While the geometric and floral inlay ceramic works of Brooklyn-based artist Cody Hoyt all undoubtedly share his unique style, much of their design is, in a way, left up to chance. “There’s an incidental quality to them that you can’t force by hand,” he says.
As Hoyt has shifted his practice from the more ephemeral arts of drawing and printmaking to ceramics, he’s come to embrace the sense of chaos inherent to the medium, from blending two shades of clay together to create a marbled motif, to the surprise that awaits when he opens the kiln door. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to take more risks,” the artist explains. “There’s something really seductive about the reveal.”
His initial interest in printmaking was inspired by the DIY posters, T-shirts and record covers of the eclectic music scene in Boston, where he went to art school in the early 2000s. At the time, Hoyt was enamored with the iterative nature of the practice, which he believes taught him to be less attached to his work. He brought the same sensibility to ceramics when he took up the discipline as a hobby in his early 30s. Although the detour began as a way for him to relax, it soon became his main focus. “It took over and I was like, ‘I just want to do this,’ ” he recalls.
Today, the artist’s influences are as multifaceted as his work, from Japanese Nerikomi pottery to the hypnotic optical art of Josef Albers and Thomas Downing to the mother-of-pearl details you might spot on a guitar. As for his process, it is as much about precision as what’s out of his control. Almost all of his works begin as a slab of clay which Hoyt inlays (or rather “mashes”) with gestural forms. In other cases, he extrudes shapes and assembles them together before slicing cross sections with wire. The resulting thin tiles become the building blocks for a vessel or mosaic.
As Hoyt continues to hone his craft, his pieces are growing in creativity—and size. Take his new series of geometrically patterned stools for The Future Perfect, whose Manhattan gallery will host a solo show of the artist’s work this September. In each of his creations, however, he is careful not to coerce anything to fit his will. As Hoyt puts it: “I’m trying to figure out ways to coexist within the desires and inclinations of the material.”