Maxwell Mustardo’s exploration of ancient design and the evolution of vessels captivates audiences in his recent exhibition, The Substance of Style, hosted at Culture Object. Through a playful examination of containers and earthenware, Mustardo revives the ornamental motif of gadrooning, drawing inspiration from Roman sarcophagi and neoclassical aesthetics. His series of bulging amphorae, known as Gadroons and Anthropophorae, boasts stippled lava glazes, PVC coatings, and vibrant colors that create an illusion of floating, wobbling, and glowing sculptures. The exhibition, on display until October 28, invites viewers to reconsider the function and form of these artful creations, solidifying Mustardo’s place in the realm of contemporary ceramic sculpture.
September 14, 2022
Gadrooning, an ornamental motif consisting of a series of tapered convex or concave curves, is derived from the decorative exteriors of Roman sarcophagi and antiquities. Renaissance artisans revisited it in the 16th century, and it re-emerged in the neoclassical revival of the 18th and 19th centuries. Referencing ancient designs and what he describes in a statement as the “broad, reverential notions of the vessel,” Maxwell Mustardo playfully examines the function of containers and earthenware over time.
In his gourd-like Gadroons and pudgy Anthropophorae—a series of bulging amphorae—a range of stippled lava glazes complement shocking hues or shimmering PVC coatings. Vibrant colors and swollen forms resemble balloons or 3D renderings displayed on a bright screen, and the resulting perception-bending, flocked-like surfaces make the pieces appear to be floating, wobbling, and glowing.
You can see Mustardo’s work at Culture Object through October 28 in a solo exhibition titled The Substance of Style. More information can also be found on his website and Instagram.
Maxwell Mustardo’s innovative approach to reinterpreting the ancient gadrooning motif in contemporary ceramic sculpture serves as a testament to the enduring influence of historical aesthetics. By infusing his creations with vibrant colors and striking textures, Mustardo prompts viewers to reconsider the boundaries between art and function, inviting them to embark on a journey of exploration through the evolution of vessel design. The exhibition, showcasing Mustardo’s masterful fusion of tradition and modernity, not only showcases the artist’s creative prowess but also underscores the significance of historical inspiration in shaping contemporary artistic expression. Mustardo’s thought-provoking works at the Culture Object exhibition, The Substance of Style, resonate with a timeless allure, affirming his position as a distinguished figure in the world of modern ceramic sculpture.