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New Sculptures. March 2017

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“On My Way”, 18 x 24 x 30″

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“Seeking Bird”, 18 x 30 x 24″

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“White With Flame”, 24 x 32 x 22″

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“Almost Captured”, 20 x 32 x 28″

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“Liberation”, 36 x 20 x 20″

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“Almost Free”, 40 x 22 x 20″

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“Orange Maze”, 96 x 60 x 55″

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Freedom Series #6, 160 x 60 x 55″

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“Overlapping Birds”, 32 x 28 x 20″

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“Double Dimension”, 50 x 60 x 48″

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“Double Dimension” side view

photos by Gary Mamay

 

March 15th, 2017|Current Post|

Journey of the Kiln

In 1960 I was working in clay, and my mother-in-law gave me an amazing gift: $2000 to buy a large state-of-the-art gas kiln. My husband at the time asked me “Wouldn’t you rather have a mink coat?”, but I persevered with the kiln purchase. It was an incredible asset to my work. It made it possible to make huge clay sculptures I would not have been able to make otherwise, and to entirely fill the Pindar Gallery in NYC (2500 square feet!) with five solo shows over ten years.
I’ve long since moved on to work in metal, and sold the kiln recently to the art department of Ocean County College in Tom’s River, NJ. Professor Lisa K Cecere came with four of her students to load the kiln for transport. They were a joy: so animated and delighted to see so much large-scale work in clay. Later I was forwarded this email from Lisa:

“Please tell Phyllis that my students so enjoyed meeting her…as did I.
We had dinner on the road…and they were just enamored. It was lovely as they exchanged stories of the conversations each one had with Phyllis and they each came away with something different. But concluded the same thing….how wonderful it was to spend the afternoon there.
They story of our day will be talked about with my other students for quite sometime.”

WORKING ON LARGE SCULPTURES

November 25th, 2015|Current Post|

Ancestors

 

My great grandparents on my father’s side, Mary Gillis McSween and Hugh McSween. Mary was a full-blood Mi’kmaq Indian, from Nova Scotia, adopted by the Gillis family. She lived to be 107 years old, and eventually moved to Lynn, Massachusetts at the end of her life.

 

 

Mary Mac Donald McSween

November 25th, 2015|Current Post|

New sculptures in process

New work in process in the studio. circles 2This series is destined for the United Nations Plaza in New York City. Installation will take place in May 2016.
Circle 1 circles 3

October 7th, 2015|Current Post|

New Sculptures! July 2015

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July 8th, 2015|Current Post, Current Sculptures|

Stoneware Sculptures From the 1970’s

phyllis with clay people

why she bottles them

clay people

clay people 2

clay people cover

June 24th, 2015|Current Post|

Pictures from the exhibition: May 23. 2015

Scenes from my opening at Chase-Edwards Gallery.

This is a two person show, with painter Athos Zacharias.

 

Photo Nick Tarr  Athos Zacharias Phyllis at The Chase Edwards Gallery (2)

With Athos Zacharias, in front of a wall of his paintings. Photo by Nick Tarr.

opening1

photo by John Musnicki.

opening2

photo by John Musnicki

opening3

photo by John Musnicki

opening4

photo by John Musnicki

opening5

photo by John Musnicki

opening6

photo by John Musnicki

opening7

photo by John Musnicki

opening8

photo by John Musnicki

opening9

photo by John Musnicki

Red spiral

photo by John Lamparski

Shari Kathrine Phyllis at The Chase Edwards Gallery

photo by John Lamparski

May 27th, 2015|Current Post|

“Everlasting Color” opens May 23, 2015

Everlasting Color jpg_Page_1

This is the announcement for my upcoming two-person show, “Everlasting Color”, at Chase-Edwards Gallery in Bridgehampton, with painter Athos Zacharias. The opening is Saturday, May 23, from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

“Everlasting Color” explores the meaning of what both Zacharias and Hammond continue to follow with the tradition of what the Abstract Expressionists cultivated during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Hammond and Zacharias were among a fertile circle of colleagues and friends such as Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, and the plethora of contemporary artists who continue to live and work on the east End of Long Island.

This exhibition explores a history in movement through playful light and color, contributing to its course through their creativity and aesthetic understanding within.

Chase-Edwards Gallery, 2462 Main Street, Bridgehampton, NY

631-604-2204

Chaseedwardsgallery.com

May 8th, 2015|Current Post|

The Noyes Museum, 1985

New York Times April 7, 1985
CLAY THAT QUALIFIES AS SCULPTURE
By PATRICIA MALARCHER

02 1981Clay Container

 

OCEANVILLE

THE word ”sculptural” is being used in craft circles as an umbrella term for almost anything that is neither flat nor symmetrically round.

It might refer to a bent earring or a table with curving legs. Often, it is used as an alternative to ”functional”; occasionally, it seems to be an attempt to find merit in pots that do not hold water any way that you look at them.

It restores one’s sense of values to find a body of work in a craft-related material that is, without question, not only ”sculptural,” but also ”sculpture.”

Filling that description are works in clay by Phyllis Baker Hammond of Briarcliff, N.Y., that are being exhibited at the Noyes Musuem here through May 19.

Several years ago, Miss Hammond’s work was seen frequently in craft exhibitions in the New York metropolitan area. In the late 1970’s, her distinctive signature was a cylinder two or three feet tall with a window-like opening that revealed a portion of a face within it.

Now, using the architectural column, rather than the vessel, as a reference, Miss Hammond has transformed her original imagery by turning it outward and compounding it. The resulting works combine a contemporary attitude toward clay with a neo-classical spirit.

Dominant among Miss Hammond’s 10 pieces are several seven-foot monoliths built of stoneware slabs with ragged edges set on the vertical. The clay itself, sparsely glazed or dusted with a powdery substance, retains the look of its earthen origins. The cracks and fissures formed naturally during the construction and firing emphasize that character.

Around the tops, serving as the capitals on pillars, a variety of enigmatic faces appear to emerge and recede.

The artist’s stated intention is to convey the impression of excavated structures. In doing so successfully, she also reminds the viewer that clay has been viewed sometimes as a metaphor for the human body.

These works are stately, haunting presences that seem startlingly alive. They look completely at home on the landing of the museum’s wide corridor and in the court outside the window walls.

Perhaps their compelling quality lies in their multiple levels of ambiguity. The faces, male and female, appear to have been molded from both classical statues and actual people. They express serenity while seeming to exist in the tumult of creation. They seem timeless and also to be witnessing the passage of time.

In a series of wall pieces, the artist has extended her explorations into the format of relief.

One work that stands apart – entitled ”Gateway” and dated 1980 – seems more primitive than classical. Strangely, its lintel at the top is high enough to walk beneath, but the space between the posts is too narrow to enter.

Considering the evolution of Miss Hammond’s work, it is tempting to see in this piece a mark of personal transition, a passage of birth to a new dimension of artistic growth.

The Noyes Museum is on Lily Lake Road in this Atlantic County community and is accessible from Exit 48 of the Garden State Parkway. Hours are 11 A.M. to 4 P.M., Wednesday through Saturday, and noon to 4 P.M. on Sundays. Information: (609) 652- 8848.

Miss Hammond also is exhibiting a different set of works at the Pindar Gallery, 127 Greene Street, New York, through April 27.

April 22nd, 2015|Current Post|

Excavations

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This essay was written by my dear friend, William Barrett. He was a professor of philosophy at New York University,  an editor of Partisan Review, and later the literary critic of The Atlantic Monthly. The essay appeared in the catalog accompanying my solo exhibition of clay sculptures at Pindar Gallery, NYC, in 1983.

Excavations: Sculptures in Clay by Phyllis Hammond

When it comes to clay as a medium for serious art, we Americans tend to take an ambiguous attitude. We are willing to grant full honors to the craftsman, to the ceramicist and the potter, but we are likely to be far less open to the possibilities of clay for a freer and bolder kind of aesthetic expressions. Phyllis Hammond challenges this assumption, and that is one reason, among others, why she is a significant figure at the present time.

Not that she would, in any way, demean the art of the craftsman. On the contrary, her background and credentials here are impeccable; she is herself a ceramicist of taste and elegance, trained and disciplined in her craft. But the imagination is a driving force that sometimes acts in its own mysterious ways. A few years ago tiny faces and figures began to peep out of the vases and urns she was creating. They would not be suppressed, they insisted on being born. The procession of such figures has continued ever since getting ever freer, bolder and more expressive.

The evolution from craftsman to artist here has been one of the authentic developments in recent art. It is not a matter of contrivance, but comes from the depths of the artist’s imagination and unconscious. These figures forced their way forward; they would not be denied – they insisted upon being born. And perhaps this struggle to be born may be taken as the theme of her work.

In all of this she has, nevertheless, remained true to clay as her chosen medium. She has not gone over to other materials for her sculpture. Her work reminds us what powerful medium clay can still be, if we would but take it seriously and passionately. After all, the discovery of the potter and his wheel stands at the awesome beginnings of our civilization, and that is enough to shake the imagination.

However, Hammond soars, she does not leave the clay. The procession of haunting enigmatic figures that emerge in her work are struggling either to be born of the primordial earth, or are in the process of sinking back into it. They are figures either from a vanished civilization, or from one that has not yet been born – perhaps, both at once. And because we are all engaged, in one way or another, in our own personal struggles to be born, they are images that engage us all. Certainly, they are almost the more haunting and powerful figures given us by a recent art, and Hammond has already established herself as an artist of rare originality and force.

William Barrett

April 22nd, 2015|Current Post|