The Boston Globe

"In clay, small forms and networks"

By Cate McQuaid - GLOBE CORRESPONDENT, JUNE 23, 2015

"Each of Nathan Prouty’s works at Lacoste Gallery centers around a small clay form that stands bravely upon, or recedes shyly into, a sparkling stage covered with glitter and resin.

He titles each work after a song from Joni Mitchell’s brilliant, brooding 1976 album, “Hejira.” “Coyote (Gumbell)” refers to a song about an affair with a man from another world. It features two coiled strands of gray standing like a skewed birthday candle on a green-tinged, seriously slumping cylinder. It all happens against a gaudy backdrop of glittering purple.

Perhaps the gray coil and the green cylinder are mismatched lovers. It doesn’t really matter; Prouty’s audacious stages launch his tiny, blushing ceramic pieces into mythic territory. It’s vulnerability in the spotlight, naked and endearing."



"Nathan Prouty’s mixed-media ceramic sculptures at Lacoste Gallery are often no larger than a cereal bowl, but each is a nuanced feast of texture, color, and form. That all sounds quite serious (and it is), but the first thing that draws you into one of these pieces is its comedy, which springs from formal juxtapositions — it’s like seeing a pile of worms on a robot’s head, topped with a beret. Or a doughnut.

Look at “The Bammer’s Rakish Angle.’’ A soft, narrow-brimmed fedora shape in cantaloupe orange, topped with a pompom of blue ribbons, fastened with a glittery gold button. “Negley Farson’’ looks like a powder blue Cousin Itt in an orange party hat. In “Doola,’’ a white, red-speckled earthenware hump with a gray tongue sticking out loiters beneath a glossy but nonetheless daunting black cloud.

This artist is exquisitely attendant to detail. His finishes — speckles, marble textures, powdery surfaces — are intense. He crafts a small pedestal for each piece, which adds another formal twist. “Negley Farson’’ stands on a round pedestal topped with yellow, its white sides fanning out; and the orange underneath casts a reflection on the surface it sits on. Prouty’s colors burn gently. He uses long strips of clay that more resemble linguine than ceramics. In fact, these pieces have nothing of clay’s usual earthiness. They look like a toddler’s toys, except that all the massaged details proclaim that they’re far more precious than that."

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