Laurita Cortese: Crescent Sun
211 E. Matilija Street, Ojai, CA 93023
Sunday, June 9 at 3:00 PM 9:00 PM
Ends Jul 31, 2024
Spore Space is excited to present ‘Crescent Sun’ by Los Angeles based artist, Laurita Cortese. Cortese has created a new body of ceramic work that explores interior space in relationship to the resting body and the celestial. In this installation Cortese has created a series of amorphous ceramic sculptures that function in pairs: one emitting light and one receiving. The interior of the gallery has been softened, many hard edges in the room and on the sculptures have been pressed, smoothed, draped and rounded; suggesting a space that prioritizes a body in need of pause, rest, and recovery. Cortes's ceramic sculptures simultaneously resemble the body and functional forms, questioning if one is observing a lamp, the shoulders of a person, a tree stump, or a satellite dish? The work highlights a dynamic of emitting and reflecting, projecting and absorbing, both within ourselves and within these forces in the natural world. While Cortese’s practice is rooted in sculpture, often using clay as her primary medium. During a year of introspection she turned her interest towards earth and growing a garden. In this process of gardening Cortese was struck by the overwhelming universality of growing plant life. Light is converted into matter through photosynthesis and this energy becomes incorporated and digested and therefore incorporated into other living organisms. As Annie Dillard describes in her 1975 essay Total Eclipse: “This was the universe about which we have read so much and never before felt: the universe as a clockwork of loose spheres flung at stupefying, unauthorized speeds.” This body of work was created in relation to the awe Annie Dillard describes. In Cortese’s sculptures and installation she considers light source: how it can fuel, define, influence, and enrich. What would the interior space resemble if its light source was a vehicle to fuel awe and enrich human experience? How can we imagine this display of vibrant matter, reminding us that we and everything surrounding us is contained in this cycle of emitting, reflecting, and absorbing? Laurita Cortese is an artist, fabricator, and designer currently residing in Los Angeles. In 2012 they earned an MFA in Ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art and received a BFA in Sculpture from Adelphi University in New York. Their primary medium is clay; working with the material to create sculpture, wheel-thrown functional objects, and, most recently, experimenting with historical methods for natural building and vernacular architecture with unfired and site-specific clay. They have exhibited their sculpture, paintings, performance, and design objects internationally including exhibitions with Steve Turner Gallery in Los Angeles, Louise Alexander Gallery in Porto Cervo, Italy, Arizona State University, New Mexico State University, Brittany Vallejo at OPaf, The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, BBQLA, Embassy, Half Gallery in Los Angeles, and The Bedfellows Club in Little Rock, Arkansas. They are the 2021 recipient of the California Institute of the Arts Faculty Development Grant to study permaculture landscape design with Quail Springs in the Cuyama Valley in California. It is from that research they are currently working on a habitat restoration earthwork and regenerative agriculture garden located in Los Angeles. Laurita is the Director of the Ceramics Lab and Technical Faculty in the School of Art at CalArts where they teach courses in clay and ceramic sculpture, wheel throwing, and glaze chemistry.­­