Zachary Leener uses a myriad of glazes and clay to create a complex network of shapes and forms that look more like drawings than they do ceramics. With a definite correlation with some of the more simple lines of Philipp Guston and gestures Richard Tuttle, Leener recreates simple patterns and shapes that echo anthropomorphism while remaining definitively abstract.
When looking as the work as a whole, it’s clear that there’s a standardized pattern in place. Shapes repeat themselves at all sizes, while small arches and stripes take on a central role. A group with the color scheme of primary colors, earth tones and pastels with highlights like the orange knot.
Here, the use of plants within the work creates tension between aesthetics and utility- abstracted from the necessary functions of a planter, the pieces signify how clay can be pushed further than just “simply ceramics”.
The work has syncopated rhythm that blends the light hearted and the severe, like a child’s dream at a serious dinner. A collection of candy, butter sticks, pasta and meatballs and yet with a shifting glance, illustrative fallen fingers and other bodily tools.With that said, although the work is glazed perfectly and looks complete in all regards it holds an imprint of the artist’s interaction with the material. Leener casts the insides of his clenched fist onto the clay as mark of process underneath a finished glaze.
Zachary Leener is both playful as he is hinting at the grostesque. While these forms look innocent enough, their dark romantic and formal poetry play a small sonata barely audible above the hum.