San Francisco

Jim Melchert

Anglim Gilbert Gallery

For over twenty years, veteran Bay Area conceptualist Jim Melchert has been experimenting with ceramic tile—specifically, with what happens when he breaks it into pieces by dropping it onto a hard surface. The wall works that result from these investigations consist of the reassembled shards of one or more large floor tiles, patterned with drawn or painted marks. But Melchert is interested in something other than the accidental beauty of the skeins of spidery lines created when the brittle object shatters. Instead, in a slightly perverse exploration of “truth to materials,” he focuses on what these lines reveal about the intrinsic composition of the clay itself.

Commercially manufactured tiles may seem identical and uniform, but on a microscopic level they are quite different. Clay’s molecular structure consists of tiny plates that either stack neatly on top of each other to create a bond

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