Koren Christofides: A Medieval Modern Bestiary
Turning to ceramics in 2007 at Atelier Buffile in Aix-en-Provence, France, where she was encouraged by proprietors Vincent and Monique Buffile, Koren Christofides’ approach to clay sculpture is bound to her background as an art historian, painter, curator and printmaker. Each experience has left its mark on her art, seen in depth in her second solo show at Gallery IMA in Seattle, Washington (USA). As an art historian married to another art historian, Constantine Christofides, the artist spent twelve years living in France, including a stint as artist-in-residence at the Institute for American Universities in Aix. Her current work combines exaggerated mask faces with spontaneous-looking hand-building that recalls Abstract Expressionist pioneer ceramist James Leedy more than his erstwhile colleague Peter Voulkos. Viola Frey (assemblage, bricolage) also comes to mind, but the frequently tilted positions and blasted passages of glaze point toward indigenous or folk ceramics, as in North Carolina face jugs, Mayan tripod vessels, and Japanese mingei wares. Ultimately, Christofides (who now lives in Manhattan) has achieved the “complex narrative in three-dimensional form” she desires, albeit with a series of delightfully distracting detours that form the central viewing experience.