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Weird Sisters

Karin Gulbran

Massimo De Carlo, Milano

Massimo De Carlo gallery is pleased to present Weird Sisters, the first exhibition in Italy by the American artist Karin Gulbran, opening on the 11th of April 2018 in our Via Ventura exhibition space.

Karin Gulbran, who is based in Los Angeles, California, began her training as a painter, developing a language grounded in investigating and conveying her everlasting interest for all things connected to the realm of the natural world. Ten years ago, the artist began translating her oneiric earthly imagery into ceramic creations.

For Weird Sisters Karin Gulbran has crafted a series of large ceramic vessels adorned with her unique dream like iconography of animals in the landscape, chasing, hunting and frolicking in the rain, woods and moonlight. Cats, rabbits, wild boar and fish inhabit the enchanted glazed surfaces of the pots.

The title of this exhibition, Weird Sisters, refers to the three figural vases also on view. These works are an evolution of her Pelican vase, emerging as a sculptural and fantastical Seahorse- Pelican. They are hybrid creatures like the Chimera or Unicorn and allude to the mythical. Whereas the large pots feature wooded scenes and earthly animals, the Weird Sisters are aquatic creatures, which can be imagined in watery terrain, represented here by cauldron shaped fishbowls.

Also featured is the Budding Branch with White Flower, a subtle pot depicting four branches in various stages of bloom. This piece quietly sets the scene, representing the landscape that the animals inhabit, like a stage before the actors emerge or trees waiting for flowers before they blossom.

Each of Karin Gulbran’s works carries the viewer into the artist’s personal expressionistic lexicon that is formed intuitively and emotionally through the creative process. As put by the artist herself: “I am inspired by relationships to animals in proximity to me, both real and imagined and sympathetic to their survival.” Weird Sisters offers a glimpse into this supernatural universe, allowing the viewer to connect to glazed and bewildered earthly powers.

The Artist

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Karin Gulbran

Karin Gulbran was born in Seattle, WA, in 1967. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Karin Gulbran is a prominent figure in California's avant-garde craft movement, known for her contribution to the field of ceramic sculpture. Over the course of 20 years, Gulbran has pioneered a new generation of artists characterised by their deliberately simple and classical forms decorated with pictorial narratives. Her work utilises gestural figuration, blending in recurring abstracted motifs inspired by nature, resulting in a distinctive visual language. Gulbran's artistic repertoire includes various elements, such as leaf and branch shapes, animals, and raindrops, showcasing her remarkable ability to create and convey her own symbolic language. The animal motif holds a profound significance in Gulbran's work. Her clay sculptures and painted vessels exude empathy as if the creatures themselves were nurtured into existence, forming an extended family that the artist revisits periodically. Gulbran's current body of work encompasses several ongoing series, including the Animal Pots and Fishbowls, the Sculptural Bird Vases, and her most recent venture, the Obscure Mirrors series, which seamlessly combines glass with ceramics. In this latter series, a monochrome coloured glass is encased within a glazed ceramic landscape adorned with small creatures, rocks, and flowers. These wall-hanging works come to life as daylight filters through the glass, creating subtle shifts in colour.

Gulbran’s work is in the permanent collection of the TIA Collection, Santa Fe and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

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