Olio – Darren Emenau
September 14 – December 29, 2018
Darren Emenau’s creations emerge through unharnessed and playful explorations of form and materials. As the title suggests, showcased in Olio is a miscellaneous collection of hand-made ceramic objects ranging from irregularly-shaped vessels to wall-oriented pieces. The works featured are the culmination of a fertile period of experimentation resulting in innovative leaps for the artist. New forms were developed, dramatic shifts in scale employed, and new objects conceived within the context of contemporary installation. Among the new creations are vessels of varying sizes that resemble exaggerated clubs. The stretched and slender tubes are grounded by rounded bases and, when arranged in a row, the stance of each exerts a quirky, unique confidence. Also featured is an installation in which Emenau has stripped away all references to the utilitarian. These arranged works incorporate dozens of organic forms that evoke globular organisms or otherworldly rocks. When viewed en masse the objects are like unearthed fragments from unknown terrain.
Emenau’s lush surfaces are imbued with nature’s essence. Their simple elegance seems effortless and disguises the technical skill required for creating such elemental forms. Developed through intense experimentation, Emenau’s glazes are remarkable for their color saturation. Hues range from acidic yellow-green to intense blue tones, and from mossy green to pale peach-pink. As a result of his glaze application, and transformation in the kiln, the raised cracked textures bring to mind lichen, bark or the parched, cracked earth. Through these invented forms, Emenau affirms that rustic can also be delicate.
Darren Emenau is at home in the country and the city, settings he draws on for raw material and inspiration. Working under the phonetic tag MNO, his ceramics reflect the natural and industrial landscapes of his New Brunswick home. MNO experiments with clay and glaze, a magic union of science and art, to create the uncanny textures, vivid colours and signature forms that are his trademark.
Each MNO artwork is imbued with the energy of its sources and the vision of its creator. Material, form and finish are in harmony in these deeply integrated artifacts. Simultaneously contemporary and ageless, MNO works are conduits between people and landscapes.
(Read on below.)