Culture Object

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Sprayed and Glazed Ceramics
by Maxwell Mustardo, USA

 

It is pleasantly easy to be seduced by the graphic and classical imagery of Maxwell’s vessels, but to stop there would mean missing half the fun. The underlying theme of the artist’s work is the dialogue between form and surface and the ability of this interaction to reference the relationship between individuality, society and culture.

The artist’s original signature form, the toroid (a one-holed donut-like shape), was initially created as a tool for observing surface. Thanks to its complex curves, when observing from a single position one may readily see the full range of lighting effects upon the surface. With the toroid providing a baseline, the evolution to manipulated classical forms adds a layer of complexity to the form-surface dynamic. Amphora, ewers, and kraters delve into classical Greco-Roman imagery, the totemic ‘stacks’ quote the modern work of famed American ceramicists Peter Voulkos, and the recent ‘gadroon’ forms totally transform a historical seed into an original and full-fledged contemporary icon.

Maxwell’s signature form is the playfully transformed amphora. Throughout history and across cultures, the vessel has stood as a metaphor for the human body. The classical handled amphora, courtesy of its akimbo-like handles, is perhaps the most quintessentially anthropomorphic vessel. Poking and prodding to push tradition to excess, Maxwell swells the proportions to a cartoonish and pudgy scale and affords the handles subtly lively positions.

The dichotomy of surface-form is deepened by the metaphorical reading; the surface of Maxwell’s amphora either reference a skin-like quality when glazed, or a fashion reference when sprayed with colorful rubber coatings. It is no accident that Maxwell often creates and presents his amphorae in groupings of several pieces; they are more than anthropomorphic; they are socio-morphic, representing individuals within a society. One can enjoy Maxwell’s work on a technical and formal aesthetic level, as he invites us to with his toroids, or on multiple levels of sociological and cultural commentary from body, identity, fashion, and culture.

 

 

Inventory #1409
Blue & White Bud Vases, 2020
glazed porcelain and lead-based enamel.
Tallest 28.5cm.H x 8.5D / 11.25in.H x 3.25D

 

Inventory #1785
Purple Anthropophora, 2021
glazed stoneware, PVC rubber coating.
31cm.H x 20W x 17D / 12.25in.H x 8W x 6.75D

 

Maxwell Mustardo, USA
Papulae Amphorae, 2021
glazed stoneware.

Left, Inventory #1792
38.5cm.H x 18.5W x 19.5D / 15in.H x 7.25W x 7.75D

Center, Inventory #1790
51cm.H x 15.5W x 14.5D / 20in.H x 6W x 5.75D

Right, Inventory #1788
32cm.H x 28.5W x 25D / 12.5in.H x 11.25W x 9.75D

 

Maxwell Mustardo, USA
Glazed stoneware, PVC rubber coating.

Left, Dark & Light Blue Anthropophora, 2021
35cm.H x 20.5W x 20D / 13.75in.H x 8W x 7.75D

Right, Inventory #1804
Dark Blurple Anthropophora, 2021
37.5cm.H x 19W x 17.5D / 14.75in.H x 7.5W x 7D

 

Inventory #1882
Maxwell Mustardo, USA
Green & Orange Anthropophora, 2021
Glazed stoneware, PVC rubber coating.
37cm.H x 29W x 28D / 14.5in.H x 11.5W x 11D


Inventory #1890
Maxwell Mustardo, USA
Purple & Gold Anthropophora, 2021
Glazed stoneware, PVC rubber coating.
45cm.H x 34.5W x 33D / 17.75in.H x 13.5W x 13D


Maxwell Mustardo, USA
Glazed stoneware, PVC rubber coating.

Left, Inventory #1923
Green-Blue Chameleon Anthropophora, 2021
36.5cm.H x 25W x 21D / 14.25in.H x 9.75W x 8.25D

Center, Inventory #1924
Green-Blue Chameleon Anthropophora, 2021
54.8cm.H x 27.2W x 23D / 21.5in.H x 10.75W x 9D

Right Inventory #1987
Green-Blue Chameleon Krater, 2022
30.5cm.H x 35.5W x 29.5D / 12in.H x 14W x 11.5D