Pamela Irving + Karen Ami

Special Exhibit @ SOFA Expo, Chicago Navy Pier

1-3rd November 2019

The exhibition then moves to The Gallery of Contemporary Mosaic and opens on November 14th until January 2020

On Saturday 2nd November from 3-4 pm Irving + Ami will give a public lecture @ SOFA

Savage Liaisons

Savage Liaisons is an exhibition that is the result of an ongoing artistic collaboration between two artists who, through experimentation in sculptural mosaics, have developed a visual partnership in their respective studios 9,670 miles apart. This show explores aspects of identity through the artists’ processes of utilizing their shared language of storytelling through interpretations of masks and facades in both classical and unexpected mosaic materials.

In Savage Liaisons, artists Karen Ami (Chicago, USA) and Pamela Irving (Melbourne, Australia) expand upon their individual practices and ongoing visual discourse manifested in their mosaics and drawings. Pulling inspiration from roles of characters in both American and Australian cultures, the artists explore dualistic qualities in the form of masks that reference contemporary icons and personalities. Ami and Irving each incorporate materials which challenge the norm; their methodology questions the traditions that exist within contemporary mosaic. This unique and shared language incorporates handmade ceramic pieces, broken china, byzantine glass, and miscellaneous objects that connects us viscerally to both the past and present worlds.

These artists reinterpret definitions of the mosaic art form and break the boundaries of traditional studio practice. Ami and Irving have the same veins of material training and education in art history, ceramics, sculpture and mosaics. The two met over a decade ago while leading their newly formed Mosaic Arts organizations in their respective countries. Both artists have become outliers and influencers in the modern mosaic movement. Their aesthetic connections- appreciation for fetish objects, underground humor, as well Paul Klee and Picasso– became the basis for an ongoing trade of work conversation and a visual chemistry, culminating in several exhibitions, despite their geographical differences.

Karen Ami utilizes handmade, inscribed broken ceramic pieces in her narratives. Her use of textured and incised ceramic slabs are imbued with words and hackneyed marks. Within her artworks lie fragmented stories, poems and drawings that inform and become the skin to her sculptural figures and tablets. Pamela Irving is a storyteller who uses playful and humorously menacing imagery to deliver her narratives. She uses found ceramics, old china, pottery, back stamps and other elements on her lively sculptural figures. The history of each fragment is often integral to the figures, giving each work its own voice.

Savage Liaisons questions the traditions that exist within contemporary mosaic and show an artistic interaction between the personalities around and within the works by artists working on opposite sides of the world. This exhibition showcases Ami and Irving’s powerful voices that break preconceptions of the mosaic art form and display a visual rhetoric that melds shared stories, journeys and the depths of artistic expression. by the Gallery for Contemporary MosaicsREAD ESSAY