In Focus: Eric Serritella

CoBo Social Design and Architecture

Trompe-l’œil (French for “deceive the eye”) is an ancient artistic technique that uses realistic imagery to create an optical illusion. It was used to paint the frescoes in the grand Roman villas; on furniture crafted in ancient Egypt to accompany the royalty in stylish life after death; and in the Renaissance. To Eric Serritella, the internationally renowned ceramist, whose solo exhibition was opened this week at Jason Jacques Gallery, Trompe-l’œil has become the main tool in his personal language, the leading method in carving spectacular realistic sculptures in clay; they all look like weathered logs of trees that were taken from a Japanese moss garden, where the Wabi-Sabi elevates the aging to the ultimate beauty. It is hard to believe when looking at the work on the show which is so complex, labor-intensive, taking the medium to new horizons that Serritella began his career in pottery as amateur turning vessels on the potter wheel. The transformation happened in a seminar in Taiwan where he was first introduced to the magic of Trompe-l’œil traditionally utilized in historic Yixing teapots. The gallery space looks like the perfect setting for the show, made me feel as if I am visiting a Cabinet of Wonder, those encyclopedic collections of objects of natural history typical to the Renaissance men. The sculptures in the exhibition, are so ambitious, exquisite, and creative, rich in texture and color, where each has its own story, its own title, each tells a narrative from the inner world of the artist. While not inventing the technique, Serritella certainly pushed the envelope of the medium when creating enormous trees in stoneware, each functions as a spiritual teapot, and each is inspired by the natural world.



This article was first posted on Daniella on Design




Dr. Daniella Ohad is a design historian, educator, writer, and tastemaker, who received her Ph.D. degree from the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture. For the past two decades, she has been committed to education in design history and theory, history of the interior, material culture, and the decorative arts, with a special expertise in modern and contemporary design culture. She has taught in some of the world’s leading art institutions, and currently leads “Collecting Design: History, Collections, Highlights, the only program on collecting design at the New York School of Interior Design. Her articles and critiques have been published in magazines and peer-review journals, and she is a moderator in various design events across the globe. Dr. Ohad has been a member in various acquisition committees in NYC museums, and her blog Daniella on Design attracts hundreds of thousands of readers weekly. She lives and works in New York City.



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