Ceramic Artist Francesca DiMattio Explores the Beauty in Domesticity

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By Heather Corcoran / Published by Dwell
Francesca DiMattio's large-scale ceramic sculptures turn elements of functional design into dramatic works of art.

At New York gallery Salon 94, two new shows explore the area where art meets design. Domestic Sculpture, which runs through May 7, 2015, at 243 Bowery, features new works by sculptor Francesca DiMattio that reference the history of ceramics in elaborate, collage-like sculptures. Pulling from an encyclopedic range of decorative art influences, from French Sèvres porcelain and Wedgwood figurines to Turkish tiles, DiMattio forces history to collide with tissue-box prints and other modern kitch. Familiar forms come into focus in her complicated compositions, as bits of vases, mugs, chandeliers, and chair legs reveal themselves.  

Ceramic Artist Francesca DiMattio Explores the Beauty in Domesticity - Photo 1 of 8 - Francesca DiMattio, Chandelabra II, 2015, glaze and luster on porcelain and stoneware, epoxy, steel frame.

Francesca DiMattio, Chandelabra II, 2015, glaze and luster on porcelain and stoneware, epoxy, steel frame.

Meanwhile, at the gallery's Freeman Alley location, artist Anton Alvarez has set up an unorthodox furniture studio, where he will be using a machine of his own design dubbed the Thread-Wrapping Machine to create custom pieces on site. Stay tuned for more on that show as Alvarez's exhibition develops. 

Ceramic Artist Francesca DiMattio Explores the Beauty in Domesticity - Photo 2 of 8 - A detail of Francesca DiMattio's Chandelabra II reveals the many ceramic figurines that make up this collage-like porcelain chandelier.

A detail of Francesca DiMattio's Chandelabra II reveals the many ceramic figurines that make up this collage-like porcelain chandelier.

Ceramic Artist Francesca DiMattio Explores the Beauty in Domesticity - Photo 3 of 8 - Francesca DiMattio, Fetish Sculpture, 2015, glaze on porcelain and stoneware.

Francesca DiMattio, Fetish Sculpture, 2015, glaze on porcelain and stoneware.

Ceramic Artist Francesca DiMattio Explores the Beauty in Domesticity - Photo 4 of 8 - Historical influences such as Viennese du Paquier porcelain collide with more modern influences to dramatic effect, as seen in this detail from Fetish Sculpture.

Historical influences such as Viennese du Paquier porcelain collide with more modern influences to dramatic effect, as seen in this detail from Fetish Sculpture.

Ceramic Artist Francesca DiMattio Explores the Beauty in Domesticity - Photo 5 of 8 - Francesca DiMattio, Bloemenhouder, 2015, glaze and luster on porcelain and stoneware.

Francesca DiMattio, Bloemenhouder, 2015, glaze and luster on porcelain and stoneware.

Ceramic Artist Francesca DiMattio Explores the Beauty in Domesticity - Photo 6 of 8 - The sculptures reference everyday decorative objects, such as vases or mug handles, but turn them into something eeriely unfamiliar, as seen in this detail of the flower-encrusted Bloemenhouder.

The sculptures reference everyday decorative objects, such as vases or mug handles, but turn them into something eeriely unfamiliar, as seen in this detail of the flower-encrusted Bloemenhouder.

Ceramic Artist Francesca DiMattio Explores the Beauty in Domesticity - Photo 7 of 8 - Francesca DiMattio, Iznik, 2015, glaze and luster on porcelain and stoneware.

Francesca DiMattio, Iznik, 2015, glaze and luster on porcelain and stoneware.

Ceramic Artist Francesca DiMattio Explores the Beauty in Domesticity - Photo 8 of 8 - The work also explores influences from Asian and Islamic decorative art traditions. In pieces such as Iznik, seen here, DiMattio mixes delicate painted porcelain with rough clay that shows her fingerprints—the result is as though the finer pieces were subsumed by molten lava.

The work also explores influences from Asian and Islamic decorative art traditions. In pieces such as Iznik, seen here, DiMattio mixes delicate painted porcelain with rough clay that shows her fingerprints—the result is as though the finer pieces were subsumed by molten lava.