A decade of reflection
Inspired by the loss of her father, Roy Dennis Leventhal, this show, long in the making, honors the fragility and beauty of life with a collection of mixed media assemblage reliquaries paired with gilded organics. Whether finding beauty in a wasp’s nest or pea pod, this collection is where Leventhal’s artistry with both food and ceramics intersect, where shiny and embellished contrasts with crude and unrefined which alludes to the complexity of life. Employing erosion, oxidation and patinas to convey age combined with distressed found objects – a rusty mattress spring for example – speak to the passage of time and the effects of aging, a journey both beautiful and raw.
An avid gardener, organic elements and the garden’s bounty inform her work, Leventhal is fascinated by the tension that arises when combining seemingly disparate elements – a gilded peach pit rests in an eroded pod; woven duck wishbones serve as a pedestal for a richly glazed orb – the backside rough with holes. Leventhal encourages the viewer to pick pieces up and interact with the contrasting surfaces. The pliability and sensuality of clay has driven Robin’s lifetime love of this material, not dissimilar to the sensory, tactile experience with food.
While pursuing an MFA in Ceramics at the University of Michigan, Robin Leventhal took what was just supposed to be a summer job in catering. This led to a three-decade career in food which included owning and operating the popular Seattle bistro, Crave, and the life-changing experience of appearing on Season 6 of Top Chef where she finished in 5th. In 2013, she accepted a Culinary Arts Instructor position at Walla Walla Community College, welcoming a lifestyle change that included more time to make art.