Visual Art Source
Review by Robin Dluzen

Deborah Handler, "oncanononshoals," 2017, installation view at 65Grand. Photo: Robin Dluzen

Continuing through December 16. 2017

Gestural, hand-built ceramic sculptures are Chicago-based artist Deborah Handler’s M.O. In her current exhibition, “oncanononshoals,” a grouping of five large pieces on pedestals occupy the gallery’s central space. In each work curved forms are stacked vertically, held together with sculpted joiners and coated with dripping glazes. Handler’s untitled pieces have that unfinished aesthetic that is popular in fine art ceramics, though the nuances of these pieces reflect her facility and mastery of the medium.

These curved slabs of material maintain their verticality through a feat of relatively simple engineering, though the sensation of structural soundness is subverted by the precarious of their posture. Handler’s abstract stacks of glazed ceramic slouch and lean out of alignment. The height and form of these sculptures suggests a human scale, which is one of the reasons why Handler’s works don’t just illustrate the tension of instability, but powerfully instill that sensation within the viewer.