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Cindy Kolodziejski (born 1962 in Augsburg, Germany) is a contemporary ceramic artist living and working in Venice, California. She has been showing her work in solo and group exhibitions since 1986 in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and is represented in public and private collections domestically and abroad.
The bodies of Kolodziejski’s vessels range from traditional forms such as teapots, urns, and tureens to adaptations of laboratory items such as beakers and separatory funnels. Some pieces are suspended from external frames; others are freestanding. She combines ornamentation from multiple sources, using slip-cast pieces molded from various objects and drawing from a wide variety of periods, styles, and uses. As Kolodziejski says:
I like to defy conventions about what goes with what. A vessel that ends up looking as though it sprang whole from the Victorian, the baroque, or the classical period will actually be a composite of forms as contemporary as a Windex bottle, as old-fashioned as a part from a 1930s lamp, as recognizable as watch gears. Yet the entire cast-and-assembled object will give the impression of going back at least a hundred years.
Kolodziejski’s ceramic vessels have smooth surfaces onto which she has painted figurative imagery. The content of this painting often features ironic formal, visual, and literal interplay, and frequently hinges on the use of suggestive puns. As Kolodziejski has said, “What I paint on one side is often in counterpoint to the opposite side. I like to combine images that are intentionally provocative, demanding consideration and contemplation from the viewer.” Some examples of juxtaposed imagery in Kolodziejski’s work include: Apollo and his chariot on one side with spacecraft from NASA’s Apollo missions on the other; an urn with twins in utero on one face and a pared apple on the other; and the torso of a woman as she fingers her pearl necklace opposite two hands peeling a cucumber.
Discussing Kolodziejski's use of this binary device and its relationship to the often sexual implications of her imagery, writer David Pagel has said:
Although cylinders, spheres, and other three-dimensional forms with curved surfaces have no "fronts" or "backs," Kolodziejski treats them divisively, consistently positioning pairs of images that cannot be seen simultaneously. For example, one "side" of Pearl Necklace (1999) presents a woman in a black evening dress rolling a single pearl of her long necklace between two fingers, as if utterly bored or more than slightly nervous. The other "side" of the slender, hourglass-shaped pitcher depicts a big green cucumber being peeled by a pair of hands. At the pitcher's thin "waist," the cucumber nearly disappears. Its extreme attentuation mirrors what actually happens to cucumbers when they're peeled too vigorously. To walk around the piece is to follow a brief recto-verso drama whose most resonant metaphors hit viewers of both sexes below the belt. Sometimes a cucumber is just a cucumber and a pearl necklace is not slang for a blowjob, but Kolodziejski's promiscuous pitcher suggests otherwise.
In another series, Kolodziejski has focused on biological and scientific imagery, painting skeletal structures, preserved animals, and various cellular groupings, for example. These images are often painted on ceramic forms in the shape of laboratory vessels such as separatory funnels suspended from metal clamps. On the subject of these works, Kolodziejski says:
My medium exists between painting, ceramics, and sculpture, aiming at a kind of conceptual drama. I work with composite forms, imagery, and implied narratives pushing these into the realm of extremes. My most recent body of work “Specimens” has been exploring hybrids of vintage chemistry glass forms, their metal support structures and the myriad of associations that develop when combining art and science. I see the forms as containers in which to fill with images – in some cases landscapes, cell studies, bubble patterns... My intent is to push my forms into areas of vertiginous distortion, matched only by the forking paths of my imagery, which range from mortality to sexuality to atmospheric environments.”
Kolodziejski's most recent collection of sculpture is titled Reversal of Fountain. She provides the following statement:
This recent body of work jumps off from the starting point of antique urinals. I have taken this form and played with several metaphors. The first being the obvious Duchampian reference to the urinal. Another metaphor is created by the use of seductive imagery, underwater scenes of women in various positions floating, swimming, seemingly at home in their underwater world, inviting and enticing you in. Other images of women are showering or drying themselves. There is also a meshing of the sea by way of fish tail forms, octopus tentacles and floating seaweed; these add to the fantasy world of these urinals. The openings of these forms are an invitation in themselves, they have elongated necks and some will be placed at crotch level suggesting, perhaps begging for insertion. They are playing off the idea of sexual fetish and fetish objects, glorifying their function with their elaborate decoration and gem-like quality.
In recent years, Kolodziejski has won awards from the Virginia A. Groot Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Durfee Foundation, and the City of Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1986 from Otis Art Institute, where she studied with ceramist Ralph Bacerra. In 1999 she completed a Masters of Fine Arts at CSU Long Beach, having studied there with ceramist Tony Marsh.
- Kolodziejski, Cindy. “Vessel as Canvas”, Ceramics Monthly, September 1995, p.55
- Koldziejski, Cindy. Statement accompanying portfolio for Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant, 2003
- Pagel, David. "Review of Cindy Kolodziejski at Frank Lloyd Gallery", Art Issues, September–October 1999, p.53
- Kolodziejski, Cindy. Artist’s statement accompanying Polymorphous, 2005
- Kolodziejski, Cindy. Artist Statement: Reversal of Fountain. 2007.
- Kolodziejski, Cindy. "Vessel as Canvas", Ceramics Monthly, September 1995, pp. 55–59.
- Luecking, Stephen. Statement in Cindy Kolodziejski, exhibition catalog published by Garth Clark Gallery, New York, New York in association with Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, 1999
- Luecking, Stephen. "Cindy Kolodziejski, Narrative Artist", Ceramics: Art and Perception, No. 40, 2000. pp. 84–88
- Lauria, Jo. "Pluperfect: The Painted Narrative Vessels of Cindy Kolodziejski", Ceramics: Art and Perception, No. 19, 1995. pp. 56–60.
- Pagel, David. Review of Cindy Kolodziejski exhibition at Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, CA. Art Issues, September/October 1999, p. 53.
Book and catalogues
- Clark, Garth. The Book of Cups, Abbeville Press, New York, 1990.
- ______. The Eccentric Teapot, Abbeville Press, New York, 1989.
- ______. The Artful Teapot. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001
- Douglas, Mary F., ed. Allan Chasanoff Ceramic Collection, Charlotte, North Carolina: Mint Museum of Craft + Design, 2000.
- Everson Museum, Fiction, Function, Figuration: The 29th Ceramic National, Midstate Printing Corp. New York, 1993.
- Lauria, Jo. Color and Fire – Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, 1950–2000. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 2000.
- Luecking, Stephen. Cindy Kolodziejski, Frank Lloyd Gallery, 1999.
- Pepich, Bruce and Jody Clowes. The Nude in Clay. Chicago: Perimeter Gallery, 1995.
- Peters, Lynn. Surface Decoration for Low-Fire Ceramics. Asheville, North Carolina: Lark Books, Asheville, 1999.
- Piche, Thomas, Jr. Everson Ceramic National 2000. Syracuse, New York: Everson Museum of Art, 2000.
- Scott, Paul. Painted Clay – Graphic Arts and the Ceramic Surface. London: A & C Black, 2001.
- Adkins, Gretchen, “The Tulip Vase,” Ceramics: Art and Perception 1996, Issue 26.
- Clowes, Judy. “Foot, Belly, Shoulder, Lip,” American Craft, June/July 1996.
- Duncan, Michael. “Cindy Kolodziejski at Frank Lloyd,” Art in America, February, 2000 p 137.
- Frank, Peter. “Pick of the Week”, LA Weekly, March 1–7, 2002.
- _______. “Pick of the Week” LA Weekly, March 18–24, 2005, p 142.
- Kolodziejski, Cindy. “Vessel as Canvas,” Ceramics Monthly, Volume 43, 1995, pp. 55–59.
- Glueck, Grace. “Corporal Identity- Body Language”. New York Times, December 19, 2003.
- Lauria, Jo. “Pluperfect – The Painted Narrative Vessels of Cindy Kolodziejski,” Ceramics Art and Perception, Issue 19/1995, pp. 56–60.
- Levin, Elaine. “Exhibitions,” American Ceramics 11/2 1994, p. 55.
- Luecking, Stephen. “Stories Seldom Told,” American Ceramics 10/1, 1992, pp. 40, 42 (illus.) p. 45.
- _______. “Cindy Kolodziejski Narrative Artist,” Ceramics: Art and Perception, No. 40, 2000.
- Roher, Trish Deitch. “Cindy Kolodziejski: Tempestuous Teapots,” Angeles, April 1990, pp. 54–57.
- Pagel, David.“Cindy Kolodziejski at Frank Lloyd”, Art Issues, September–October 1999, p. 53.
- _______. “Cindy Kolodziejski”, Los Angeles Times, Section F, February 27, 1998.
- _______. “Computer Tools Added to the Artist’s Palette”, Los Angeles Times, Section F, February 15, 2002.
- Wilson, William. “Review,” Los Angeles Times, Section F, September 9, 1997
- “Portfolio: Cindy Kolodziejski / Venice, CA,” American Craft, Vol. 55, No. 1 1995, p. 57