An interlude in the meticulously choreographed presentations of lighting and design studio Apparatus, The Piccolo Parade acts as co-founder Jeremy Anderson‘s solo debut. The pretty (and pretty peculiar) ceramic works—both porcelain and stoneware—that compose the exhibition have all been hand-thrown by Anderson. Each vessel, which the artist/designer refers to as “piccolos,” exudes distinct personality and charm. It’s easy to walk around the anthropomorphic forms and feel Anderson’s imagination. Though, his process (which involves throwing all of the cylindrical components before cutting, stacking and blending them) is far more precise than the liberated forms lead one to believe.
“I start with the opening of the piece. I will just do a simple gesture,” Anderson says to us, as we tour the collection—which is numbered, though each piece also has a personal nickname. “I only draw on the very first line and then I hand-paint every other individual line. This started forming really beautiful patterns. With that idea, I knew it could apply to raised fins and ribs, as well.” While the mesmeric painted patterns capture the eye, his vessels with texture beg to be held. An organic nature teases to real life.
Several hours before the exhibition opened, Anderson added some of the most stunning pieces, finished in gold. “It’s a three-fire process and I did it on stoneware,” he says. “You do a glaze and then you do a luster over it. It’s 22-karat gold and it comes it a teeny, tiny vial so you have to paint it on with a small brush. I had no idea if it would be this even as a finish—because most people do luster work in a smaller, detailed way.” He admits that he was thrilled with the way they ultimately came out, and understandably so. They’re simply beautiful.
“I keep my hands steady by keeping them on the vessel as I work so I have a really intimate relationship with each one throughout the process,” he continues. “People use the surface of a vessel to tell a story. For me, these are more like characters. It was really about dressing them up. They take on individual personalities.” He notes that there’s been a comfort in having them around, too.
Anderson and his partner, Apparatus co-founder Gabriel Hendifar, have a home in the town of Rhinebeck, New York. It’s there that many of the piccolos come to life. “We converted the detached garage into a studio for me,” Anderson says. “I was working, initially, at a community studio on 26th Street and I still go there every once in a while because there’s something valuable about working in a community of people. But, I do the majority of my clay work up in Rhinebeck.” The piccolos travel with Anderson from the Hudson Valley down to Apparatus and back again. For a project of personal exploration, that commenced back in 2016, it seems that Anderson’s never been alone on the journey; he’s always been followed by fanciful figures of his own imagining.
The Piccolo Parade is on view at Apparatus Studio from 13 to 31 March.
Hero image by David Graver