Painted Greek amphorae present a complex statement on the agency and affect of ceramics and craftwork, marshalled both to capture and reflect the surrounding intellectual & cultural atmosphere of their making. Their refined polychrome surfaces, harmonious proportional forms, & delicate imagistic narratives appeal to the mind & the mantel. Meanwhile, their cousins, the less regarded, un-painted amphorae mass-produced by the Romans for storing and transporting goods, have a more accessible & personal charm. Stocky, indelicate elements in awkward proportions, pulled handles squished inelegantly onto shoulders, and frozen throwing-lines of fast fingers in wet clay mark their manufacture. Through this bare sensuousness, these Roman amphorae more directly crystallize & propagate an image of their own makers & their own materiality. This series of work, made at the C.R.E.T.A. residency, explores these anthropomorphic qualities contained within Roman amphorae by pulling from & re-designing Greek pottery forms with an overindulgent, corporeal presence which often eclipses their functional capacity & original identities.
Maxwell Mustardo was born in 1993 in rural New Jersey. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Art History and Theory from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2017. His dual theses focused on issues of materiality in contemporary ceramics.
Max has earned multiple awards for his work including an Award of Excellence from the James Renwick Alliance, an ARGUS grant for materials research, a Levine Endowment grant to study material culture in Japan & South Korea, and as the SUNY-wide finalist in the visual arts category for the Thayer Fellowship in the Arts as an undergraduate student. His current practice encompasses scholarly writing, curation, teaching, design, and sculpture. He has been a resident artist at the Takaezu Studio, the Mendocino Art Center, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the Sonoma Community Center, the New Harmony Clay Project, & currently at the C.R.E.T.A. Rome International Center.