John Yau reviews the exhibition Joyce Robins: Paint and Clay at THEODORE: Art, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through July 20, 2014.
Yau writes: "Robins isn’t a ceramics artist so much as an abstract artist working in ceramics and, in that regard, her work shares something with the abstract ceramic pieces of Mary Heilmann and Norbert Prangenberg. What distinguishes her work from these two artists, as well as from ceramic artists, is the dance she sets in motion between clay’s susceptible materiality and color’s gossamer light. The way spots of various colors define a loose grid of indentations conveys Robins’ quiet mastery... as with her paintings from the mid-70s – the ceramic pieces invite the viewer to get lost in the looking, to experience a pleasure at once solid and elusive, in which inevitable change is a component. Inspired by the finger marking she saw on the clay-covered walls at Rouffignac in the Dordogne, Robins’ abstract ceramic paintings – I know of no other way to adequately characterize them – are both primal and sophisticated, visual and visceral."