New York

Kathy Butterly, Baked Sale, 2018, clay, glaze, 4 5⁄8 ×  5 3⁄8 × 5 3⁄8".

Kathy Butterly, Baked Sale, 2018, clay, glaze, 4 5⁄8 × 5 3⁄8 × 5 3⁄8".

Kathy Butterly

James Cohan

At Ken Price’s 2013 retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, my companions and I (all full-grown adults) dared each other to reach a finger inside the black openings of his colorful glazed vessels. The voids, so impossibly matte and inky, beckoned a touch to determine if they were real or just an illusion. The ceramics of Kathy Butterly, who counts Price as an influence, are equally seductive to the eyes and hands. But where Price played with depth as a trick, Butterly uses it to expand the amount of painstaking detail in her sensuous pieces.

For “Thought Presence,” Butterly tried moving away from the explicit bodily references of her previous works toward open-ended organic abstraction. Yet her delight in the corporeal, and in the more feminine aspects of decor, channeled itself through her ceramics’ bulges, twists, and orifices, all of which were heightened by her

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