Porcina’s lecture traced the evolution of his work from early interests in large-scale steel sculpture through his adoption of clay as a medium, interests in throwing vessel forms and move to more sculptural concerns, to the works in his current graduate thesis exhibition at Le Petit Trianon. Consider the medium- specific basis of his practice: his use of clay and of ceramic techniques (initially throwing, then hand building).
In looking at the works at Le Petit Trianon, it is evident that the artist has, nevertheless, made strategic decisions not to utilize certain ceramic techniques: notably, casting and glazing. The works seen here are all hand built, with essentially monochromatic matt surfaces. In recreating recognizable existing objects, an obvious approach would have been, like Clint Neufeld, whose work is included in Rural Readymade, to cast them. The consistent, unglazed clay surfaces of Porcina’s work establish a distance from the original objects and introduce a level of abstraction. Consider the effects of the processes used in the production of these works. In considering the relationship of the works to existing objects, and the way that we approach these works, you might further consider scale. (…)
In an adjoining room, ceramic sculptures that incorporate electric light fixtures, their cables extending to the wall sockets, are installed. Plugged in, light becomes an element of the installation. Engaging the contained space of the room, sculpture and light create an installation on an architectural scale.
(…) In this context, consider the move from sculpture as single discreet object towards installation. In a further and final gesture to engage the space and interior architecture of the gallery (after the works had been installed), Porcina angled a chair against the wall in the larger space. Consider the character of the exhibition space, somewhat dilapidated, a bit musty, the exposed brick walls revealing signs of aging. Countering this are notions of the gallery as white cube (a pristine interior space, set apart from the ‘real world’ for the contemplation of visual art). Keeping in mind the exhibition space and installation strategy, suggest the relationship of the work to the space. Can the works here be understood as site specific? Do you see this exhibition reflecting a new concern with site specificity in Porcina’s art?
Encountered here, with their references to the mechanical infrastructure of buildings – the plumbing, pipes, ducts and conduits that signalled modernity a century ago – Porcina’s sculptures generate an evocative relationship with this interior architecture (perhaps evoking modernism’s decay, modernism’s ruins). Reflecting on your experience of the exhibition, you might speculate on possible ranges of meaning.
-Excerpt from a review in Art NOW, Fall 2012 issue 3261/3262
To read the full article click here, or you can read a bio of Mark Porcina written by the SAAG