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The Heartwarming Nightmare Fuel of 'Facepots'

Charming pottery, or ceramic serial killer masks?
October 2, 2015, 7:40pm
Italian Ice, Low fire clay and glazes with Lascaux paint and gold luster, 24 x 19 ⅞ inches.

Do you see an innovative ceramic exploration of the human figure, or a brainstorm of new ideas for a serial killer mask? Either way, these playful ceramics will warm your heart and haunt your dreams. Ever seen that slasher movie Smiley? That’s what I’m talking about.

One thing is for certain, these are not your average household pots: artist Dan McCarthy creates industrial-sized ceramic sculptures, an assortment of colossal vessels sculpted from a mountain of wet earthen clay. His new round of Facepots, on display at Venus Over Los Angeles, are the largest McCarthy has ever made, weighing in at a whopping 75 pounds each.

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These colorful clay slabs depict grotesque offbeat faces, “a more intimately invested interaction, exploring the material and emotional possibilities of wet clay,” according to the show’s press release. “Both painted and glazed with gold leaf and low fire lustre, the large facepots radiate a dynamic range of material possibilities, physical existence, and emotional depth.”

X-Ray Spex, Low fire clay and glazes with Lascaux paint and gold luster, 25 ¼ x 18 ½ inches.

In addition to McCarthy’s ceramic work, the exhibition also features a series of new paintings he has made on custom-shaped canvases. Cartoonish illustrations of lighting bolts, rainbows, and storms clouds are framed on homemade canvases in the shape of surfboards, skateboards, or roads signs. Each painting is paired with a haiku-esque speech bubble that reflects McCarthy’s day-to-day. The press release describes the paintings as, “Layered with scraped oil and spray paint, the immediacy of the paintings is evident, revealing a personalized sense of history with iconic surf-side symbols.”

Little Tokyo, 2015, Low fire clay and glazes with Lascaux paint and gold luster, 25 ¼ x 18 ⅞ inches.

Holy Roller, 2015, Low fire clay and glazes with Lascaux paint and gold luster 22 ⅛ x 19 inches.

Smoke Signals, 2015, Rainbow: Lascaux gesso and paint on shaped canvas stretcher, Bubble: Lascaux gesso and paint on shaped canvas stretcher, 24 x 73 x 1 ½ inches.

Facepots runs through November 1, 2015. See more from Dan McCarthy here.

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