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Composites and Plastics
by Kim Markel, USA


Previously known for her watery forms in plastic using dreamy pastel colors, Kim recently began exploring the ancient material of Vitruvian plaster. Working from a recipe in Vitruvius’ 10 Books of Architecture (15BC), her new series of vessels celebrates an ancient technology; the chemistry of burnt lime combined with marble dust. For resilience and reduced weight, Kim has introduced hemp, and selectively tinted the uncured surface with mineral pigment in true Renaissance fresco technique, so that the pigment bonds to the material as the lime dries.

The new work is every bit as dreamy as earlier work, but the new material allows for direct sculpting, which is all the more suited to the artist’s expressive style. The mottled and lumpen surface is a signature technique of Kim’s, meant to evoke not only the creative process and the act of making but the delicate ephemerality of existence. In this first vessel, Kim appropriately celebrates the classical amphora, festooning it with garlands of flowers and foliage.

Kim's "Cloud" mirrors (below) are a hybrid of Baroque ornamentation and Japanese scroll paintings that feature landscapes with highly stylized clouds floating peacefully over flattened landscapes. Made from marble powder composite and hand sculpted resin leaves coated in microcystaline glass beads their unique materiality extends Kims' fantasy into a new dimension.




Rococo Cloud Mirrors, 2020
Urethane resin, pigment, soda-lime-borosilicate glass, marble dust, Hydrocal, water based binder emulsion, fiberboard, steel, mirrored glass.
102cmL x 22cmH / 40"L x 8.7"H
123cmL x 26cmH / 48.5"L x 10.2"H