NOVEMBER 11, 2017 – JANUARY 12, 2018


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2017, 6 – 8 PM

Garboushian Gallery is pleased to present the second solo exhibition of Seattle-based artist Emily Counts with her latest body of work in The Association, consisting of ceramic and mixed media sculptures that explore themes of connectivity and fluidity in the unconscious mind and through technological and social networks.

The primarily abstract shapes in this exhibition are created with a basic geometric language of triangles, squares and circles. The resulting structures and collections are suggestive of modern architecture and playground design, adobe structures, and occult, ritual, and folk objects. Combined with these abstract forms are a variety of more literal representations of items such as daggers, spider webs, potion bottles, and human hair. Counts’ creative process starts with impulsive and spontaneous aesthetic actions that bring to the surface these common and uncommon forms, especially those that hold symbolic significance. She is interested in the relationships and parallels that can be formed between initially unrelated ideas.

Many of the pieces to be exhibited are comprised of sculptures attached to one another via wooden and ceramic tethers or chains, similar in concept to an umbilical cord, spanning a distance across the wall or within space to create pairings. Each element is paired in this way to infer the building of networks. Additionally, wall-based assemblages within ceramic shapes or frames suggest the practice of grouping and categorizing.


These physical sculptural couplings investigate how relationships and associations are formed unconsciously in our minds, but also how similar connections are formed within our bodies, in nature, and through telecommunication and social networks. Counts is considering especially the positive and negative aspects of our current state of hyper-connectivity, and often times our over-engagement, with one another through social platforms.

A pivotal piece in The Association consists of an 8-foot tall column of stacked ceramic, wood, and glass objects. This is part of an ongoing series of stacked or sequenced shapes that explore the unique relationships created when disparate pieces are brought together, each relating to the next in a unique manner. Despite the abstract nature of this sculpture, the entire arrangement constructed in a linear format is similar to a literary sentence or narrative. The ceramic base has been carved with irregular windows backed by stained glass panels and electric lighting, creating areas of bright illuminated color. Many other pieces in this exhibition also incorporate electricity or translucent stained glass and acrylic panels, enhancing the viewer’s experience of color and light throughout the gallery. Colored light becomes an intangible medium that contrasts with the weight and architectural structure of the ceramics and wood.

The materials contained in this body of work tie in to the predominant theme of connectivity. Counts’ use of archival and enduring materials such as ceramics, wood, and glass engages the notion of longevity and memory contained within objects and speaks to the history and tradition of craft practices. She is investigating connectivity in this way as it relates to time, and the links that her practice makes with the past, in addition to the many other instances of connection both internal and social that form our contemporary experience.

The exhibition opens on Saturday, November 11, 2017, with a reception from 6 - 8pm, and will remain on view until January 12, 2018.