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Eva Kwong: Love Between the Atoms

by Roald Hoffmann

Una, 2002. Porcelain, 6.5 x 12 x 6.5 in. Photo: Kevin Olds, courtesy Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art.

At first impression, “Love Between the Atoms,” the retrospective of Eva Kwong’s ceramics at the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art at Alfred University, is far from the atomic. Other qualities strike me—playfulness, organic formalism, and color. Three small vases with cactus-pear bulbs and tuberous chimneys rise from a polka-dotted color field; two large horned structures—Yellow Flow and Rapture—stand nearly four feet high, with fluid glazed striations carved through many layers of colorant. The organic theme grows from bulbous protuberances and little knobs that emerge from placid, even bulky substrates. Kwong’s palette, crafted mostly through colored slips, is derived, she says, “from the stained images of electron microscope slides.” To me, the pastel blues, pinks, and yellows also seem Southwestern. These ceramic sculptures are witty. Kwong has fun and does not take herself too seriously as she allows color and shape to play off each other.

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