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Nerikomi-esque Porcelain Vessels
by Janny Baek, Korea / USA


New York based Korean-American ceramicists Janny Baek followed up her degree in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design with a Master in Architecture from Harvard University. Her subsequent successful career as a founding partner of the firm McMahon-Baek Architecture laid the foundation for her return to ceramics in 2019. Janny’s work betrays an architect’s mind; the integration of structure and surface is at the core of her practice. Leveraging and modifying the traditional Nerikomi and Neriage, colored-clay technique, her vessels exude a sophisticated and surreal appeal.

Hand building lively organic forms, Janny incorporates color through pigmented clay bodies that are partially patterned in a Nerikomi process of stacking and cutting strata of colors. Geometric blocks of pattern blend smoothly into fields of solid colors, responding to the curves of her three-dimensional canvases. Ombres and color blocks coexist on the surface much like geometric forms periodically emerge from the curving masses. Trained as an architect, ceramics has freed Janny to create the fantastical shapes that are tethered to reality with fleeting moments of geometry and structure.