Christopher Russell • Artwork

Press: Pollination Exhibit

Press Release

Neeta Madahar and Christopher Russell
January 8 - February 28, 2009

Julie Saul Gallery
535 West 22nd Street 6th floor
New York, NY 10011

photo of Pollination exhibition

We are pleased to announce a two person exhibition entitled Pollination combining unique Cibachrome photograms by Neeta Madahar and glazed ceramic sculptures by Christopher Russell. This will be Madahar’s third show with the gallery and Russell’s premier show.

Madahar's Cosmoses is a series of large-scale photograms made with origami cosmos. Each flower was made by the artist- a systematic process that required extreme concentration and a delicate relationship between the eye, hand and mind. The flowers are made in varying paper thicknesses and colors and scattered across the photographic paper in complete darkness, before exposing the paper to light. What appears to be casual and random is actually a rigorous and detailed process. The project was inspired by her work with an astronomer during the course of planning her Falling series in which she combined an image of a star filled night sky with a multitude of falling Sycamore leaves. The overwhelming magnitude of time and distance produced a sublime experience for Madahar which she seeks to recreate in these works. The actual photographic paper used is color, but the works range from monochromatic to brightly colored, depending on the flowers used. They are cameraless and each work is unique.

Christopher Russell creates highly detailed incredibly lifelike yet monochromatic ceramic works based on nature. For the last three years he has been exploring the intense world of bees through a series of ceramic sculptures which come out of a tradition of scientific models and the decorative arts. Some are reliefs representing bees in hives, or dramatically enlarged images of pollen. Others are free standing sculptures which bring together birds, bees, flowers, thistles into highly fanciful and seductive compositions. In the pollen works Russell is using traditional techniques to create objects based on very contemporary sources- electron microscopes. Other compositions are inspired by historical sources such as Audubon prints and Dutch still lives. He uses a deep golden colored glaze, which has the appearance of honey and also separates the work from more traditional glazed ceramic works.

Although in many ways the works of Madahar and Russell are very different, they share a sensual and sublime celebration of nature and an obsession with fabrication and process in their exquisite craft. Like the process of pollination in nature their work combines seduction and science.

Russell’s work is currently on exhibit in a group show entitled “Specimen: representing the Natural World” at Rutgers University and was shown last summer at Wave Hill in Riverdale. He studied at Wesleyan University and lives and works in New York.

Madahar lives outside of London and received an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has shown extensively in the US and the UK- and she recently had a video called Solstice commissioned by the Film and Video Umbrella and shown at Harewood House and the Aspex Gallery in the UK. Among the many public collections which include Madahar's work are the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, The Kemper and Nelson Atkins Museums in Kansas city, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.