Art often imitates life, but it doesn’t imitate tools very often. Matthias Merkel Hess, a local artist, is doing just that, though: creating art that could very easily be mistaken for things work with.
Instead of creating pots or vases or bowls he’s taking this idea into a slightly different–yet entirely logical–direction, creating vessels that can be used for the same purposes but are a little rawer. With heavy, splotchy glazes he creates his ceramics in the form of multiple gallon trashcans you’d find in a janitorial closet or a giant painter’s buckets you may see a painter use or a Kitchenaide stand mixer you find in most well-equiped kitchens. Yes, these are not bowls or vases; however, in their own way, they have become his visual means by which to express vessels.
Like any bowl or pot, his trashcans, buckets, crates, and even Kitchenaides serve the same purpose. Sure, you could put flowers in them and place them atop of a table or in a corner filled with pine cones for the holidays–sure: that can work. However, the size of them (as they are to scale) make putting a multiple gallon trashcan on top of a table pretty, pretty silly (or kind of cool because it’s so bizarre).
If Merkel Hess’ work looks somewhat familiar, it’s because we’ve (inadvertently) featured his work previously: he was a collaborator at FREECITY’s BASIC GOODNESS show a few months ago. He and show curator Monique van Genderen created the show’s coolest pieces: the Face Jugs. You can catch Merkel’s work up at Acme, where his show Bucketry is on view through December 21. And, if you can’t make it to the show, definitely check out a look at the show on his website.