Marvelous Mud: Clay Through the Ages - Exhibition, The Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum (DAM) takes a closer look at the medium of clay in its summer exhibition Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World. Celebrating the prolific and diverse material, Marvelous Mud reveals how clay has shaped culture, creativity, science and industry over time and around the globe. The museum-wide exhibition explores one major medium and illustrates its diversity and history through fascinating stories that span time and geographic location. Marvelous Mud is on view June 11 through September 18, 2011, and offers a different way for visitors to experience the DAM’s programs and collections.
Marvelous Mud features seven exhibitions throughout the Hamilton and North buildings, hands-on and live programming with artists and experts and indoor and outdoor creation stations that allows visitors to discover the medium.
The exhibition kicks off with a weekend of celebration. Saturday and Sunday will feature lively onsite activities. Ceramic artist Bob Smith will perform a demonstration of raku firing on the plaza. This visual pyrotechnic firing process takes pots from the kiln at maximum temperatures. The pots are then put into containers of sawdust that produce a thick black smoke that adds to the finish of the vessel. Families can also explore the Mud Studio hands-on activity area and participate in artmaking projects at new in-gallery Hotspots.
Marajó: Ancient Ceramics at the Mouth of the Amazon, located in the Martin and McCormick Gallery on level two of the Hamilton Building, focuses on the elaborately decorated red, white and black earthenware ceramics from the people who occupied the Brazilian island of Marajó from A.D. 400 to 1300. Much of the island is flooded each year by rising river waters, so its inhabitants built large artificial mounds to support dwellings, ceremonial spaces and cemeteries. Adorned in an ornate style with modeled, carved and painted human faces and figures, reptiles, snakes and birds, Marajó ceramics were used for feasting, ceremonial life and funerary offerings. Despite their artistic sophistication, ancient Amazonian ceramics are largely unknown to the public. Marajó is the first exhibition devoted to this topic in the United States. Curated by Margaret Young-Sánchez.
Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, located primarily in the Anschutz Gallery on level two of the Hamilton Building, brings together regional, national and international artists who push the boundaries of clay to create large-scale installations that respond to the dynamic architecture of the Daniel Libeskind-designed Hamilton Building. The majority of the 25 participating artists will create site-specific artworks. Highlights include a large-scale ceramic and found object sculpture by Linda Sormin that utilizes the colossal slanted wall in the Hamilton Building atrium; an installation of clay flakes, each around 300 pounds, by Neil Forrest; a 23-foot chandelier by Jeanne Quinn; and a tiled enclosure with freestanding elements by Anders Ruhwald. Overthrown also includes a sampling of smaller ceramic objects that acknowledges that other means, besides size, can challenge expectations of the material. Curated by Gwen Chanzit.
Blue and White: A Ceramic Journey, located in the William Sharpless Jackson Jr. Gallery on level five of the North Building, conveys the popularity of blue-and-white pottery throughout the centuries in different parts of the world. The technique of creating blue-and-white ceramics was a great innovation of Chinese ceramic history and they became a vital component of China’s export trade. The exhibit will feature objects from early periods of blue-and-white ceramic production to present day examples.
Dirty Pictures, located in the Delisa and Anthony Mayer Gallery on level seven of the North Building, shows the varied ways photographers have depicted mud in their work. Whether as media for photographic construction, as the substance of metaphor or as a mark of human interaction with the earth—mud, clay, dirt and soil have made prominent appearances in the work of many photographers in the past 35 years. Featuring pieces by artists including Dieter Appelt, Zeke Berman, Jungjin Lee and Joel Sternfield, this exhibition aims to both examine these differences and draw connections between the varied uses of these materials in contemporary photography.
Focus: Earth and Fire, located primarily on level four of the Hamilton Building, showcases ceramic work in the DAM’s modern and contemporary art collection, as well as paintings that respond to earth and fire. In recognizing that there are as many ways of responding to earth and fire as there are creative ventures, our presentation takes the widest approach to this theme and celebrates the myriad of artistic responses to rugged mountains, powerful mudslides and volcanoes, blazing forest fires and even the hot sunlight pouring down from billions of miles away. Work by Colorado artist Vance Kirkland will be featured in the third level Chambers and Grant Gallery, showing the artist’s early watercolor scenes from nature, as well as his late paintings that responded to the sublime energy of heat, fire and the great mysteries of space. Curated by Gwen Chanzit.
Mud to Masterpiece: Mexican Colonial Ceramics, located on level four of the North Building, explores the era of global trade and its effect on traditional Mexican earthenware, Chinese porcelain and Mexican majolica. Between 1521 and 1821, the ancient Mexican ceramic art of unglazed, low-fired earthenware was exported to Spain where it became quite fashionable. In return, Spanish artists introduced the potter’s wheel and high-fired hard glazes to Mexico, producing a pottery known as majolica. Trade brought Chinese porcelain to Mexico and its decorative motifs influenced both native earthenware and Mexican majolica. More than 30 pieces of Chinese porcelain, Mexican earthenware and Mexican majolica will be exhibited alongside Mexican colonial paintings that depict the use of ceramics in daily life. Curated by Donna Pierce.
Potters of Precision: The Coors Porcelain Company, located on level two of the North Building, displays porcelain labware produced by the Golden, Colo., company. The Coors Porcelain Company, now known as CoorsTek, creates specialized scientific forms—crucibles, beakers, evaporating dishes—that have remained virtually unchanged since their earliest iteration. Beauty and function exist simultaneously in vessels that serve scientists’ precisely stated needs. Curated by Darrin Alfred.
Marvelous Mud is organized by the Denver Art Museum. Exhibition support is provided by the Adolph Coors Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District and the generous donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign. Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4 and The Denver Post.
The Denver Art Museum is located on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock Streets in downtown Denver. Open Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. General admission for Colorado residents: $10 adults, $8 seniors and students, $3 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. Admission for non-Colorado residents: $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $5 for visitors 6-18, free for children 5 and younger. The Cultural Complex Garage is open; enter from 12th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock or check the DAM website for up-to-date parking information. For information in Spanish, call 720-913-0169. For more information, visit http://www.denverartmuseum.org/ or call 720-865-5000.
12 teliere de creatie interactive: Happening, performance, pictura de sevalet, statui vii, instalatii, origami, imprimerie tricouri, mestesuguri, linogravura, reciclying, mobilier din carton, inter lego, body painting.
Locul de desfasurare: Bulevardul Eroilor Participa peste 100 de elevi si profesori. Echipa de proiect: Profesorii de la Catedra de Arte Prof. coordonatori: Diana Frateanu, Cristina Mârza
MARTI - 17 mai 2011 10.50 Vernisajul Concursului National de Sculptura Mica - Festivalul LADEA Locul de desfasurare: Atelierul de sculptura / Cladirea mica, etaj 1 Prof. coordonatori: Radu Bimbea, A. Tosa, Gh. Olaru, M. Socaciu, Gavril Zmicala
12.00 Lumea magica a povestilor Locul de desfasurare: Libraria Universitatii Participanti: clasele V-VI ale Liceului de Arte Plastice „Romulus Ladea” Prof. coordonator: Maria Vaida
17.00 Vernisajul expozitiei profesorilor Liceului de Arte Plastice „Romulus Ladea” Locul de desfasurare: Sala Radio / Eroilor nr. 18 Prof. coordonatori: Hermina Csata, Cristian Porumb Logistica: Nicolae Foiasi
MIERCURI - 18 mai 2011 12.00 Proiectului „O scoala mai frumoasa” Graffiti pe garajele din curtea cladirii B Locul de desfasurare: Curtea cladirii B a Liceului de Arte Plastice “Romulus Ladea” Prof. coordonatori: Hermina Csata, Diana Frateanu, Cristina Mârza, Baciu Codruta
JOI - 19 mai 2011 10.50 - Sesiune de comunicari cu tema „Semne si Simboluri” Locul de desfasurare: Sala 10 a Liceului de Arte Plastice “Romulus Ladea” Prof. coordonatori: Vaida Maria, Hudrea Nicoleta
VINERI - 20 mai 2011 11.00 - 12.00 Activitati pe ateliere / Ziua portilor deschise Locul de desfasurare: Toate atelierele Liceului de Arte Plastice “Romulus Ladea”
12.00 Festivitatea de premiere a Concursului National de Sculptura Mica Locul de desfasurare: Sala de expozitie a Liceul de Arte Plastice „Romulus Ladea” Prof. coordonatori: Radu Bimbea, A. Tosa, Gh. Olaru, M. Socaciu, Gavril Zmicala
13.00 Festivitatea de premiere a Concursului „Experiment de creativitate - MailArt” Locul de desfasurare: Sala de expozitie a Liceului de Arte Plastice „Romulus Ladea” Prof. coordonatori: Adela Gocan
MARTI - 24 mai 2011 11.00 - 12.00 Primii pasi in scoala Locul de desfasurare: Sala 7 a Liceului de Arte Plastice „Romulus Ladea” Participa elevii înscrisi in clasa I la Liceul de Arte Plastice „R. Ladea” Prof. coordonatori: inv. Iuliu Abrudan, inv. Crisan Anisia
Carol Gouthro: All my work is made using clay and fired ceramic glazes and materials. I am a bit of a purist about this in my own work. I love ceramic materials and surfaces and do not feel the need to use cold finishes. I enjoy mixing my own glazes and running glaze tests to get the resulting fired surfaces I seek. I love Terracotta clay, the color and the feel of the clay, and that is the primary clay body I use. Color is important to me in my work and I combine both commercially bought materials, underglazes and glazes and my own studio mixed slips and glazes to get the results I want.
I have two bodies of work that I make. The first is my on going explorations in sculpture and vessel forms. These are one of a kind and always evolving. In this work I use many different techniques combining handbuilding, slip casting and wheel throwing to get the forms I want. I make a lot of slip cast molds from found objects ,usually objects that I have some kind of emotional response to. I often manipulate the resulting forms making 2nd and 3rd generation molds. I also throw and handbuild forms and make press molds for future use. That way when I start working on pieces I have an inventory of shapes at my disposal. My visual library.
The second body of work I make is a line of dinnerware and accompanying serving pieces that I produce and sell exclusively out of my studio.
This line consists of dinner plates, salad and dessert plates, shallow bowl, deep bowls, tumblers, and cups and saucers. For the dinnerware I throw all the original forms and then make slipcast molds and pour the pieces in Terrecotta. They are painted by hand with underglazes and fired with clear glaze. The large bowls, and platters are press molded and finished the same way as the other dinnerware. These pieces are my production line and I do not change the designs very often unlike my sculptural one of a kind work. I make all this myself, I do not have assistants.
Where do you get your inspiration for your pieces and what motivates you to do a good job ?
The inspiration for my work comes from several sources. Ceramic vessels, Ornamentalism, plants forms and other natural forms, childhood artifacts.
I have always studied historical ceramic vessels ever since my university days. Some of my favorites are Persian Luster ware, Italian Renaissance majolica, Tang Dynasty Terrecotta, Japanese Oribe ware, Victorian Majolica, and Noritake Art Deco Lusterware. Color , pattern ,and texture are essential components in my work and I have always been drawn to very ornamental historical pieces , palace pots of all kinds.
Margrieta Jeltema: Some years ago, when I had finished some jewelry pieces using porcelain together with paper, a friend suggested to translate the paper part in porcelain as well. I tried and failed but my mistakes turned out rather nice in their own way. They encouraged me to explore this path… Now observing earlier pieces it seems the idea of folding was already there.
I think any research in art is not just a technical one. Yes I wanted my porcelain to resemble paper but most of all I wanted it to have a life of its own. My porcelain objects have grown to be flowers, they are wishes or a song. They belong to a different world, follow different rules, not those accepted by the pragmatic world of utility, they truly belong to the “world of beauty and imagination*”.
The technical skills with paper-thin ceramics have their origin in beliefs about the nature of art. Objects made by human beings belong to the realm of art when seen as aesthetically pleasing. Seeing something as a work of art or looking at it are not the same. Looking has a beginning and end. Seeing however is an achievement – it has no beginning, no stretch of time, it is the realization that we are confronted with something different. The work of art is not confined in a cave of individuality. It participates in an essential way in our everyday communication. From the act of seeing emerges our ability to understand a message. The beautiful object has an intention; the intention of sharing, of telling a story and exploring our world of imagination.
Message, story, communication, these are the words which describe my previous occupation with writing, using paper, making books with etchings. I was held captured by these sheets of paper on which I could try to communicate with others. My Loveletters and my Ode to Monet go back to my obsession with paper carrying stories to those prepared to look, to understand and hopefully, to enjoy them.
Ceramics Now Magazine: Do you find working with porcelain hard, especially if you try to make it look like paper?
Margrieta Jeltema: Working with porcelain is really easy if you get a bit used to its terrible shrinking, its proneness to distortion, it’s tendency to collapse and its ability to ‘remember’!… But there are also many advantages over other clays. It is easy to join dried pieces together or repair a piece before baking, it is easy to glaze using a brush (saving on amounts of glaze) as most unevenness will disappear in the high temperatures and of course usually colors look nice and bright on the white body. What I find really difficult is the handling of the folded Loveletters when they are only bisque fired and still extremely fragile. Because I want to glaze them only on the backside I have to turn them someway. Eventually I solved this using a piece of light foam polystyrene with which I can turn the letter like a omelet on a lid (some cooking experience helps a lot in ceramics).
Shane Porter: My practice is multi-disciplinary in nature, from the way I draw, plan installations and think about different concepts. These areas intertwine from the research that informs my work- by rough scribbled drawings on scraps of paper, to precise computer aided illustrations. I usually need to see my pieces in three dimensions before going any further so after the initial drawing stage, I will construct rough maquettes (usually made from paper, card etc.) to get a sense of scale and presence. The series Vessels 2010 were first made from turned plaster using a lathe and from that initial investigation I played with scale and proportions before turning to clay to make the finished objects. Vessels 2010 were made in two separate stages. A bowl-like press mould was made and a large mass of white stoneware was pinched into it so to not create any seams. A top was then made from a slab of clay and the rather rough pieces where joined together and then slow dried for 4 days. The pieces were then turned on the wheel to create the desired form and finish. I am interested in clinical forms, which flirt with the idea of mass production, but which disrupt this notion by subtle marks of the maker.
What is your present project, what’s its history and how do you make the pieces?
“If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”- Matthew 16:24
My work explores the role and function of the Vessel within ritual theory and practice. I am currently developing a new body of Vessels which are inspired by the practice of Corporal Mortification used in Orthodox Christian traditions. Corporal Mortification is the practice of inflicting pain on the body as a type of spiritual psychology which uses the ‘body to affect the mind’, punishing man for carnal desires and indulgences, therefore becoming closer to the divine.
This work is still in an early stage of development and I am beginning to create a series of porcelain paper clay Vessels which challenge the function and ergonomics of the ritual container. I am interested in juxtaposing materials in unusual ways which enable the viewer to question the various connotations which are deep rooted in society. I manipulate typography, clay and organic materials to create narratives and conversations across the work.
Wim Borst: My ceramic work is built from clay slabs. The clay which I am using it is a mixture of two stoneware bodies, Molochite and flax-fiber. I have developed this clay while working for European EKWC Work Center in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 1998.
At gray/black objects a black body stain is added. The open texture in the clay is obtained by adding organic material during the firing.
What is your present project, what’s its history and how do you make the pieces?
Currently I am working on a new series of objects, tube / pipe structures (see photo), which will be exhibit during this year.
Technique: I begin a series/theme with a few sketches on paper or small designs in clay. Slabs leather-hard clay and cutted molded parts from a PVC / wood or plaster mold are mixed up together with clay slip.
Special attention is given to the finishing of leather-hard.
Once bisque fired, the object is wet smoothed with diamond pads and dried.
Glazing: parts of the object are sprayed with glaze or sinterengobe, the glaze fire in an electric oven 12600 C.
Where do you get your inspiration for your pieces and what motivates you to do a good job ?
I am inspired by the abstract geometric forms in sculptural art work and architecture.
The inspiration is based on a systematic approach to design and execution of similar artists such as, among others, Ad Dekkers (NL), Jan Schoonhoven (NL), the architects HPBerlage (NL) and JJPOud (NL), including artists belonging to ‘the Style’ (Dutch art movement (1917-1931).
The objects refer to functional forms, such as vases and bowls, but they are never the starting point. The autonomous objects show how triangles, squares, circles and ovals are split and merged.
My name is Jonathan and I make photographs in Denver, CO, USA. I have been shooting for about ten years, but have really begun to focus on the craft of photography since early 2010. I also work as a videographer and creative director for a small nonprofit organization here in Denver.
What is your present photography project, what’s its history and how do relate to it?
Jonathan Vanderweit: My work focuses on the exploration of the world around us with specific regard to the interaction between humans and the natural environment. This means finding areas where nature has begun to reclaim the world of people, which here in the US often happens in formerly industrial/manufacturing areas as well as at the fringes of cities and towns. I love finding where our maintenance crews haven’t caught up or which taken on a kind of serendipitous equilibrium between the forces of creation and ruin.
My next two photo projects are extensions on this theme. One is a series of portraits of people who wear glasses or contact lenses. The photos will be displayed in pairs, the left a normal portrait of the subject in their glasses and the right will be a shot without them. The image on the right will have the focus corrected to account for the person’s natural visual acuity, with a different effect for each person depending if he/she is nearsighted, farsighted, or has astigmatism.
The second project will use some of the locations I have discovered over the last year–walls, doorways, stairs, the urban features of Denver–as settings for exquisitely-dressed floating protagonists. These photos will explore the habitation of spaces that have previously been considered industrial or austere by inhabiting them with individuals bursting with style and weightlessness. Gven the labored past of many of these dwellings, one would expect that they be drab and deserted. In fact the opposite is proving true, homes in lofts and warehouses have strong draw for creative people and have become a highly desired place of residence.
How it all started? What was your first camera and what devices do you have now?
My first camera was an Olympus OM-1 with a 50mm lens, which was a gift from my father when I was around 15 years old. Today, I primarily shoot with a Nikon D700 and I also have a Nikon FE2 that I use when I don’t feel like carrying much, as well as a Mamiya RZ67 medium format system which is huge and exquisite serves as a constant reminder of what a camera actually does.
The instant feedback of shooting digital has accelerated my learning curve and gives me loads of flexibility when processing my images, but I will continue to shoot film for the sheer fact that it feels like creating a real thing (which makes me shoot more slowly and thoughtfully), and that the look of many film types is hard to duplicate digitally.
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