With 23 | 85, a.Muse Gallery introduces a rather shocking concept: the mixing of age and experience in this current culture of age segregation and an ever widening generation gap.
Twenty-three year old painter/sculptor Ethan Caflisch and eighty-five year old veteran artist Jim Melchert join artistic forces in this upcoming exhibit in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Jim Melchert’s primary medium for the past three decades has been ceramic tiles—tiles that have been purposely broken to reveal their interior structure. Through drawing on them with lines that follow or run counter to the shape on the crack, glazing and re-firing the pieces, the artist develops themes and textures that move beyond the happenstance of broken ceramics.
Writing about Melchert’s tile art, local curator Hanna Regev has said, “In experimenting with broken tiles, Melchert is in pursuit of “truth to materials,” the uncovering of the intrinsic composition of the fractured clay slabs, and the beauty that lies in broken and ragged edges.
Melchert, born in Ohio in 1930, studied art history at Princeton University, painting at the University of Chicago, and ceramics with Peter Voulkos at the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been shown at the Whitney, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Tate Liverpool, and the the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and been acquired by SFMOMA, LACMA, The Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kyoto, the Stedelijk in Amsterdam, and the V&A in London. Melchert is represented by Anglim Gilbert Gallery (San Francisco) and Paul Kotula Projects (Detroit).
Discussing the new work he is preparing for 23 | 85, Melchert says, “I didn't realize how much I still had to learn about it,” referring to his current process with the materials. “It's taken me so long, but the excitement of learning something, even a discovery that no one else would think twice about, affects how welcome every hour of the day is,” he added.
Caflisch feels that the “timelessness” of the two artists’ concepts and processes seem to bridge the age gap. “All of our works were made this year and are relevant,” he notes. “They would have been relevant 50 years ago and will be relevant 50 years from now.”
The younger artist’s work has been described by artist Sydney Cohen as warm minimalism, who says of Caflisch’s art, “There is both celebration and critique of minimalism as well– the artist has taken so much They reference the give and take present in making art and building things, as well as in leaving things to be as they are.” Cohen refers to the artist’s “absolute focus on materiality, proportion and balance, and with the ways that humans make things.”
Born in Wisconsin in 1993, Caflisch has been working with ceramics since the age of 11. He’s lived abroad in Germany, and studied drawing and painting at College of Visual Art in Minneapolis. He recently graduated with honors from the California College of the Arts. Caflisch has shown at numerous institutions including Southern Exposure, the Compound Gallery, the V.C. Morris Gift Shop, the Cumhuriyet Museum - Istanbul, and the Louie-Meager Art Gallery and is represented by Art SF Blog (San Francisco and Montreal).