Placed is thrilled to present Fabulous Muscles, its inaugural dual exhibition of ceramic artists Carol Horst and Kelsie Rudolph.
Fabulous Muscles refers literally to the feat of form accomplished by the artists’ work, respectively. Their work is physical. Conceptually, each engages in elements of whimsical function, somatics, and anthropomorphizing—embodied in intensively engineered clay sculpture. Placed has brought Carol and Kelsie together for this robust exhibition of a singular duet.
Kelsie Rudolph has built her practice around creating utilitarian design objects—furniture, tile, lighting and vessels with an intuitive and studied talent for hand built clay construction. She hails from the Great Lakes region of Wisconsin, where as a child she was introduced to Gustav Stickley, and the Craftsman-style furniture movement native to that region. Her mother used to rearrange the furniture in their home as a seasonal event. Kelsie became interested in decorative objects as contextual to time and space, and what impact the arranging of interiors has on the psyche. As a result, she designs her furniture to be relatively light in weight, so it can easily be rearranged or reimagined—moveable with two sets of hands, no forklift required. Kelsie’s early influences were steeped in traditional craft movements, yet her work itself has a contemporary, novel style. Kelsie creates heirlooms meant to transcend decades—symbols of a new era of ceramic art and design she has been a unique force in establishing. Kelsie’s exploration of the intersection of art and design gives her a wide berth to experiment and shape-shift in her studio practice. Kelsie lives and works in Helena, Montana.
Born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Carol Horst grew up surrounded by natural beauty, a lifelong source of inspiration. She brings a unique trifecta to her practice: a curiosity about the simplified forms of nature and industrial design, a fascination with creative and technical challenges, and an innate understanding of the expressive potential of abstraction. “Hollowed from solid,” is a description of Carol’s process that denotes the act of physical power involved in constructing her work, and conceptually nods to the spiritual lightness of her muscular creations. ‘Hubris,’ a centerpiece of the show, is a stacked sculpture composed of impish hunky characters, from her series “Greyhounds,” named after Greyhound buses. Carol finds anthropomorphizing her forms irresistible and is curious how little change is needed to give an abstract sentience. Often, the addition of a hole changes everything. This state of alive-ness seems humorous to her, as does the act of turning the concept of functionality on its head.
Carol divides her artistic practice between a studio in Pasadena, California and a space in the wilderness of the Tehachapi Mountains, where she pit-fires her work.