BLACK AND BEYOND
Curator: Shlomit Baumann
Ester Beck's black abstract Clay Sculptures have a primal power. Within these black bodies, engrained veins of white porcelain and terracotta-grey-yellow clay meander like brushstrokes, enhancing the sense of wild but controlled movement. The works are formed by the artist from big, heavy blocks of clay in one continuous movement, like japanese calligraphy. This method freezes a moment in time between the fixed and fluid, the soft and rigid, the static and dynamic, the raw and the cultured. The works have an outer and inner life, the outside full of energetic lines, the inside drawing the viewer into mysterious cavernous depths. The artist raises these vessel sculptures onto narrow bases, giving them a sense of lift and making these very heavy pieces look light. Even though these vessels are non-functional, there is a distinct reference to the traditional container vessel and to the history of ceramics as a whole- Beck paying tribute to her professional roots.
"Beck stands in front of a moist lump of clay weighing between 80-100 kilos. She first examines it: What relationship will develop between the two of them? How will she affect it? How will it respond to her? Will it fall apart? This huge lump of material is not lying in front of her by chance. Beck prepared it with the meticulousness of a craftswoman with the wisdom of hands and sweeping energy, melding gentle layers of white, gray and brown matter into the black ceramics. The choice of colour and type of material usually brings to mind a geographical location or cultural context. Beck's choice of black matter indicates the very shedding of these contexts and a new correspondence with imagined landscapes. Therefore, her decision to repel all premises begins at the early stages of choosing the type of material to work with. Preparing it as a giant pile, like a kind of three-dimensional canvas, allows Beck to investigate the meanings of the raw materials we use and the relations she, as an artist has with them. Only then does the process with and on the matter begin. Through an intimacy between the body and the substance, and virtually no other means but her hands and basic aids, Beck stretches the material, explores it and pushes it to its limits, creating an abstract poetic construct. While she half-wrestles half-merges with the material as she shapes the object, a dynamics of control and flow materializes, moving from collapse to expansion, from structure to motion." Shlomit Baumann