Stanley Rosen “Shaping Space”

steven harvey fine art projects

poster for Stanley Rosen “Shaping Space”
[Image: Stanley Rosen "Cover of Shaping Space" (with image of Untitled (#49) (1960s) stoneware clay, 3.5 x 11.5 x 12.5 in.]

This event has ended.

“Stanley’s sculptures draw us into that arm’s length mode of attention. In the presence of sculpture it can be a slightly disorienting place to be. Close yet opening up to enigmatic vastness. What Gaston Bachelard called intimate immensity.”

-Mary Barringer

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects presents our second exhibition of the 94 year old ceramic sculptor Stanley Rosen. Entitled Shaping Space the exhibition is presented in coordination with a new monograph on the artist published by Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects.

Kate Butler’s central essay in Shaping Space focuses on Rosen’s early work from the 1960’s. She writes, “By withholding space and elements from view, Rosen’s vessel sculptures of the 1960s invite beholders into the introspective state of mind that he himself brought to the process.” Butler continues:

“Rosen’s body of work, in particular, his vessel-based sculptures of the 1960s and ‘70s, represent a unique approach to abstraction in the U.S. post-World War II. His works of this period reflect a more contemplative reception of Abstract Expressionism in ceramics, a trend articulated by Rose Slivka in “The New Ceramic Presence” in 1961. In their allusions to architectural or inhabited space, Rosen’s vessel sculptures uniquely engaged with the large-scale sculptures of Tony Smith, who taught at Bennington during Rosen’s first two years there. While Smith framed encounters with actual, physical space, Rosen created small-scale spaces that reflect an embodied experience of being. Constructed through a kinetic process involving piecing together pinched clay pieces, his sculptures give form to the emptiness that undergirds physical reaity, what Rosen has referred to as ‘the void.’”

Stanley Rosen’s objects range from pieces that resemble ancient dwellings to chalice like forms and shapes from natural history. References are complex and myriad, including fossils, Japanese architecture, ancient vessels and architectural forms from ancient civilizations. They include a series of alligator sculptures from the 1980’s. His work is often unglazed giving it a wonderful raw, earthy texture. Certain works are made with the technique of pinching to create repetitive and rhythmic patterns of tiny forms.

Stanley Rosen was born in Brooklyn in 1926. His family came from Poland and sold kosher chickens. At the age of 18, he served in the Navy at the end of World War II, where he was posted to Japan and China. There he had an experience of “a consuming beauty: mountains coming down into the bay, foliage, and Shinto markers.” On the GI Bill he attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied with Gilbert Franklin and Lyle Perkins. Rosen began to work with clay there and afterwards attended Alfred University College of Ceramics for his MFA. After graduating in 1956, Lyle Perkins introduced him to Greenwich House Pottery in New York City, where he took a job as studio manager. At Greenwich House, Rosen met and traded work with Peter Voulkos. Greenwich House helped prepare him for teaching at Bennington College. Rosen arrived at Bennington in 1960. Rosen found himself at the center of a profound conversation on abstraction with artists present including Anthony Caro, David Smith, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski and Paul Feeley, Karen Gover wrote in Ceramics Monthly, “In some ways, Rosen’s ceramic sculptures can been seen as a modernist investigation of the relation between medium and form.”

Rosen was an influential teacher of ceramics at Bennington College for 31 years (1960-1991). All the while he was reticent about sharing his work, even with his students. In 2016, at the age of 90, he had his first solo exhibition at The Bennington Museum titled Holding the Line, which then travelled to the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum later that year. In October 2017, SHFAP presented the first recent gallery exhibition of Rosen’s work titled, Beginnings. New York’s Museum of Art and Design acquired a group of works from the sculptor that were on view in an exhibition titled New Acquisitions in fall of 2017. His work was included in a group exhibition, Excavation, at Peter Blum Gallery in 2018. In December 2018, SHFAP presented Rosen’s work as a solo exhibition as part of the NADA Miami art fair.

Critical writing about Rosen’s work has appeared in Hyperallergic, Ceramics Monthly, and Sculpture Magazine. John Yau of Hyperallergic wrote, “Rosen’s ceramic sculptures are a revelation: they are like a country that many of us never knew was there until now.”



from January 06, 2021 to February 13, 2021


Stanley Rosen

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