Rhona Hoffman Gallery is delighted to present PRECIOUS FRAGMENTS exquisite longing, Chris Garofalo’s sixth solo exhibition at the gallery. For over thirty years, she has worked with clay to create ceramic sculptures inspired by the flora and fauna of the world’s oceans, desserts, and jungles. Garofalo applies multiple glazes to render authentic-looking skins or shells, so distinct that they appear to have grown themselves. The forms and patterns might recall creatures that exist in life, but all of the sculptures are born out of Garofalo’s imagination and transcend standard scientific classification. Theories of evolution and metamorphosis are fundamental to Garofalo’s practice, and as such, the sculptures come alive in their environments, breathing, stirring, and continuing to grow.
PRECIOUS FRAGMENTS exquisite longing features over 50 forms displayed in apothecarial jars and glass cases reminiscent of natural history museums, recalling the vast collections of objects found as early as the 16th century in the cabinets of curiosities or Wunderkammer of rulers, aristocrats, members of the merchant class, and the early practitioners of science in Europe. A precursor to the modern museum, these bodies of specimens and oddities attempted to tell stories about the natural world through categorization, describing microcosms as a “theatre of the world, and a memory theater.” This historical, scientific, artistic, and cultural reenactment offers a future past designed to help us recognize our own present, where human arrogance and folly have put our most precious fragments at the very brink of extinction, evoking an exquisite longing for a paradise still in the process of being lost.