Published: January 18, 2016
NEW YORK CITY — The Jack Hanley Gallery presents “The Art of Salmagundi,” featuring the work of artist Amy Douglas, on view through February 7.
For her first exhibition here, the artist presents a series of Staffordshire figures that have been re-imagined through skilled restoration and hand painting. Douglas works only with figures that have been previously damaged and her interventions stem from the existing breaks, embracing an element of serendipity.
Trained and employed as a porcelain restorer, Douglas’s craftsmanship is such that her alterations are not always immediately obvious, which heightens the humorous impact of the figurines, deliberately causing the viewer to look twice. Titles for these sculptures have a tongue-in-cheek tone and are taken from literary and poetic sources such as Kate Tempest’s lyrics, which further transform the figurines from their original material.
“Salmagundi” is an old French and Middle English word referring to a miscellany or mixture of things. The artist works as a restorer of ceramics and decorative arts and she implements both modern and traditional techniques to mend and playfully alter broken Staffordshire figures she finds.
Staffordshire figures were prevalent features of Nineteenth Century British homes, bought at fairgrounds as “toys” and perched on the mantelpiece of the common man. Usually based on prints and pamphlets that advertised attractions at local country fairs, these figures depicted curiosities, celebrities and heroes of the day. The artist retains the essence of their original appearance but intervenes and augments the figures to create new, subtly irreverent sculptures that are equal parts witty and absurd.
The gallery is at 327 Broome Street. For more information, www.jackhanley.com or 646-918-6824.
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