“Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped” compiles unorthodox works from the artist’s long career. (Photo by Gary Zvonkovic)

“Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped” compiles unorthodox works from the artist’s long career. (Photo by Gary Zvonkovic)

Annabeth Rosen’s wild things at Contemporary Jewish Museum

‘Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped’ collects ceramicist’s singular works

Abstract, bulbous and bizarrely beautiful, Annabeth Rosen’s sculptures have challenged the norms of ceramic art and, perhaps, the laws of gravity as well, over the decades, with their unconventionally crafted, precariously balanced assemblages of bits and blobs.

Curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver, “Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped,” continuing through Jan. 19 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, contains more than 120 sculptures and works on paper created over two decades by the Brooklyn-born, Northern California-based artist whose honors include a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship and whose work is in collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Oakland Museum of
California.

Rosen, whose influences include earlier-generation female sculptors such as Lynda Benglis and Eva Hesse, is an intensely hands-on artist whose process involves additive methods and combinations of purpose and accident.

She rescues misfires from the kiln and, reassembling, re-firing and re-glazing them, turns failed items into new art. Bucking ceramics-art convention, Rosen combines wet, fresh clay with already fired clay components. Her individual sculptures often contain dozens of ceramic pieces.

“I break almost as much ceramics as I make, and I think I learn as much about the work by doing so,” Rosen, who teaches at the University of California, Davis, where she holds the Robert Arneson Endowed Chair in Ceramic Sculpture, has said.

Her sculptures contain black, white, green and reddish tones. Her forms resemble human organs, jugs and vessels, and shells and bones. Her expressively applied glazes bring to mind everything from lava and sludge to chocolate sauce.

The earliest works in the exhibition, dating from the mid-1990s, include plate and tile-based pieces that reflect Rosen’s traditional training and interest in nature. Flora, birds, cycles of life and decay are referenced. Stacked sandwich-style, as in “Sample” (1999), her tile pieces suggest layers of the earth.

Also are on view are “mashup” and bundled constructions, created from 2005 until about 2015. Separate ingredients are bound together with wire or rubber strips in these works.

“Untitled #100 (Twig)” (2005-06) contains fired ceramic tubular forms resembling tree branches.

Larger mashups feature bunches of forms mounted on creatively conceived armatures, like wheeled carts. Piled high with biomorphic-looking objects that appear barely held in place, these assemblages seem ready to topple. Rosen generates tension from such appearances of
instability.

A few years ago, Rosen began making moundlike sculptures — smaller works resembling tilting haystacks, rocky cliffs and melting snowmen. Particularly striking is the entertainingly titled “Boogaloo” (2015), a fired black-and-white ceramic mass with cracked glaze and a primordial
look.

On the walls surrounding the sculpture displays are large-scale drawings and paintings on paper, some created as sketches for her clay pieces and some stand-alones. Like her sculptures, these two-dimensional works, which include the dynamic “Tube II” (2012), reflect an interest in painterly gesture.

IF YOU GO

Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped

Where: Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F.

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except through 8 p.m. Thursdays and closed Wednesdays; through Jan. 19

Tickets: $12 to $14; free for 18 and younger

Contact: (415) 655-7800, www.thecjm.orgMuseums and GalleriesVisual Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

 

“Boogaloo” is fired ceramic work from 2015. (Courtesy the artist; Anglim Gilbert Gallery; P.P.O.W.)

“Boogaloo” is fired ceramic work from 2015. (Courtesy the artist; Anglim Gilbert Gallery; P.P.O.W.)

“Untitled #100 Twig” is made of fired ceramic and rubber inner tube. (Courtesy the artist; Anglim Gilbert Gallery; P.P.O.W.; photo by Lee Fatherree)

“Untitled #100 Twig” is made of fired ceramic and rubber inner tube. (Courtesy the artist; Anglim Gilbert Gallery; P.P.O.W.; photo by Lee Fatherree)

Just Posted

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
 <ins></ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

California is set to receive supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Courtesy photo)
California could receive 380K doses of new J&J COVID vaccine next week

California could receive 380,300 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

A Bay Area Concrete Recycling facility that opened on PG&E property in 2019. Former PG&E employees have been accused of accepting bribes from Bay Area Concrete. (Courtesy of Bay Area Concrete Recycling via ProPublica)
Lawsuit reveals new allegations against PG&E contractor accused of fraud

By Scott Morris Bay City News Foundation Utility giant Pacific Gas &… Continue reading

Most Read