Dharma Strasser MacColl: Lucent

March 26 – May 21, 2022

Traywick Contemporary is pleased to announce Lucent, an exhibition of new ceramic sculpture and works on paper by Bay Area artist Dharma Strasser MacColl in her fifth solo show at the gallery.

Trained as a sculptor, MacColl’s practice has long embraced a dedication to drawing and painting in three dimensions. She emphasizes the tactility of the objects she makes, keeping a close connection to traditional art media, but using it in unexpected ways to expand techniques of ceramics, sewing, and collage.

The new work featured in this show has been created in the time since lockdown first began, as MacColl moved between a home studio and her regular working space, which is located in an industrial neighborhood of former shipbuilding warehouses. The remnants of that former life – aging nautical chains and ropes – are reframed by the rogue plant life that has taken over the neglected corners of the area. This cyclical intersection of the built and the natural worlds is a constant theme and source of inspiration throughout MacColl’s practice.

The works on paper often start with accumulations of painted marks in gouache, and culminate in subtle, multi-layered surfaces to which she adds porcelain, thread, and leather; or from which she removes elements through intricate paper cutouts. The intrinsic physical properties of the materials are a primary focus in some works, while in others it is the related concern for how the materials respond to a variety of working processes. Experimenting with surprising applications of these materials often leaves behind traces of the artist’s hand, and invites both physical and perceptual encounters with the work.

MacColl’s ceramic sculptures amass within frames, emerge from surfaces, and drape off the wall. In both her medium-defying works on paper and in her new sculptures, MacColl strikes a thoughtful balance between the abstract and the referential, as objects from real life morph into gestural patterns and tactile compositions. Her unique approach with textural mark-making, and a physical building of forms, results in work that challenges conventional definitions.

Dharma Strasser MacColl received an MFA degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work is held in noted private and public collections including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; as well as Fidelity Investments, the Chevron Corporation and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Purchase the catalog

Dharma Strasser MacColl Lucent III, 2021

Lucent III, 2022. Gouache, porcelain on paper, 30 x 30″

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