Galleri Urbane is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Houston-based artist Melinda Laszczynski. Her second solo show with the gallery, The Love Lives of Stones presents paintings on panel and highlights playful new explorations in ceramic and watercolor. Different in many ways, these three mediums find common ground for Laszczynski in their ability to create tactile works that exist in the liminal space between looking and feeling.
First displayed with Galleri Urbane in the summer of 2018, Laszczynski’s ceramic work has become a natural extension of her paintings. For The Loves Lives of Stones, the artist presents the largest ceramics she has produced to date. It is not difficult to see link between her well-known panels, with their heavily-impastoed acrylic paint imbedded with glitter and lenticular prints, and the newer exercises in porcelain and stoneware. The artist’s uniquely physical approach to painting is adeptly translated into the ceramic work. Pieces which appear to have started on the throwing wheel have been decidedly manipulated to provoke the vessels to fold in on themselves or generate exaggerated protrusions; other ceramics highlight the hands of the artist that have compounded and compressed their structures. Even grander than the object’s forms are the glazes and lusters applied, ranging from brilliant metallics to textured crackles, that lend an undoubtedly painterly perspective to the body of work.
Accompanying the new sculptures are watercolors that offer Laszczynski another avenue for exploring art making that is driven by the characteristics of a medium. The works on paper feature loose, organic forms in vivid hues that bleed into each other and the pulp of the surface to create atmospheric washes of space. Drawing connections to the ceramic work, Laszczynski notes: “Both clay and paper hold onto that memory of manipulation, whether a touch of the hand or a glaze of color, a hazy but persistent layer until the end.” Working with the often-unforgiving water media, she creates compositions in which there lies a tension between the planned and unexpected. This is reinforced by the work’s edges that are torn into irregular shapes once complete, leaving the final state of the composition up to chance.
In creating the work, Laszczynski relates the initial stages of process and discovery to love or lust. This romantic approach to working with these mediums is evident throughout the show, with each painting, watercolor, and ceramic work a triumphant celebration of the materials’ inherent nature.