One way to support artists is sharing what they do with as many people as possible. That’s why I like to write about artists whose works I own in my personal collection.
One of my favorite art acquisitions during the pandemic was “There’s a Party in My Mouth” by Margaret Ann Withers, 2020 (hand-molded ceramic with silicone, various glazes, N-scale people, and car, 10 x 11 x11 inches).
I first met Margaret Ann Withers and fell in love with her whimsical, eclectic ceramic sculpture at G Spot Contemporary Gallery during the opening reception on June 4, 2022 for her exhibition “Someway, Somehow, Here We Are | Margaret Ann Withers” in Houston, Texas.
This work haunted me for months, until I finally succumbed to my feelings about it and made my purchase on November 16, 2022. I picked it up a few days later from gallerist Wayne Gilbert on November 19, 2022. By the way, Wayne had returned any unsold works to Margaret Ann after her show ended on June 25, 2023, but kept this one in the gallery as he felt strongly I would get it. He was right.
Margaret Ann describes the work: “Inside is a party of three sisters. Well, only the youngest sister — who happens to be the artist — is having fun! The middle sister is trying to placate and the older sister is feeling a twinge of jealousy at the youngest sister for her unselfconscious abandonment of all things proper.”
The work is part of a series of ceramic sculptures that Margaret Ann calls Lachelmachles (LklMkl), a made-up German word that she says means “little laughing worlds.” Her LklMkls are “tricksters, protectors, gigglers, and wish-granters.” On their backs, these mythical, imaginary creatures carry inhabitants who live in tiny houses. She shares: “They protect their inhabitants by being watchers, gigglers and wish granters, and they have boots to run like hell, if need be, from the ensuing chaos. Some have silver electric power cords plugged into their sides, most have houses, telephone poles, eyes, mouths, hands – not human- but wild laughing worlds containing vestiges of humanity.”
The idea for LklMkls came about when Margaret Ann desired to make a three-dimensional creature from what had been floating around in her paintings: eyes and mouths, tiny houses and telephone poles, all barely visible in a surreal landscape. All of her ceramic sculptures are hand built, fired at cone 6 (~2200F/1200C) with various glazes, oxides, and enamels.
ABOUT MARGARET ANN WITHERS: Originally from Texas, Margaret Ann Withers has exhibited her work throughout the country and internationally in Brussels, Australia, Berlin, London, China and Russia. Her artwork is included in multiple private and corporate collections, including Truninger AG in Zurich Switzerland and the Hammond Museum in North Salem, New York, and has won numerous awards including a 2016 Artist in Residence, The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), 2013/2015 resident fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, a 2013 fellowship to the Millay Colony, and a 2013 USA Project Grant. Withers grew up in Texas and moved often because her father worked for an oil company. Because of all the moving and a general lack of supervision, she learned how to entertain herself with her own stories and creations. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a BA in Literature in 2003. She currently lives and works in New York City.
Check out these links below, too.
“ADRIFT | Margaret Ann Withers” at G Spot Contemporary Gallery, December 3, 2016 through January 3, 2017