Kiln Gods

Kiln Gods show at Space 776 Gallery in NYC, Curated by Dasha Bazanova (Dec. 2022- Jan. 2023) Video by Dave Alexander

Space 776 is pleased to present a group exhibition of ceramic artworks. Curated by Dasha Bazanova.

Kiln Gods—that’s what potters call mythological guardians that supposedly bring good luck to kiln firings, it is small ceramic figures fashioned and placed on top of a kiln. From Homer’s Epigram’s fragment 14: “Potters, if you give me a reward, I will sing for you. Come, then, Athena [goddess of pottery], with hand upraised over the kiln. Let the pots and all the dishes turn out well and be well fired: let them fetch good prices and be sold in plenty in the market. Grant that the potters may get great gain and grant me to sing to them. But if you turn shameless and make false promises, then I call together the destroyers of kilns…”

Also, in many religions, gods create a human out of clay, or a human being is compared to pottery: In the Qurʾānic version of the story of Adam and Eve (related largely in surahs 2, 7, 15, 17, and 20), Allah (God) created Adam from clay but exalted him with such knowledge that the angels were commanded to prostrate themselves before him. From the Bible (James 4:14) Jars of clay are just like our earthly bodies in the sense that they are temporary holding places for treasure. 

Kiln Gods exhibition explores each artist as a god and protector of their creations, the various worlds they’re building, where clay becomes the vehicle for expression, from traditional busts by Dan Christoffel to strange shapes, scanned and 3-D clay printed by computer scientist Kiichi Takeuchi, and Susan Carr’s wood house with a ceramic vagina shoe painted in oil, the viewer gets an opportunity to enter that world. The period of time we spend on “God’s potter’s wheel” is our growth. The process of being “fired” in the kiln is what God, creator of the world, like an artist might use to bring their work to a hardened maturity.