EMILY COUNTS // the ins and outs

On view April 29–June 1, 2015
Opening reception Sunday, May 3 (2–5 p.m.)

Holes, perforations, and protrusions dominate the surfaces of Emily Counts’ ceramic sculptures in her exhibition of new work, The Ins and Outs at Nationale. Although largely abstract, her forms have a bodily presence—repeated elements that recall pores, faces, and sexual organs. Like icons or heirlooms, the sculptures become embodiments of significant events and experiences, both personal and universal. The Ins and Outs emerges as an ode to the in-between, to adolescence and the awkwardness of becoming.

Segmented ceramic rope appears throughout the exhibition as both a reference to bodily systems and to time passing. In Transponders, a sagging ceramic rope connects two sculptures—one resembling a phallus, and the other a cervix. Counts enlarges and elaborates the rope form with her wall beads. When viewed individually, each bead is a marker of time, a physical record of an aesthetic impulse, but when strung together in a specific sequence they form a narrative. The wall beads can also be viewed as large-scale, non-functional jewelry, and placed within the ritual of observing important moments through the exchange of objects.

Counts further conveys the symbolic depth of objects with her two most figurative sculptures in the exhibition, Moment A, a massive candle dripping with satisfying layers of blue, white, gray, and silver glazes, and Moment B, a colorful vase full of large ceramic roses. In the latter work, she subverts the conventional beauty of roses by enlarging the central stalk to such a degree that it nearly overwhelms the small, colorful blossom. Through a play with scale and materials, these traditional markers of celebration and condolence become complex, unwieldy icons.

Emily Counts was born in Seattle, WA, and currently lives and works in Portland, OR. She studied at the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin and the California College of the Arts, where she received her BFA. Counts was an artist in residence creating work for associated solo exhibitions at Raid Projects in Los Angeles in 2004 and Plane Space in New York in 2008. She has exhibited at the Torrance Art Museum (Torrance, CA), Garboushian Gallery (Beverly Hills, CA), Disjecta (Portland, OR), Nisus Gallery (Portland, OR), Mark Moore Gallery (Santa Monica, CA), and in Tokyo at Eitoeiko Gallery and Gallery Lara. In 2012 she received grants from both the Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation. She is currently a member of the Los Angeles based artist collective Durden and Ray.

Emily Counts on Women Artists
The Ins and Outs in the Willamette Week


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