Julia Haft-Candell, ceramic sculpture and details, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery, Los Angeles. (Photo: Nik Massey)
Artist Julia Haft-Candell’s mixed-media work reflects her concept of The Infinite—a philosophy of rethinking and creating new systems. Haft-Candell will further this exploration with related exhibitions, “The Yet To Be,” opening this fall at Pitzer College Art Galleries and at Night Gallery in Los Angeles.
At Pitzer, visitors will encounter an installation of large-scale ceramic sculpture and drawings; a library fitted with ceramic furniture and artist-selected books; events and a zine that will offer them a multi-layered experience of The Infinite.
“The Yet To Be,” which comprises “Hands/Feelers” and “The Infinite Library,” will be on view at Pitzer College Art Galleries from September 23 to December 8. A related exhibition, “The Yearning,” will run from November 11 to December 22 at Night Gallery in Los Angeles.
The Pitzer exhibition will take place in the Nichols Gallery (located in Broad Center) and The Lenzner Family Art Gallery (located in Atherton Hall). The exhibition is open to the public.
The Los Angeles Times has described Haft-Candell as a “sculptor who works with clay, making figurative forms that are innocent and physical, playful and primitive, gritty and transcendent.” Her work reflects the recent interest in ceramics as contemporary art, notably in reframing craft as a feminist practice.
Julia Haft-Candell (Photo credit: Brice Bischoff)
At Pitzer, the exhibition is curated by Ciara Ennis, director and curator of Pitzer College Art Galleries.
“The Infinite references origin stories and mythologies,” said Ennis. “It seeks to produce forms of knowledge unconstrained by conventional meaning and classifications. In the objects and environments Julia creates, she constructs sites for dreaming and reflection where the future can be imagined differently.”
Haft-Candell’s exploration of the concept of The Infinite is central to the Pitzer College exhibition and unfolds across two sites.
In “Hands/Feelers,” ceramic sculptures reference hands, depicted in poses suggestive of lounging, reclining, or standing figures. A series of Haft-Candell’s drawings represent elements of The Infinite Glossary, a written and visual lexicon that expands on the significance of the sculptures in the gallery and offers deeper meaning to their forms and surface motifs. In this and earlier work, Haft-Candell uses visual elements such as infinity symbols, knots, combs, braids, and interlocking hands to create a system of understanding with its own language, set of forms, values, and ethics.
In “The Infinite Library,” a tiered-wood structure with built-in shelves contains ceramic furniture created for the space. Offering books selected by more than 65 artists, the library provides context for the exhibition with publications on the climate crisis, spirituality, theory and criticism, speculative fiction, and more. During the exhibition, the library will host reading groups, panels, lectures, and workshops on ceramic pedagogy, science fiction, craft, and origin myths. A zine will accompany “The Infinite Library.”
Science and speculative fiction are foundational to Haft-Candell’s work. Her concept of The Infinite is inspired by contemporary fiction, most notably the novels of Octavia Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin.
“Fiction allows you to take a step back and reevaluate our present moment through these metaphors of story,” says Haft-Candell. “Le Guin’s novel The Left Hand of Darkness was influential to The Infinite Glossary. Butler’s Parable of the Sower is a story of a woman who creates a religion. There’s world-building upon world-building in Butler’s novel, which informs how I create objects and installations, teach, and create community within the
framework of The Infinite.”