Beth Katleman, Fire and Ice, USA, 2015

Beth Katleman, Fire and Ice, USA, 2015
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Beth Katleman, Fire and Ice, USA, 2015

Fire and Ice, Beth Katleman’s newest work, is a unique pair of handmade porcelain mirrors that offer a contemporary reinterpretation of Chinese Chippendale girandoles.  Inspired by the Robert Frost poem of the same title, Katleman combines rococo opulence with a dose of pop culture and the tradition of luxury porcelain with elements that are decidedly low-brow: each porcelain figure is hand-cast from the artist’s collection of flea-market trinkets, kitsch souvenirs, and toys.  While these found objects bring their own histories, when juxtaposed, shifts in scale add a surreal, otherworldly quality. In Fire and Ice, Pastoral scenes dissolve into a dark fairy tale: a parade of flower girls ends in a swan boat to oblivion, a girl’s head erupts into a mushroom cloud, and a tiny woman in an evening dress looks on from a balcony above. In a displacement of time and history, Katleman’s signature dark humor comes through, creating tableaux that are seductive, playful, and unsettling.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
-Robert Frost 

Katleman’s sculptures and installations have been described by Ken Johnson in the New York Times as “doll-sized rococo theaters of murder and domestic mayhem.” Fire and Ice comes out of Katelamn’s unique repertoire of handmade, historically inspired porcelain works, such as Folly, her debut piece from 2010.   Katleman’s Folly, a three dimensional porcelain wallpaper installation inspired by toile de jouy, was exhibited at the Museum of Art and Design (New York) and was the recipient of the Moët-Hennessy Prize for Best Decorative Object (PAD 2011); two smaller versions of the piece, Demi Folly, are in the permanent collection of the House of Christian Dior (Hong Kong and London flagships).

Katleman is represented in the collections of the M.H. de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI, Kohler Company, Kohler, WI, the Kamm Teapot Foundation, Sparta, NC, the Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT, Ci Kim Arario Gallery Collection, Seoul, Korea, and many private collections both in the U.S. and abroad.  Katleman’s art has been exhibited at art and design fairs, museum, and prestigious private and public collections worldwide including Art Southampton, NY, Masterpiece, London, Zona MACO, Mexico City, Gallery Seoul 12, Seoul, South Korea, International Fine Arts and Antiques Dealers Show, New York, the Pavilion of Art and Design/New York, Pavilion of Art and Design/London, Design Miami/Basel, Pavilion des Art & Design, Paris, the Jane Hartsook Gallery, New York and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. Her work has garnered critical attention in the Financial Times, the New York Times, The Art Economist, American Ceramics, Ceramics Art and Perception and Sculpture Magazine in the U.S., and in La Tribune e Moi, Paris, The Art Newspaper, Basel, Grand Design Magazine, Shanghai, Cacao Magazine, Taiwan, and numerous other publications.

Katleman holds a BA in English from Stanford University, an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and an MBA in Arts Management from UCLA. She has taught at Pratt Institute, New York University and Greenwich House Pottery in New York. Born in Park Forest, Illinois, Katleman lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

60″ H x 23″ W x 5″ D Each

67″ H x 52″ W x 5″D Hung Together

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