Overglazed: The Sculpture of Brian Rochefort

Brian Rochefort’s sculptures are an explosion of clay, texture, and color. His latest works are on view in New York at Van Doren Waxter in an exhibition titled “2030”.

Tulipe, 2018

Installation, Brian Rochefort “2030” at Van Doren Waxter, New York

Rochefort’s process involves firing, glazing, breaking, rebuilding, and RE-glazing ceramic vessels multiple times until, in his words: “as many glazes as possible until I can’t fire anymore.”

A distinct visual element of Rochefort’s work (beyond the chaos of glaze layers) is a smooth color gradient on each vessel, achieved with an airbrush on one of the final layers. Also worth noticing are the globs or streams of melted glass that drip down a few of the craggled forms.

Clam, 2018 (detail)

Born in 1985, Brian Rochefort grew up in Rhode Island and attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) before moving to Los Angeles where he currently lives and works. His “crater” sculptures are inspired by recent trips to Africa and Central/South America – notably the Amazon rainforest. The titles of his sculptures recall their connection to exotic nature: “Larvae”, “Extinction”, “Coral” and “Chytrid” (a type of dangerous fungus).

Though they celebrate the fantastical color combinations of flowers, birds, amphibians, and other animals he likely encountered within the most biologically diverse regions of our planet, the title of the show “2030” holds a darker message: 2030 is “the year that a United Nations panel has stated is the final year by which humans can effectively combat extreme climate change”.

Chytrid, 2018 (detail)

Installation, Brian Rochefort “2030” at Van Doren Waxter, New York

Clam, 2018

Pioneer, 2018 (detail)

Brian Rochefort “2030” at Van Doren Waxter, New York

Brian Rochefort “2030” at Van Doren Waxter, New York

Coral, 2018

“Brian Rochefort: 2030” is on view through February 16th at Van Doren Waxter’s intimate and sunlit 2nd floor gallery on the Upper East Side. When I visited on the 3rd day of the exhibition, all but one of the fifteen sculptures was sold (unsurprisingly). It’s confirmation that Rochefort is one to watch.

I’d also highly recommend following him on Instagram @energygloop.

Installation, Brian Rochefort “2030” at Van Doren Waxter, New York

What: Brian Rochefort: 2030
Where: Van Doren Waxter Gallery, 23 E 73rd St, 2nd Floor, New York, NY
When: January 9 – February 16, 2019

“Installation” Photographs by Charles Benton. Additional images taken by author, David Behringer. All Images courtesy of Van Doren Waxter Gallery and the artist