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NCECA 2013 National Student Juried Exhibition / Glassell School of Art, Houston

NCECA 2013 National Student Juried Exhibition at Glassell School of Art Houston, work by Sasha Alexandra

NCECA 2013 National Student Juried Exhibition / Glassell School of Art, Houston, USA
February 15 - March 23, 2013

Reception: Thursday, March 21, 6-8 PM.

NCECA’s National Student Juried Exhibition (NSJE) is open to all full time undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students enrolled in the United States of America, except for those enrolled at the institutions of the jurors. Applicants must have been working towards a degree or be a post-baccalaureate in art at the time of submittal.

In conjunction with NCECA’s 47th Annual Conference in Houston (March 20-23), The Glassell School of Art of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston hosts NCECA’s 2013 National Student Juried Exhibition from February 15 – March 23, 2013. A reception takes place on Thursday, March 21, 2013 from 6:00- 8:00 pm. New this year NCECA has included the 2013 NSJE artists in the 2013 NCECA Biennial catalog featuring color reproductions of works by all participating artists. This catalog may be pre-ordered on the NCECA’s Online Store.

Participating artists: Sasha Alexandra, Molly Allen, Samantha Bachman, Cori Crumrine, Stephanie Galli, Tyler Houston, Kahlil Irving, Michelle Laxalt, Kathryn Whistler, Tiffany Bailey, Melisa Cadell, Heather Davis, Virginia Eckinger, Thomas Edwards, Marty Fielding, Marisa Finos, Donna Flanery, Anastasia Gabriel, Nick Geankoplis, Violet Goode, Elizabeth Head-Fischer, Natasha Hovey, Michael Hurley, Ah-Young Jeon, Kevin Kao, Lauren Karle, Margaret Kinkeade, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, Robert Kolhouse, Shasta Krueger, Yeon Joo Lee, John Loveless, Marsha Mack, Leslie Macklin, Ashley Maxwell, Spring Montes, Norleen Nosri, Sara Parent-Ramos, Alia Pialtos, Brian Pierce, Louis Reilly, Justin Schortgen, Mitchell Spain, Diana Synatzske, Kristen Tripp, Josh Van Stippen, Austin Wieland, Bill Wilkey, Wesley Wright, Crisha Yantis.

Jurors: Bonnie Seeman, Kevin Snipes.

Bonnie Seeman received her BFA from the University of Miami in 1991, and her MFA from the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth in 1996.  She is a two-time recipient of the Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, and has twice served as a panelist for the Florida Fellowship. Seeman was nominated for a USA Fellow grant in 2010 and was awarded The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation 2005 Biennial Award.  A participant in numerous international and national exhibitions including Art Basel, Switzerland; Art Brussels, Belgium; and the World Ceramic Biennale, Korea, Seeman’s work is featured in many museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; the World Ceramic Exposition Foundation International Collection, Icheon, Korea; the Sadberk Hanım Museum, Istanbul, Turkey; and The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA. Seeman has taught as a summer faculty member at Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Santa Fe Clay, and has presented visiting artist workshops at numerous art centers and universities across the U.S. She currently teaches at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, and serves on the board of Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.

Kevin Snipes combines his love of constructing unconventional pottery with an obsessive need to draw on everything that he produces, creating a uniquely dynamic body of work. Snipes received a B.F.A. in ceramics and drawing from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1994 and completed graduate school at the University of Florida in 2003. Since then, Snipes has led a seemingly nomadic artistic life, constantly making no matter where he is. He has participated in several artist residency programs including the Clay Studio in Philadelphia and Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine; and, he received a Taunt Fellowship from the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana 2008. Exhibiting nationally and internationally as far away as Jingdezhen China, Snipes had a recent solo exhibition at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston. Kevin Snipes currently resides in New Mexico.

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  • NCECA 2013 Ceramics Biennial / Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, USA

    NCECA 2013 Ceramics Biennial at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

    NCECA 2013 Ceramics Biennial / Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, USA
    January 26 - May 5, 2013

    Award presentation & Reception: Thursday, March 21, 5:30 - 9 PM.

    Held in conjunction with the Annual Conference in odd-numbered years, the NCECA Biennial is the premier juried exhibition open to all current members of NCECA (both national and international) and to all ceramic artists, 18 years and older, residing in the U.S.

    Houston Center for Contemporary Craft will host the 2013 Biennial Exhibition from January 26 - May 5, 2013. The opening reception will take place on January 25, 2013 and a reception will also be held during the Houston Conference on Thursday, March 21, 2013 from 5:30 - 9:00 pm. NCECA produces a color catalog featuring work by all participating artists and may be pre-ordered through NCECA’s Online Store. Remaining copies may also be available for purchase at conference.

    Participating artists: Nicole Aquillano, Christa Assad, Tom Bartel, Nicholas Bivins, Renée Brown, Josephine Burr, Gary Carlos, Lisa Cecere, Du Chau, Andréa Keys Connell, Emily Connell, Shenny Cruces, Elizabeth DeLyria, Sharan Elran, Léopold L. Foulem, Teri Frame, Chad Gunderson, Sarah House, Erica Iman, Ryan LaBar, Thomas Lane, Lauren Mabry, Ted Neal, Tybre Newcomer, Claudia Olds Goldie, Vijay V. Paniker, Joseph Pintz, Paolo Porelli, Audrey Rosulek, Joel Schroeder, Linda Sormin, Mark Nathan Stafford, Michael Strand, George Timock, Triesch Voelker

    Jurors: Cristina Cordova, Namita Gupta Wiggers, Richard Notkin

    Internationally acclaimed for her hauntingly, provocative figurative sculptures, juror Cristina Cordova has a well-established record of museum exhibitions including: Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Puerto Rico; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico; Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, NC; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL; Gretchen Keyworth, Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, MA and the Joseph -Schein Museum, NY. A highly respected workshop teacher, Cristina has led numerous workshops in figurative art in universities and art centers such as: Armory Arts Center, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Penland School of Crafts where she serves as a trustee. A graduate of Colegio de Agricultura y Artes Mecánicas, Mayagüyez, Puerto Rico and New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University; Cristina’s work challenges gender and racial boundaries while engendering discourse on intellectual conventions and social mores. Cristina recently exhibited her art in Bestiario at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, FL during the 2011 NCECA conference and in Push Play: The 2012 NCECA Invitational at Bellevue Arts Museum.

    Namita Gupta Wiggers is curator at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR, where she directs the exhibition, collection and public programming. Her curatorial work combines her experience and training as an art historian, a museum educator, ethnographer and design researcher, teacher, writer, and studio art jeweler. Through exhibitions and programming, Wiggers considers how craft and design function as subjects and verbs, and as simultaneously distinct and intersecting practices, and how the exhibition operates as a site and space for cultural inquiry.
    Recent publications include Generations: Betty Feves (forthcoming), Ken Shores: Clay Has the Last Word (2010), and Unpacking the Collection: Selections from the Museum of Contemporary Craft (2008), the first publication to document the Museum’s collection and the institution’s connections to dramatic changes in craft-based and artistic practice over the past 70 years. Wiggers edited Garth Clark’s How Envy Killed the Crafts Movement: An Autopsy in Two Parts (2009) and contributes essays for museum catalogues, including Hand + Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft (2010, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston) and Innovation & Change: Ceramics from the Arizona State University Art Museum (2009, Ceramic Research Center, ASU). Her writing on contemporary jewelry includes Mining History: Ornamentalism Revisited (Metalsmith, 2009), co-authored with Lena Vigna and Curatorial Conundrums: Exhibiting Contemporary Art Jewelry in a Museum Environment (Art Jewelry Forum Website, 2010). She is the co-founder of Critical Craft Forum, and serves on the Board of Trustees, American Craft Council and the curatorial board of accessceramics, an online clay-focused database.

    Richard Notkin lives and works in Helena, Montana, creating works deeply influenced by the centuries-old tradition of Yixing pottery from which he has adopted the precise working methods and a penchant for trompe l’oeil. With his artwork serving as an extension of his conscience, Richard’s ceramic sculptures and tile murals are visual explorations into social and political commentary questioning military misadventures and foreign policy around the world with particular focus on nuclear weaponry and energy. Richard Notkin received his BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from University of California, Davis. His awards include: Artist Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1979, 1981, 1988; Fellowship in Sculpture, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and the Hoi Fellowship from the United States Artists Foundation. In 2008, he was elected to The American Craft Council College of Fellows. His work is in over 60 public collections including: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Charles A. Wustum Museum of Art, Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Shigaraki Museum of Ceramic Art and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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  • Emmanuel Boos and Esben Klemann: Systematic Uncertainty / Copenhagen Ceramics

    Emmanuel Boos and Esben Klemann: Systematic Uncertainty exhibition Copenhagen Ceramics

    Emmanuel Boos and Esben Klemann: Systematic Uncertainty / Copenhagen Ceramics, Denmark
    February 28 - March 28, 2013

    In ceramics the unknown is a fate for the practitioner. Emmanuel Boos and Esben both welcome unpredictability. Moreover they are provoking it. They share a playful and experimental approach to the ceramic material and their works are bred from a great curiosity towards the processes of the material.

    Emmanuel Boos, now living in London, was born and grew up in France. He trained with Jean Girel, one of the big names in French ceramics, known for his works with beautiful textural glazes. Emmanuel Boos equally places the glazes at the centre of his artistic practice, but goes further. He questions the classic hierarchy, where the materials as such are regarded as undifferentiated, depending on being given form, morphe, which traditionally is considered the essential part.

    For Boos form is often a pretext, a playground for glazes to develop on. His interest lies with the poetic character and sensuality of the glaze, both in a direct sense as the fusion of basic materials and in the symbolic potential of this. His works are not conceptually based; rather they express a search for beauty, that strives for a form of aesthetic contemplation appealing firstly to our senses and our emotions.

    For his first show in Denmark, Emmanuel Boos will be showing both plinth and wall pieces. His intent is to draw the viewer into the glaze, inviting us to meander in its depth through poetic reverie. His forms oscillate between mysterious enclosed objects – minerals with an underlying organic presence – and thin sheets of porcelain like canvases gently folding and developing into space.

    The expressive heartland in Esben Klemann’s work is clearly defined by his interest in architecture, construction and material, and a constant urge to further develop the making-processes, that are essential for the expression of the final works.

    On ceramics, he states: "People envisage a lot of different things when you use the word ceramics. Images of ordinary domestic items, giant-sized-vessels, reliefs by Asger Jorn, etc. Through changes in work-methods, tools and placements, I strive to add new images to the picture, believing that ceramics has the potential to offer something more and different. I purposely draw my experiences from other sculptural areas into the ceramic process, to push it all into new directions.

    You may label my work non-thematic or abstract, or see it as a formal language which communicates by establishing artistically elaborated spaces and objects, that in contrast to the ordinary, inject vitality into things.”

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  • L’usage des jours. 365 ceramic objects by Guillaume Bardet / Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains, Lausanne

    L’usage des jours. 365 ceramic objects by Guillaume Bardet Musee de design et d'arts appliques contemporains, Lausanne

    L’usage des jours. 365 ceramic objects by Guillaume Bardet / Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains, Lausanne
    March 27 - May 26, 2013

    Opening reception: Tuesday, March 26, 6 PM.

    During the period from September 21, 2009, until September 20, 2010, the French designer Guillaume Bardet drew one object a day. As an extension of this «artistic and human performance», from fall 2010 he saw to the creation of each object. He did so in collaboration with fourteen ceramists from the Dieulefit region (Rhône-Alpes, southeast France), where he had settled in 2009 in order to flee the Parisian hullabaloo.

    It took a good measure of determination, passion, enthusiasm and energy for Guillaume Bardet to become the hub of an alliance built up of individuals, companies, institutions and collectivities, all of whom agreed to join this human and creative adventure with him for an over two-year period. It also demanded a great deal of nerve and talent for the designer to bare himself, revealing not only his basic concerns and strokes of imagination, but also his weak spots, his doubts and his trial-and-error approach. And all this in order to uncompromisingly give their full due to his formal and aesthetic solutions.

    Guillaume Bardet entrusted the scenography for this itinerant exhibition to his friend, the designer Vincent Dupont-Rougier, insisting nonetheless on a preconception whereby time passes very slowly (a one-year period) and very rapidly (that of a single day). And this by resorting to elements in the service of simplicity, structuring and narration, so as to bring to mind both linearity and profusion, families and uses, moods and fancies.

    The exhibition also brings to light various phases of inspiration, the artist’s manner of working and his search for solutions. Interspersed among each of the seasons, information is provided alongside Guillaume Bardet’s sketches, his 3D drawings, and photographs, together with a written record of the remarkably fruitful dialogue Bardet inspired between himself and the many ceramists involved. In the words of one of the latter, Guillaume Bardet found out how to «tell a story» and «seek out the lines» in each of the forms he had designed and observed taking shape in the artisans’ hands.

    This outstanding personal challenge entailed a nigh-to-monacal and introspective approach in 2009; it was followed by a more collegial phase in 2010, climaxing in the production of 365 brand new ceramic works. These have since been presented as the theme of a monographic exhibition of a new kind, shown at several museums and exhibition venues partnering this initiative. The mudac represents the last lap on the exhibition’s itinerary, which included Sèvres («City of Ceramics») in France (near Paris), Le Grand Hornu Images in Belgium, the Château des Adhémar (Contemporary Art Center) in Montélimar (France), and the Maison de la Céramique du Pays de Dieulefit in 2012.

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  • Matthew Harris & Tim Rowan / Erskine, Hall & Coe, London

    Tim Rowan and Matthew Harris exhibition at Erskine Hall Coe Gallery London

    Matthew Harris & Tim Rowan exhibition / Erskine, Hall & Coe, London
    February 20 - March 20, 2013

    An exhibition of works on paper by Matthew Harris and ceramics by Tim Rowan.

    Matthew Harris’ work on paper has been shown in many group and solo exhibitions throughout the U.K, Europe, Japan and the U.S. As drawings they are made to be seen in their own right but also to act as starting points or ‘cartoons’ for larger works that are made using dyed and painted cloth.
    Working primarily from things seen, the drawings recall, interpret and explore imagery, improvising around a given theme. Matthew Harris lives and works in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

    Tim Rowan was born in New York City and grew up in Connecticut along the shore of Long Island Sound.  His art education began during college, receiving a BFA from The State University of New York at New Paltz before journeying to Japan for 2 years to apprentice with ceramic artist Ryuichi Kakurezaki. Upon his return he worked briefly in studios in Massachusetts and New York before receiving his MFA from The Pennsylvania State University.  In 2000 he established his kiln and studio deep in the woods of the Hudson Valley.

    "The works in this exhibition have all been completed over the past two years. They are made, primarily, from native clay. This is direct from the earth and unprocessed as opposed to industrially manufactured clay bodies. The forms are slowly constructed from layers, built up over days and weeks then carved. They are fired for seven days and nights in a wood fuelled kiln. No glaze is applied; the surface textures and colours are the result of the interaction of the clay, fly-ash, coals and fire.

    I am constantly building on previous work – just as individual pieces evolve in the process of making, the body of work as a whole does as well. Most of my work develops from the process of making, firing, and arranging. While I may have images in my head of some specific things I have seen, for instance the remnants of an old quarry derrick abandoned in the woods near my home, once I start making, new forms emerge. There is a search and discovery.

    I am particularly drawn to objects in various states of decay – either through use over time such as tools or the effects of the “elements”. Everything is in a constant state of flux. These are merely markers of a particular time and place.

    It is only when I am fully engaged in the making – that the forms present themselves. There is an intuitive process of discovery – of wondering, of noticing, of physically or intellectually feeling the forms. I work on many pieces at once to enable me to become lost in the process - freely moving from one form to another. There is a complete acceptance in the process. Faith. That is the guide. We work together, informing and reacting to each other.

    There are four distinct series in this body of work. The sculptures are the most ambiguous and poetic for me. Drawn from a multitude of sources, industrial detritus, tools and abstracting the fragments of a vessel. The vessels are rooted in more of a pottery vernacular. They are there to nourish. We are comforted. We have a sense of place. The cups are individual intimate moments. Each one is a separate story. Held. Caressed. Nourishment. Life-affirming. The boxes may be urns. Shelters. Forced to touch in order to experience the inside. Containment. Security. Protect me. What is revealed?

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  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Romanian Contemporary Ceramics

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    SPECIAL FEATURE: Romanian Contemporary Ceramics
    Written review of Romanian contemporary ceramics through interviews with internationally-renowned and emerging Romanian artists.

    In December 2011 we have witnessed the rebirth of Romanian contemporary ceramics through the opening of Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, the first gallery in Romania that promotes contemporary ceramics. The exhibition was titled “Ceramic rendez-vous”, poiting out the fact that it brought together fourteen artists from all over the country: Arina Ailincăi, Bianca Boeroiu, Cristina Bolborea, Adela Bonaţ, Vasile Cercel, Gherghina Costea, Georgiana Cozma, Marta Jakobovits, Romana Mateiaş, Aniela Ovadiuc, Monika Pădureţ, Cristina Popescu Russu, Ioana Şetran and Simona Tănăsescu.

    With just two days ahead of the opening day of “Ceramic rendez-vous”, in December the 9th, 2011, Ceramics Now organized the opening day of the first Ceramics Now Exhibition in the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The exhibition marked the launch of the magazine by exhibiting works of fifteen artists from eight countries. The third edition of Ceramics Now Exhibition is being held at Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, between 8-26th of November 2012, and presents the works of 22 world renowned contemporary ceramic artists, including three Romanian artists.

    ROMANIAN CERAMIC ARTISTS - Read all the interviews:
    Arina Ailincăi - by Vasi Hîrdo
    Marta Jakobovits - by Ileana Surducan and Alexandra Mureşan
    Romana Cucu Mateiaş - by Andra Baban
    Aniela Ovadiuc - by Vasi Hîrdo
    Oriana Pelladi - by Vasi Hîrdo
    Eugenia Pop - by Alexandra Mureşan and Vasi Hîrdo
    Cristina Popescu Russu - by Alexandra Mureşan
    Bogdan Teodorescu - by Vasi Hîrdo

    The feature is an ongoing project developed by Ceramics Now Association in collaboration with the Romanian Fine Arts Union, the University of Arts and Design Cluj-Napoca and the National University of Arts Bucharest.

    Above: Oriana Pelladi, Emptiness, 2007, Ceramics, Video projection.

  • Romana Cucu Mateias - Artist of the month, November 2012

    ARTIST OF THE MONTH / Romanian Contemporary Ceramics, November 2012: Romana Cucu Mateiaş

    Romana Cucu Mateias - Ceramics Now Magazine, Digital Issue Two Cover

    Interview by Andra Baban for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

    As a contemporary artist with extensive knowledge in the field of ceramics, can you share with us a significant experience for your career?

    There is no doubt that growing up in a family of artists had a major influence on my life and artistic career. The chance to develop myself in an artistic environment, to be in contact with different genres of art, cultivated my taste for diversity. As a defining experience, I can say that the time spent in the ceramics studio during high school was the most interesting for me. In that period, the studio was an experimentation lab and I was encouraged by my teacher, Judita Crăciun, to discover new things, and so I gathered knowledge that further helped me build my artistic identity. A similar stage was during doctoral studies when I had the opportunity to reshape and enrich my knowledge and vision regarding ceramic art.

    What inspires you and how do you start a new project?

    New projects usually occur after reflecting on certain subjects, items or concepts that caught my attention and which I want to integrate into the work. Other ceramic projects come as a response to a challenging and interesting thematic for a special event or exhibition. What I particularly like is to closely observe plants, animals and insects, and to study their surfaces with a special attention to the countless details, drawings, textures or structures. The miniature elements extracted from the vegetal and animal world are translated into my work through a personal alphabet of shapes. Besides this, in my work I often use details and anatomical fragments as inspiration. In some works, these fragments lose their original identity and transform into volumetric expressions and complex reliefs.

    There is a visible preoccupation for texture in your work; how do you make it and how important is texture and surface for the message you want to send?

    The decorative elements are completing the volumes and have an equal importance for the ensemble, the details becoming in this context a work by its own. The texture makes the work more pretentious and transforms it into an object that requires more time and close inspection in order to be discovered. The structures are completing the volumes with nature inspired shapes, vegetal and zoomorphic elements. These graphic traces, reliefs or applied elements on the works’ surface are growing together with the shape. Some of the reliefs are taking form in the process of constructing the work by pressing the material on textured surfaces, and other work surfaces are transferred by imprinting, cutting and etching, or by applying mixed glazes to the surface. It is a big pleasure for me to collect in my kit of tools items that can help me later on with my work. This kit, made over the years, consists of lots of items that are indeed a small treasure - a chest with instruments out of the ordinary and tools made by me for the purpose to obtain new textures and more complex patterns.

    [] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two
    * Digital Issue Two will be published on December 2012

    In 2010 you held a conference in Paris on the topic of Romanian contemporary ceramics. In this context, what can you say about the context of Romanian ceramics? Do ceramist artists have opportunities in Romania?

    The presentation of Romanian contemporary ceramics was part of a larger project together with a Romanian contemporary ceramics exhibition with Cristina Popescu Russu as curator. The exhibition, held at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris, was one of the most important events for the Romanian contemporary ceramics in the recent years, being included in the program of the 44th General Assembly of the International Academy of Ceramics (International Academy of Ceramics - ICA). Fourteen artists attended the exhibition but 46 Romanian ceramists were promoted through the materials presented throughout the ICA events. Following this exhibition, new contacts were established between artists.

    The visibility of Romanian contemporary ceramics, both nationally and internationally, plays an important role in creating a professional, competitive and creative-stimulating environment which can generate exchanges between renowned and emerging artists, and arise new opportunities for collaborations. Following the records of contemporary ceramists from different generations, with a very original vision in this field, we can notice big differences in the thematic approach, style and forming of ceramic material. The various concerns of the artists for materiality, color, scale or accuracy, and the simplicity of shape are building the identity of Romanian ceramic art. An overview of Romanian contemporary ceramics makes us notice the multimedialism, the interdisciplinary dimension of it, and the new forms and ways of artistic expression generated by new materials, techniques and technologies.

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  • 13 Ways of Looking at “Natural Great Piece” - Meditations on a performance in clay by Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari / REVIEW

    REVIEW, November 2012:

    13 Ways of Looking at “Natural Great Piece”
    Meditations on a performance in clay by Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari

    Review by Daniel Fleischmann for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

    1. “Natural Great Piece” is an intricate, intimate, communal performance in the medium of clay. Like a dance or a concert, it is more overtly bound to time than most sculptural artwork, and it ends dissolved into the past.

    2. Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari make a large and detailed clay sculpture. It emerges from an improvisational score fed by their combined 60 years of art making experience. Passersby are invited to create self-portraits in clay to be incorporated into the artwork. Its surfaces become covered with these figures, which are painted with underglaze.

    At a certain point, the construction is complete. Its size is such that it can easily conceal a large adult from view. The words of Tibetan lama Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche are carved into the unfired clay:
    Rest in natural great peace this exhausted mind,
    Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thoughts
    Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
    In the infinite ocean of samsara.
    Rest in natural great peace.

    A brief performance marks the culmination of the process. Then the Natural Great Piece is dismantled.

    3. Rowe and Ari first manifested “Natural Great Piece” at the 2nd Ceramics Annual of America in San Francisco, October 5-9, 2011. They were joined by singer Bridget O’Keeffe and dancer Juliet Lin. In addition, roughly 250 fellow artists, ceramics aficionados, art students, and visitors contributed small figurative moments to the sculpture.

    Circumnavigating its concave exterior or squatting in its embrace, you could see a red dragon, a female figure growing from yellow coral, a gnome pouring a jug of water over a balcony, a bloody ghoul, a colony of barnacles, a waiter bringing a head on a tray, a cluster of pink faces on a blue man’s torso, and countless more visual poems and paragraphs.

    The chaotic and fascinating fresco captured the essence of the eternal cycle of birth, differentiation, suffering, death and rebirth—in short, samsara. Yet as varied as the details were, all came together in the single, curved wall. Reminiscent of both cave and womb, it described approximately three quarters of a circle and measured about 3m in circumference, 2.5m in height at its apex, and 900 kg in weight.



    4. There is no reason to believe that “Natural Great Piece” has a quintessential appearance. Rowe notes, for example, that the moisture in the air at Fort Mason, which sits on a pier above San Francisco Bay, forced her to build a stockier wall. One wing of the sculpture even threatened to collapse on Saturday, calling for quick reinforcement. In a drier clime, the taller shape could easily emerge given Rowe’s gift for stretching the proportions of clay.

    For another example, because the venue was a ceramic conference, many participants were artists themselves. Rowe and Ari conceive of this work having an expression in a space where most passersby would not have artistic training. It would yield something quite different and perhaps more compelling to Ari, who says, “The point is that art is for everyone. Everyone gets to express. For me, it’s very powerful to invite people to art making in a way that makes them say yes to the process.”

    5. “How do you fire it?” is the number one FAQ. The answer is simple, but few can hear it without questioning further.
    “So you’re not going to save it?”
    “Then what are you going to do with it?”
    “Are you going to take it apart and then fire it?”

    You have to have compassion toward these reactions because it’s clear that great effort has gone into building this mother cave. The structural ingenuity, the input of so many people, even the cost of the clay—surely it must be saved.

    But when a saxophonist stops blowing, or a monk rises from a meditation of pure surrender, or a trick pilot pivots a plane like a beached fish in midair and then recovers, nobody questions why the transcendent emergence has to end. Nobody asks the pilot, “How will you save that moment?” And even fired clay is only a pause in this fluid reality.
    (The second most common question is asked by people who have given Rowe and Ari their clay self-portrait: “Where is the piece I contributed?”)

    6. Last summer, Ari and Rowe got together at Rowe’s studio in the hills southeast of L.A. Together, they built two small structures to explore the way their languages combine. They also painted two large drop cloths in prismatic colors to serve as a foundation for the sculpture. Their daughters, Galatea and Mirabai, fast friends, played together while their mothers worked.

    The artists first met the previous year at the First Ceramics Annual, but even before that, Ari had seen Rowe’s work and recognized a kindred spirit. “When I saw [it], I thought to myself, ‘If I were to make something big, I’d want it to look like that.”

    Rowe had also been instantly attracted to Ari’s work, and had actually set one of Ari’s images as her computer’s desktop graphic before the two ever met.

    “So when we met, we quickly started talking about collaboration,” Ari relates. “We had similar energy and ideas.” Over the year, these ideas coalesced, leading them to Fort Mason on October 5, 2011, where they spread the canvases, poured a ring of sand for a base, and began to grow the artwork from the ground up.

    Read More

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  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Keiko Gallery - Japanese artists

    Keiko Gallery - Special feature on Japanese artists - Ceramics Now Magazine

    SPECIAL FEATURE: Keiko Gallery - Japanese artists, October 2011

    In partnership with Keiko Gallery
    Written review of “Keiko Gallery” through interviews with represented Japanese artists who work in ceramics, lacquer, textiles and jewelry.

    Keiko Gallery is one of the most appreciated art galleries in the United States that focuses on Japanese art, from ceramics to the innovative lacquer art, textiles, jewelry and painting. Founded in 2003 in Boston, MA, the gallery organized numerous exhibitions of world-recognized Japanese artists.

    The special feature includes interviews with 10 artists represented by Keiko Gallery, and lots of images with their works. We took this opportunity because we want to introduce the Japanese contemporary art and craft to a larger audience around the world. It is an excellent chance for our readers to learn more from Japanese artists, to see how they think and how they imagine their works.

    KEIKO GALLERY - JAPANESE ARTISTS
    View images / Read all the interviews:
    Niisato Akio, Ceramics - View his works
    Kawabata Kentaro, Ceramics - View his works
    Takeuchi Kouzo, Ceramics - View his works
    Hayashi Shigeki, Ceramics - View his works
    Tanoue Shinya, Ceramics - View his works
    Fujita Toshiaki, Lacquer art - View his works
    Murata Yoshihiko, Lacquer art - View his works
    Jorie Johnson, Textiles - View her works
    Takeda Asayo, Textiles - View her works
    Mariko Husain, Jewelry - View her works

    The feature was presented on Ceramics Now in October 2011, and was published in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue One. Keiko Gallery has now closed its physical space in Boston and it is relocating all the activity online. The new email address is keikogallery@gmail.com

    Above: Kentaro Kawabata, SOOS: Cao-Col, 2012, Porcelain, Silver, 25 x 18 x 40 cm.

  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Overthrown: Clay Without Limits (Denver Art Museum)

    Overthrown: Clay Without Limits special feature for The Denver Art Museum - Ceramics Now

    SPECIAL FEATURE: Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, July 2011

    In partnership with The Denver Art Museum
    Written review of “Overthrown: Clay Without Limits” exhibition at The Denver Art Museum through interviews with exhibiting artists and the curator.

    The twenty-five artists in Overthrown: Clay Without Limits took on adventurous challenges to make the works in this exhibition. Most were made especially for Overthrown and many are in direct dialogue with our dynamic Daniel Libeskind-designed architecture; they move beyond the pedestal to the wall, the floor, and even the ceiling. A few extend beyond the Anschutz Gallery, across the entire museum complex. They break boundaries that are physical, technological, conceptual, and spatial.

    Working in all scales, from architecturally expansive to almost impossibly small, the artists in Overthrown employ twenty-first-century technology hand-in-hand with standard modeling and molding techniques. They use digital cameras, computers, laser cutters, 3-D printers, and computer-controlled mills along with more traditional tools.

    Some push the forms of functional objects. Others push the limits of fragility. They take risks that draw on material chemistry and maverick kiln techniques. Some of their works include not only clay, but also found objects such as metal, plastic, and abandoned industrial materials. Overthrowing our expectations of ceramic art—its size, its context, its methods, and its meaning—these artists show us new ways of using this versatile and timeless material.

    OVERTHROWN: CLAY WITHOUT LIMITS
    View images / Read all the interviews:
    Gwen F. Chanzit, Curator
    Katie Caron and Martha Russo
    John Roloff
    Clare Twomey
    Paul Sacaridiz
    Linda Sormin
    Del Harrow
    Mia Mulvey
    Benjamin DeMott

    The feature was presented on Ceramics Now in July 2011, and was published in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue One. The “Overthrown: Clay Without Limits" exhibition was on view at The Denver Art Museum June 11 through September 18, 2011.

    Above: Linda Sormin, Mine (i hear him unclip me / blood runs cold), 2010–11. Glazed ceramic; souvenir kitsch; and studio remnants from Tim Berg, Gerit Grimm, Nathan Craven, Robyn Gray, and Ted Yoon. Photo by Jeff Wells.

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