Skidmore Contemporary Art celebrates two new artists this December. As a child, balloons left a big impression on artist Nina Jun. Now her art reflects that whimsical memory. By making a plaster mold of the inflated mylar balloon and casting it in a ceramic slip, Jun captures the shape of the balloon, as well as the indentations and ripples along its edges, creating the illusion that it is filled with air.
Nina Jun, Galaxy ORSTR II, 2018, 16 x 16 x 9 inches, Glazed Ceramic
Jun decorates her balloons in soft pastels and cheerful colors that, once fired in her kiln, correspond with the reflective material of mylar. Adding to the illusion of a weightless, helium-filled balloon, Jun hangs her ceramics arbitrarily, mimicking actual balloon clusters and creating an interactive experience for the viewer.
The permanence of her selected medium, in conjunction with the rapid deflation of mylar balloons reminds one that, in life, time is ephemeral. Yet, Jun explained that clay is a product of the earth, where life is born and lost, echoing the cyclical life of balloons.
Shalene Valenzuela said “My ceramic sculptures reflect upon a variety of issues with a thoughtful, yet humorous and ironic tone.” She creates her works through slipcasting, and paints the surfaces.
Shalene Valenzuela, Toast To Burning Desires: Let’s Play Telephone, Slipcast earthenware, porcelain, underglaze illustration, 7″x9″x5″ 2018
Her work references fairytales, urban mythologies, consumer culture, societal expectations, etiquette, politics, and coming-of-age issues. “Stylistically, my imagery is pulled from somewhat dated sources that represent an idealized time in society and advertising. Beneath the shiny veneer of these relics hides a complex and sometimes contradicting truth of what things seem to appear as upon first glance.” The artist explores self-perception and expectations of being a woman. She addresses how assumptions of character based on societal biases leads to a precarious and unbalanced state of humankind.
On view: December 1 – December 31, 2018