’s own garden (heliconias, sunflowers, red ginger, birds of paradise, daisies, banana tree blossoms); some adorned with exaggerated and enlarged flowers and leaves, sculpted and molded by hand; while others are composed of abstract, gestural, amorphous growths reminiscent of vines and adventitious prop root structures. With this collection, Wolston will additionally unveil two light sculptures in the same styles—an amorphous table lamp reminiscent of a log devoured by insects and woodpeckers; as well as a chandelier comprised of a bronze menagerie of abstracted blossoms and leaves reminiscent of a mango tree branch, complete with an opalescent glass orb blown in Murano, Veneto—the artist’s recollection of the wild vines that have overrun his chicken coop. Bronze casts of lifesize rubber critters—ants, bees, centipedes, salamanders—accent various pieces in the collection, stealthily crawling on the backs of chairs. The bronze-casting is echoed again in the series of vessels that summarizes Wolston’s explorations of technique in Flower Power.
This body of work serves as an extension of the general project Wolston has taken on in his dedicated study of craft traditions from around the world—beginning with his Fulbright study of pre-Columbian ceramics, which is what brought him to Colombia. Reapproaching clay with an expanded craft vocabulary, Wolston’s latest collection expresses the full breadth of his technical prowess—from the meticulous process of creating elaborate molds and casts of intricate plant forms, to his command of complex hand-building, to new experimentations in bronze casting. Flower Power will be on view through June 30th at The Future Perfect’s New York gallery.