Out of the Kiln: Silverlens Takes its Cue from a Zobel de Ayala Essay on Porcelain with Works by Hanna Pettyjohn, Joseph Gabriel, and Pam Quinto - Arts & Culture

“The exhibition’s proposition is inflected by the practices of the artists involved.”

Silverlens Galleries recently opened a group exhibit this week presenting works by Joseph Gabriel, Hanna Pettyjohn, and Pam Quinto.

READ ALSO: Art Arc: The Story Of Ang Kiukok’s Watercolors At The Pen, From Humble Beginnings To Its Restoration After Lockdown

Curated by Carlos Quijon, Jr., “Resonant Earth” prospects the possibilities of contemporary ceramics in extrapolating a cosmopolitan and modernist history of craft.

Hanna Pettyjohn; “Latitude/Longitude”

The exhibition takes its cue from a 1961 essay by painter Fernando Zobel de Ayala titled “The First Philippine Porcelain.” The essay historicizes the porcelain manufacturing company “La Porcelanica,” which was founded by the painter’s father with the help of Japanese industry experts, and which facilitated the training of Filipino apprentices.

Only one artifact has been documented to survive from the company and Zobel has annotated it in the essay identifying it as “an interesting example of Philippine craft ideals during the first decades of the twentieth century.” From this singular object and the contexts of production to which the essay alludes, the exhibition asks the artists to consider the made thing and its annotation as archive.

Joseph Gabriel

The exhibition in this sense proposes an interfacing of the artistic, art historical, and the curatorial to speculate on ceramics as contemporary form—able to problematize its own artistic history and suggest its trajectories. Working from different sites (Manila, London, Dallas), the artists’ practices embody contemporary ceramics as a cosmopolitan enterprise.

“The exhibition’s proposition is inflected by the practices of the artists involved,” writes Quijon in Silverlens’ exhibition notes.

Pam Quinto; “White Gold”

Pettyjohn’s work, the curator writes, takes inspiration from the practice of her parents, Jon and Tessy, who are pioneers of Philippine ceramics. “In her two-dimensional works, she translates geological tropes such as topography, layer, texture as elements of figuration,” Quijon explains. “Joseph Gabriel studied ceramics formally in London and works professionally in stoneware design. His practice is attentive to the materiality of stone and ceramics, keen on exploring possibilities of the form.”

For her part, Quinto, Quijon continues, “uses stoneware as part of her interdisciplinary practice. In her works, ceramics converses with other forms and materialities—from texts, photographs, painting, and even scent, moss, or salt.”

Carlos Quijon, Jr.

Each work for the exhibition uses earth from these different locations and responds to different aspects of the medium’s technology and stylistic and material circulation. In the hands of these artists and in the almost alchemical transmutation of raw clay into ceramics, earth becomes resonant—mobilized to speak to and converse with the prolific contexts of artistic agency, art historical contingencies, and the discursive conditions of imagining the future of Philippine porcelain.

Resonant Earth runs until March 26, 2022 at Silverlens Galleries, 2263 Don Chino Roces Avenue Extension Makati. For more information, visit SilverlensGalleries.com.

Text Carlos Quijon, Jr.
Photos and text courtesy of Silverlens Galleries

Shop for LIFESTYLE ASIA’S magazines through these platforms.
Download LIFESTYLE ASIA’s digital magazines from:
Subscribe via [email protected]