Biblical figures are currently being featured in the form of small, porcelain sculptures in Paradise, the latest exhibition of work by Mary Carlson. In this show, Carlson depicts a heavenly kingdom with several variations of characters such as Adam and Eve, Mary Magdalene, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Catherine of Alexandria, and also includes sculptures of special flowers. She evokes the souls of these legendary figures by using glazed stoneware and porcelain, that are sometimes combined with beads, Styrofoam, thread, dried flowers, and plaster.
One poignant piece in the show is Adam and Eve (after Masaccio) depicting the first couple desperately begging for forgiveness after disobeying God’s orders. Adam is seen with his hands covering his face while Eve is seen looking up, crying out to the Lord with her hand over her heart. Another piece titled Adam, Eve, God (after Bosch) features Adam sitting on one patch of grass while Eve is kneeling down on another patch of grass while holding the hand of God, who is seen wearing a rose-colored robe.
St. Catherine of Alexandria is another significant subject in this show. One sculpture titled Catherine of Alexandria (after Josse Lieferine) features St. Catherine with a pleasant, reassuring expression on her face as she holds an open book in one hand and gently holds out her other hand in a comforting manner. Golden strands of thread represent her long, blonde hair flowing freely in the wind. Catherine of Alexandria (after Roger van der Weyden) is a more morose portrayal of the Saint where she appears bald, her gaze set downward, and holding a dried out flower in her hand.
Mary Magdalene is portrayed in one self-titled figure where she possesses an air/heir of authority wearing a dark green dress and a light green robe while holding a ball of bright red beads. Another version of Jesus’ most faithful follower Mary Magdalene (after Piero della Francesca) depicts her wearing a rose-colored robe, while holding a small, round container, with a pointed lid in her hand.
Mary Carlson is a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has been featured at many shows and galleries across the country and around the world. She lives and works in both New York City and upstate New York.
Mary Carlson: Paradise/ On view from May 8 – June 21, 2014
529 W. 20th St., through Jun. 21.
Gallery hours: Tues.—Sat. from 11 a.m.—6 p.m.
Article by: Alison Martin
Photos provided by the Gallery and the Artist