Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of historical work by Andrew Lord. Long known for his sculpture in ceramic, Lord’s work continually challenges the expectations of the medium as he seeks to mold in clay works that trace the haptic experience of his own senses and experiences. In 1978, Lord created a body of work whose shapes and surfaces were based on the fall of light onto different shaped maquettes. As if drawing from life, or painting a landscape en plein air, this process recorded his observations in three dimensions. By 1979, he began to think of these groups of maquettes as works in themselves and showed them in an exhibition with Art & Project in Amsterdam. With these pieces Lord found ceramics’ ability to take on the commanding dimensions of painting.
Emerging out of this practice, Thirty Pieces. Sorrow. (for T), (1996) incorporated various vessel-like sculptures, and two ceramic maps (one of Manhattan and another of the United States) across which he wrote the title from one side to the other, as if stretching the expanse from east to west. During the AIDS epidemic in New York City, Lord made several works that had their source in death and illness; with this work he applied emotion to the vocabulary of shapes, making them affectively, as well as formally, resonant. While the color of the thirty composing pieces may evoke mourning and funeral pomp, black is also a color that absorbs all light—everything—giving him a place for the variety and complexity of his feelings. From Sorrow came a series of related sculptures: biting, in which Lord bit into the surface of the clay, breathing, which he molded against his chest, smelling, an impression made by his nose and nostrils, tasting, made by his tongue, listening, his ear, swallowing, pressed against his neck. These vessels became a compendium of his senses and embodiment. After his practice of tracing light on maquettes, these works manifest his experiences directly: “I discovered in making a work with sorrow, the work becomes sorrow and stands for that emotion, just as a work about breathing, made by pressing clay against my chest, can become breathing.” For Lord, “Sorrow marked a turning point because it was the moment emotions, the body, objects, places and memory became central, and I discovered anything could be subject matter. My work became about things identifiably personal, corporeal and autobiographical.”
The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo to mark the occasion of Andrew Lord’s gift in honor of Adriaan van Ravesteijn and Geert van Beijeren, founders of Art & Project (1968-2001) in Amsterdam and Slootdorp.
Gladstone Gallery (press release)