LMAK gallery is pleased to open up our courtyard again and begin our sculpture season with Robert Raphael’s Symposium. Presenting three porcelain columns placed throughout the space, allowing for an architectural play and reaction to the urban environment.
Raphael’s work focuses on classical ornamentation and its prevalence from historical time through to contemporary society. The title Symposium refers to the Ancient Greek social practice where men gathered to engage in intellectual dialogue and enjoy acts of debauchery. Raphael’s installation presents a series of sculptures inspired by classical elements drawn from architectural ornament seen throughout New York City, commonly found on the Lower East Side. These elements often found around tenement buildings refer to the awe inspiring structures of antiquity, but their function is purely decorative.
The sculptures are created from porcelain columns; however Raphael is interested in denying their function as a structural element and keeping them in the space of decoration and architectural folly. Raphael’s ceramic-based work draws on the complex history of decorative art, a tradition that intersects and runs parallel to the history of art. Raphael believes that the strength of decoration lies in its seductive nature. The porcelain columns are covered in dripping and lush glazes that seem to cascade over the surfaces of the columns. The phenomenological nature of the glazes offers a sensual visual as the colors blend and chemically react to the forms beneath. In contrast to the sensuality of the glazes, Raphael uses the processes of ceramics to create a position of strength versus delicacy.
Symposium was first on view at the Bronx Museum of Art and elements from that install are now on view at the gallery.
Robert Raphael lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He is a 2013 alum of the Bronx Museum’s emerging artist program Artist in the Marketplace (AIM). Recent exhibitions of note include: Ceramics: A Concept of Function, LMAK Gallery, NY; Foreign/Domestic, Calico Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; and Torn and Fired, Outlet, Brooklyn, NY. Selected residencies include: Zentrum Für Keramik, Berlin; The Shigaraki Ceramic Sculpture Park, Japan; and the Illinois State University Visiting Artist Program, IL.