new-york

Simone Leigh, Cupboard VIII, 2018, stoneware, steel, raffia, Albany slip, 10' 4 3⁄4" × 10' × 10'.

Simone Leigh

Luhring Augustine | Chelsea

A ceramic female head crowned by a hollow receptacle met the viewer as she entered Simone Leigh’s exhibition. This hybrid object, 102 (Face Jug Series) (all works cited, 2018), conflates portraiture with functional pottery, playing on essentialist notions of the female body as a reproductive vessel and symbolic container. Themes of anthropomorphism and embodiment were amplified in Cupboard VIII, the largest of this exhibition’s three sculptures. More than ten feet tall, bare-breasted, and arrayed in a capacious, multitiered raffia skirt, the figure quotes the architecture of Mammy’s Cupboard, a roadside Mississippi pancake house built in the shape of the eponymous Reconstruction-era stereotype. Her bell-shaped volume was echoed in a group of black-and-white stoneware floor sculptures from the “Village Series,” 2018–, whose domed forms evoke another of Leigh’s recurring tropes: the traditional

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