Shining Desert

Roberts Projects May19th – June 23rd, 2018

Dear Michael,

I thought about your new ceramics some more, and in my mind I keep hearing these two words: Shining Desert. It’s a song by John Frusciante. In part the lyrics, although fairly ambiguous, allude to the making as for instance in the lines: 

Put it on a flat space height will make it thin or wide

Seen from a distance objects hide in plain sight

Semantically more interesting though: I feel that you are putting yourself into the desert of art history. Here, a sun bigger than our texts has evaporated the once teaming rivers of periods and -isms. Standing in the dusty riverbeds of that history there is resonance of the past, as it has shaped and formed the landscape. But now, with the water gone, everything is still. Timeless. For a moment. The sediments of remote eras visible in front of you, they are all of interest to your investigation, which doesn’t care about categories. There is great freedom in that. And also great enthusiasm, or dare I even say faith. The outcome is both growth and form, at once biological and architectural, lived as well as contemplated… But porous as those drawings in clay are, more image than vessel… Post-Water… 

They also remind me of Tatooine, they look alien (kind of like George Lucas’s architecture is a mash-up of ‘world history’ seen through a modernist lens pointed at The Wiltern). Or: Portraits of Lawrence of Arabia as Unglazed Stoneware. These tragicomical clay bodies reference the notion of the romantic individualist we aspired to become when we signed up for an arts education. An education that has taught us about the periods, -isms, styles, and our place within the scheme. Making both, scientists and poets – wanderers above the sea of sand.

Beste Grüße,


Text by Marcus Herse, an artist, educator and curator currently based in Los Angeles.