Ghosts: Adam Silverman

11 November 2017 - 27 January 2018

(Cherry and Martin archive - Cherry and Martin is now Philip Martin Gallery.)


Cherry and Martin is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Los-Angeles based artist Adam Silverman. His second solo with the gallery will feature stoneware pots, ceramic sculptures and an architectural intervention. 

The basic geometry of Adam Silverman’s work starts with the circle. The centripetal acceleration of the potter’s wheel encourages the wet clay to move outward, towards the edge of its spinning disc. Slowly and with care, Silverman directs this force upward, into an egg or sphere. Eggs and spheres, like circles, are an expression of an idea of perfection, and it is at this point that Silverman’s pots take on their individual lives, both through the materials that make them and the action of his shaping hand. Silverman pulls the pots upward; he also punches and pushes the clay from within the sphere to alter its interior space and corresponding exterior form. Silverman then layers the surface of his pots with additional clays and glazes, building up their texture and changing their contours through multiple kiln firings.

All of Adam Silverman’s works begin on the potter’s wheel. For this reason, despite the fact that Silverman works in the tradition of abstract sculptors like Voulkos, Coper, BrâncuČ™i, Twombly and Noguchi, he still refers to his works in some sense as “pots.” The potter’s art is an ancient one, going back millennia, that Silverman himself experienced, for example, in the small Japanese towns where he has worked. Pot-making connects the artist to the place where they are and to the materials around them. In Silverman’s case, this means considering the urban and natural landscapes of Los Angeles, or the beaches and woods of Rhode Island where he has his summer studio. Locally harvested clays, crushed shells, beach glass and salvaged wood ash are the base for the glazes that appear on the often pitted, flaked and cracked surfaces of Silverman’s work. Silverman says his pieces contain traces — ghosts or shadows — of their ingredients and processes. Their present appearance offers a parallel glimpse into their past lives. 

Thinking about Silverman’s pots, we can connect them to the other art forms, like architecture and dance, with which he has long been interested. Silverman was trained as an architect, and he has taken inspiration from dancers and choreographers like Merce Cunningham, who also use motion and matter to create both space and objects simultaneously. Silverman worked on a long term project at Notre Dame du Haut, the chapel in Ronchamp, France, that Corbusier built 1954 - a building which Silverman points to as a major influence. He notes, “Corbusier’s buildings employ pure geometry at their starting point, and then become very physical in terms of their materials and spatial manipulations: the early ones, like the Villa Savoye, are almost pure abstraction; the later ones, like Ronchamp, are much more loose and expressive, using a lot of texture and color. A more mature engagement and expression of geometry.” This play between abstract geometry and material physicality is at the heart of Silverman’s work, and the pieces featured in his Cherry and Martin exhibition. 

Adam Silverman received his BFA and B.Arch from the Rhode Island School of Design. Silverman’s work has been the subject of recent solo and group exhibitions at such museums and galleries as Cherry and Martin (Los Angeles, CA); Friedman Benda (New York, NY); Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, TX); Laguna Art Museum (Laguna Beach, CA); Pierre Marie Giraud (Brussels, Belgium); Tomio Koyama Gallery (Tokyo, Japan). Silverman’s two-person installation, Boolean Valley, a collaboration with Nader Tehrani, travelled from San Jose Museum of Art (San Jose, CA) to MOCA (Los Angeles, CA) to the Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX). Silverman's work is in the collection of such museums as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA); Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX); and Rhode Island School of Design Museum (Providence, RI). A major monograph on Silverman’s work, Adam Silverman Ceramics (2013) was published by Rizzoli. His work has been the subject of articles and reviews in Artforum, Wallpaper, Architectural Digest, New York Times and Los Angeles Times. 

Philip Martin Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11am-6pm and by appointment. For further information and images please contact the gallery at +310-559-0100 or

Philip Martin Gallery
2712 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034