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» Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, on view until September 18

The Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition at the Denver Art Museum is on view until September 18, 2011.

"The scale of the space has pushed all the artists to think big, both physically and conceptually. The exhibition, technically demonstrates the inventive use of such an ancient material, while raising contemporary issues. The works in the exhibition challenge traditional notions of “objectness”, providing a depth of content, and creating a diverse dialogue." Katie Caron

Location: Anschutz Gallery, Level Two, Hamilton Building / Denver Art Museum

→ View images from the exhibition (in High Quality) - /Overthrown
→ Read interviews we’ve made with some of the exhibiting artists -  /Overthrown_Interviews

Interview with Gwen F. Chanzit - The curator of the exhibition.
Interview with Katie Caron and Martha Russo
Interview with John Roloff
Interview with Clare Twomey
Interview with Paul Sacaridiz
Interview with Linda Sormin
Interview with Del Harrow
Interview with Mia Mulvey
Interview with Benjamin DeMott

* The Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition will have an extended feature in the first printed issue of Ceramics Now Magazine (November 2011).

  • » Ceramics Now Magazine Newsletter - Special feature: Overthrown

    Special feature for the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition, July 2011 - http://eepurl.com/eTpMo

    The feature includes interviews with some of the exhibiting artists plus images from the exhibition. The Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition is on view June 11 through September 18, 2011 and is part of Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World, which includes eight exhibitions, live artist demonstrations, and hands-on programming. For details on individual exhibitions, see listings here.

    Interview with Gwen F. Chanzit - The curator of the exhibition.
    Interview with Katie Caron and Martha Russo
    Interview with John Roloff
    Interview with Clare Twomey
    Interview with Paul Sacaridiz
    Interview with Linda Sormin
    Interview with Del Harrow
    Interview with Mia Mulvey
    Interview with Benjamin DeMott
    Interview with Marie T. Hermann (will be published at the end of July)

    /Overthrown - Images from the exhibition (in High Quality).
    /Overthrown_Interviews - Interviews with 10 of the exhibiting artists.
    /tagged/nameofthe_artist (ex: /Clare_Twomey) - Images with the works of the artist you’re looking for.

    Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and like our Facebook page if you want to stay in touch with us.

  • Overthrown: Martha Russo and Katie Caron, Apoptosis (detail), 2010–11. Porcelain, paper clay, glaze materials, colored pigments, assorted tools, steel and hardware, silicone, LED Lights, compact fluorescents, electrical cables, wires and conductors, utility poles, abaca paper, beeswax. #2

  • Interview with Katie Caron and Martha Russo, exhibiting artists at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition

    Interview with Katie Caron and Martha Russo, exhibiting artists at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition, Denver Art Museum, July 2011

    The special feature for the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition includes images from the exhibition and interviews with some of the exhibiting artists, plus with the curator. Subscribe.

    Katie Caron:

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Your collaboration transformed into an outstanding piece of contemporary art, Apoptosis. What can you tell us about this collaborative work?

    Working in collaboration with Martha Russo was such a positive and inspiring experience.  We have known each other’s work for years, and always seem to be following similar paths and forms.  It was exciting to work with someone who is so on the same page as you.  For example, the day I did my preliminary sketch of the work on an airplane ride to Detroit, Martha created a small model of the work.  We were shocked to discover, that separate from each other, we both sketched pretty much the same piece.  It was quite eerie! 

    Artist Statement for Apoptosis:
    The site-specific installation connects the museum’s own architecture to a floating swirl of motivated chaos made from a host of ceramic and mixed media materials.  Apoptosis references the genetically directed process of cell self-destruction that makes way for new growth to occur.

    Evoking growth and development, lightness and weight, the work suggests both biological membranes and intertwining industrial lines, conjuring up a tangle of beauty, grotesquerie, buoyancy, and energy.

    The suspended composition has a brace of vantages: the first, a treasure-mesh conceals from the viewer the cryptic viscera of this complex organism, while the second vantage unfolds and unfurls, being pulled by gravity and holding the viewer in a state of suspended wonder.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Apoptosis looks powerful, twisted, and somehow embrace you to look further. Maybe it’s because of Katie’s previous works that experience illusions, or because of Martha’s work with the physical nature of sculpture?

    Katie Caron : Both of our goals were to engage the viewer to look further, but in different ways. My previous work, as you mentioned, involves the creation of illusions where the viewer is asked to question: what’s real and what’s fabrication?  I am fascinated with our cultures need for escapism, and how we have become addicted to the virtual windows of social media and entertainment.  I hope to tap into this obsession, using theatrical effects to create objects and environments that entice the viewer to look closer and longer.  Asking how virtual objects may compete with virtual media?

    Martha Russo and Katie Caron, Apoptosis (detail), 2010–11. Photo by Jeff Wells.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Is this a site-project? Did you experience any challenges? (here you can tell us when did you start working on it, or how was the process, if you had any difficulties with the space, etc.)

    Katie Caron : Selection of the space came first, and then the concepts for the work.  We were interested in using a space that had never been used to show work, a space that was unusual.  The architecture of the Denver Art Museum is so powerfully unique, and so we chose a 30 foot slanted wall as our catalyst.

    I began drawing concept sketches for forms, materials, and use of the space.  I wanted to create an installation that looked like it was co-dependant, both foreign to the space, but dependent on the space for survival.  I compare it to animal architecture; the way some insects parasitically transform man-made spaces to suit their needs. 

    The Denver Art Museum was a huge technical support to our installation.  They provided us with the necessary lifts, equipment, and assistance to stage such a complex work.  Mounting the utility poles took some serious preparation and support.  There are over 200 lit porcelain and paper forms, plus another 3,000 other components mounted to the 30 foot slanted wall with steel rods.  The installation was quite labor intensive to say the least.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: What do you think about the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition?

    Katie Caron: It has been an honor to exhibit with such a prominent group of artists.  Gwen Chanzit, curator for Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, has done an admirable job of selecting and encouraging artists to be ambitious.  The scale of the space has pushed all the artists to think big, both physically and conceptually.  The exhibition, technically demonstrates the inventive use of such an ancient material, while raising contemporary issues.   The works in the exhibition challenge traditional notions of “objectness”, providing a depth of content, and creating a diverse dialogue.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Where do you get your inspiration from and what motivates you, what do you want to discover through your works?

    Katie Caron: We started off with the idea of a chaotic tangle, which led us to look at all kinds of forms, both from biology and industry.  My personal interest was in power lines.  For years, I have looked upward at utility poles, and found their functional aesthetic inspiring.  After undergoing major spinal surgery in 2009, and looking at x-rays of all the hardware in my back, I began to draw connections between the aesthetics of my hardware and the power lines.  Both aesthetics were determined by utility and appeared parasitic to their host forms. 

    While creating the work, I discovered I was pregnant.  I believe this change in my biology positively affected the work to create an illusion that the work was alive, and powered by an external energy force.  Creating cell-like forms with illuminated interiors became my focus for the work.


    Martha Russo and Katie Caron, Apoptosis (detail), 2010–11. Photo by Jeff Wells.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Where can we find you and your works in the next future?

    Katie Caron : We are currently looking for another site for the work on both east and west coasts.  I have two solo shows in 2012 in Denver, at Ice Cube Gallery and Hinterland Gallery, where I look to explore the progression of these ideas and materials further.  You can find my work online at http://www.icecubegallery.com/ , and http://www.katiecaron.com/


    Ceramics Now Magazine: Please give an advice to young ceramic artists.

    Katie Caron: My advice to young ceramic artist is two fold:  First, make, make, make!  Ceramics is such a challenging material, so practice exploring all the ways to manipulate the clay is very important.  Don’t be afraid to fail or let the work lead you.  Too often ceramic artists try to control the clay, rather then using it as a guide.  Second, explore other materials as well!  Do not limit yourself to just clay, but build confidence with other materials, processes and concepts.  The more interdisciplinary your work becomes the more questions it can raise.

    Martha Russo:

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Your collaboration transformed into an outstanding piece of contemporary art, Apoptosis. What can you tell us about this collaborative work?
     
    We both started with something that we wanted to investigate from previous works. For Katie is was light and translucent porcelain and paper and for me it was clay combined with metal. We would work independently in our studios and then show each other what we had done and then make more work off of what each other responded to. Conceptually, we started with the word “tangle” and sent each other a flurry of images of any kind of tangle.  Our “image swap” generated a rolling progression of ideas and possibilities. What began to resonate with both of us were notions of electricity and wires, morphing cell production, masses of jumbled objects, and much more. We tested different groupings of the pieces in our studios and got a sense of how to make them physically cling to the wall.  With time our ideas began to coalesce into a hazy notion of what the thousands and thousands of pieces would form.  Because of the enormous scale (30 feet high and 25 feet wide) we really did not know how the installation would work until we put it up in the museum. I think the most important thing about our collaboration is that Katie and I gave each other complete freedom. We deeply trusted each other.  Working with Katie has and continues to be a complete joy and one of incessant wonder and possibility.  I feel infinitely fortunate to know and work with her.  The future is BIG.
     
    Ceramics Now Magazine: Apoptosis looks powerful, twisted, and somehow embraces you to look further. Maybe it’s because of Katie’s previous works that experience illusions, or because of Martha’s work with the physical nature of sculpture?
     
    Martha Russo : I think Apoptosis is a wonderful hybrid of our aesthetics, ways of working, trust in the unknown, and ideas about art.
     
    I just learned of a new word, phototaxis, which means that light compels one to move closer to an object.  I think the mystery and lure of the glowing porcelain forms and the hovering translucent paper spheres draws the viewer in closer to decipher the mass and weight of the cascade of objects, the jumble of metal burned into the clay coupled with the odd beauty and decisive scale of the utility poles. I think Katie and I share the fascination and try to mind the psychology of what intrigues someone to stay with a work of art.


     
    Ceramics Now Magazine: Is this a site-project? Did you experienced any challenges? (here you can tell us when did you start working on it, or how was the process, if you had any difficulties with the space, etc.).
     
    Martha Russo : Because of so many conceptual crossovers and interests in experimenting with materials, Katie and I toyed with the idea of some day doing some work together. When we were invited to the show, separately, the thought of having such a huge gallery space seemed like a great opportunity to collaborate.  After we decided to work together, we picked the space, which had not been used before to exhibit work. The prospects of such an unusual space set us in motion. I was most interested in creating some kind of wave of objects that would appear to have tumbled down the slanted thirty foot wall and Katie had the brilliant idea to connect an existing free-standing gallery wall to the slanted wall with some sort of floating forms.

    The turn-around time for the show was about eleven months, so we had no time to waste. The time pressure really made us work quickly and intuitively while also solving a plethora of technical challenges like using translucent porcelain, learning how to cast and create forms with paper, and coaxing the clay to co-mingle with lots of different kinds of metal. The process was all about discovery - brilliant fun and incessant challenges.  With a very carefully orchestrated plan, full support from the Denver Art Museum every step of the way, and an extremely smart, professional, and adventurous installation crew, the knitting together of the thousands of forms went off really well. Each day brought different challenges and unknowns and after two solid weeks of installing, Apoptosis came into focus.
     
    Ceramics Now Magazine: What do you think about the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition?
     
    Martha Russo: The exhibit, curated by Dr. Gwen Chanzit, is smart, diverse, beautiful, and eye-opening. With every turn in the gallery, there is something really compelling to experience and to ponder.  The show gives a fresh look into the contemporary art world at artists who use the clay process in some innovative and inventive ways.  Being included in the exhibit has not only been and continues to be a great honor but has opened up a breath of possibilities for the future.
     
    Ceramics Now Magazine: Where do you get your inspiration from and what motivates you, what do you want to discover through your works?
     
    Martha Russo: Here is the short list:
     
    not knowing
    cellular complexity and simplicity
    a burl on a tree
    logs jammed in a river bend
    the odd hardware and connective gear on utility poles
    the periodic table
    the miracle of systems in the body
    how my kids explore things
    goo and glue and Dragon Skin
    my husband, Joe, the scientist telling me about how chemicals interact
    how to negotiate with the water content of clay
    being a pyro
    the light of the moon eking out behind the clouds

    Martha Russo and Katie Caron, Apoptosis, 2010–11. Photo by Jeff Wells.
     
    Ceramics Now Magazine: Where can we find you and your works in the next future?
     
    Martha Russo: In the upcoming year, I may be in exhibitions in Seattle, Denver, and Aspen. I am in an art collective, called “Artnauts, which is a group of artist put together by Dr. George Rivera and Garrison Roots, from University of Colorado, Boulder. This year we have shows in Chile, Cuba, Brazil, and two venues in the Middle East.  To see more of my work please go to: http://www.martharussostudio.com/
     
    Ceramics Now Magazine: Please give an advice to young ceramic artists.

    Martha Russo : WORK WORK WORK and WORK SOME MORE. Making anything takes a long time. Staying in the studio and staying with a new idea or process simply takes time, concentration, and focus. Avoid editing away ideas too early. Give everything a long incubation period with unfettered flurries of making and then look at the work carefully.  And lastly, be open to every possible material and process in order to bring an idea to fruition.  Plus have fun.

    ——————————————————————-

    Apoptosis
    2010-2011
    Porcelain, paper clay, glaze materials, colored pigments, assorted tools, steel and hardware, silicone, LED Lights, compact fluorescents, electrical cables, wires and conductors, utility poles, abaca paper, beeswax.

    Apoptosis is a floating swirl of motivated chaos that inhabits the museum’s architecture.  The cascading mass of morphing cell-like forms evokes growth and development, lightness and weight, and connects biological membranes with intertwining industrial lines. With a cacophony of sculptural forms, colors, textures, cables, utility poles, and lights it conjures up a tangle of beauty, grotesquerie, buoyancy, and energy.  Our goal is to create a state of suspended wonder.


    Katie Caron
    Born 1978 in Manchester, Connecticut; lives in Lafayette and works in Lakewood, Colorado

    Katie Caron graduated summa cum laude from Boston University in 2000, and received an MFA in ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2009. Her work has been in national exhibitions such as Breakdown at Guggenheim Gallery: Chapman University, California, Reinventing Beauty at the Museum of New Art: MONA, Michigan, and Elastic Authenticity at the Morean Art Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.   Caron is presently an Assistant Professor in Fine Arts & Art Education at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, and a member of Ice Cube Gallery.   She lives with her husband in Lafayette, CO.

    I am fascinated by escapism: how and why our senses transport us to imaginary worlds, how electronic media change the way we feel the present moment and how it can mediate our lives. Through film and theatrical effects, I immerse viewers in the experience of an illusion—what’s real and what’s fabrication?
    These new worlds are uncanny and mysterious. I explore how unconscious reactions shape emotion; how certain spaces, sounds, and objects may provoke fear or incite wonder.


    Martha Russo
    Born 1962 in Milford, Connecticut; lives in Ward and works in Lakewood, Colorado

    Martha Russo earned a BA in developmental biology and psychology from Princeton University,1985.  Formerly a world-class athlete, she suffered a career-ending injury in 1984 while preparing for the Los Angeles Olympic Games.  After her recovery from surgery, attracted to the physical nature of sculpture, Russo studied studio arts in Florence, Italy, and continued at Princeton University.  In 1995 she earned her MFA at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  Martha is represented by Allan Stone Gallery, New York, New York and Ron Judish, Denver, Colorado.  Martha also teaches at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Lakewood, Colorado.

    Before children have the language and cognitive skills to name an object, they explore the world with all of their senses.  For instance, a chair is not a “chair” but rather something to climb on, to crawl under, and, perhaps, even to lick.  With the acquisition of language and the awareness of the purpose of something, the investigations dwindle and the senses simmer. My hope is that people approach my work and stay with it because they are not quite sure what it is:  What are the forms?  What are they made out of?  How are they suspended in space?  I make abstract organic sculptures to give people a place to let language and purpose slip away and to allow the senses to frolic, to delight, to muse.

    Visit Katie Caron and Martha Russo's websites.

    Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and like our Facebook page if you want to stay in touch with us.
    → Read more interviews with ceramic artists and search through our featured artists.

    Interview by Vasi Hirdo - Editor of Ceramics Now Magazine with help from Miruna Pria.

  • Overthrown: Martha Russo and Katie Caron, Apoptosis (detail), 2010–11.

  • Overthrown: Works by John Roloff and Jeanne Quinn

  • Interview with The Young Artists’ Collective - Tumblr Community, June-July 2011

    Interview with The Young Artists’ Collective - Tumblr Community, June-July 2011

    → Subscribe to our monthly newsletter if you want to receive news and interviews with ceramic artists.

    The Young Artists’ Collective own description sounds like this: “This is a blog about art. This is a blog about passion. This is a blog about creativity. It’s about a community. It’s about recognition, originality, skepticism. It’s about freedom of expression, fearlessness, and dreams. Style, hunger, and emotion. It’s about life. It’s about us, and it’s about you.

    We are all artists.

    Love thy art.”

    We wanted to know what challenges this young artists (like us) meet along their way in becoming a strong collective and in finding themselves through art. We asked why is art important to them.

    Emily Ford : Asking why art is important to me is like asking why is air important to me.  A little dramatic I know,  but I can’t imagine my life -or any life without creativity and art. It is called visual art for a reason, because we literally see it everywhere. I see it in a well made piece of clothing, in the patterns drops of water make on the floor as I leave the shower, even in the graphics used to create this website.
    Design, craftsmanship, color, and creativity can be found in anything and I can’t escape it even if I tried.  The question is so very broad, but to me art is important because I live, communicate and understand concepts visually; therefore, without art I would struggle hopelessly through my days.  In addition, the creative process itself is a way for me to express and release my subconscious concerns.  It is very much a therapeutic process that I use to connect my works of art with viewers. I also involve myself with others in my community through art making, so this creating is a way to connect, inspire, and benefit myself and community.
    Art gives me sanity, happiness, connectivity, meaning, freedom, discipline, and so much more.  Like I said, I breathe it in daily. It is in my blood and I can’t live without it.


    Chelsea Sherman : “The imagination encircles the world.” I have a very strong connection to this belief, so much in fact that a (personalized) version of the phrase is tattooed on my arm. The idea that our imagination, where creativity and artwork expand from tiny specs of thought to explosions of color, connects every human being (because we are all artists!) on an incredibly intricate, passionate level. To me, ‘world’ could be taken literally or to mean your life, and in my world imagination threads art and vitality together, tailoring them inseparable. Creativity flows through my veins; without it I cannot live.

    More importantly, it’s everywhere! Art is the piquant spice that flicks your taste bud, the hangnail that you can’t pick, the crisp crackling an ice cube makes when it trampolines into a glass of lemonade. It is something freshly observed, something extracted from the everyday and twisted with paintbrushes and cheap pens. Writing a short story or painting an oil piece from watching a boy drop a popsicle stick in the park last Tuesday. That to me is art. Everything. And the last time that I checked, everything was pretty fucking important.


    Tim Boyle: There’s a story of a Russian dancer, who when asked to explain the meaning of her dance, responded, “If I could say it in so many words, do you think I should take the very great trouble of dancing it?” I think that’s a salient point in regards to art as a whole. To flourish as humans, we must communicate with one another. And yet so often we find that there are parts of our lives we struggle to express.

    From the mundane to the grandiose, we have thoughts, feelings, and instincts which we can’t seem to define yet art let’s us communicate to each other. And because of that, art is an essential part of my life. It’s importance rests in its ability to communicate those things which can’t be expressed directly. And without it, I’d know so much less about myself, let alone anyone else.


    Tim Hughes : Many artists say that the process of creating is why they view art as important.  This is valid no doubt, but I think the after effects of creation is where the importance of art lies.  People react to art.  They will experience feelings and emotions that they may or may not have experienced before.  They may become happy or excited.  They may have sadness or depression.  But the most important thing is that they are feeling. 
    When art forces the viewer into the act of feeling emotion, the viewer is reminded of their existence.  People’s lives typically revolve around a routine in which we become accustomed to, and comfortable with.  We forget what it’s like to feel something real.  Art lets us feel.  It breaks the monotonous cycle of our daily routine.  It reminds us that we are really alive.  In a world without art, we would lose an element of our emotional essence.

    The Young Artists’ Collective consists in the following:
    - Tim Hughes - Creator and Editor
    - Chelsea Sherman
    - Tim Boyle
    - Andrew Olanoff
    - Layne Dixon
    - Emily Ford
    - Anthony Smith

    Ceramics Now Magazine: You say creativity, freedom of expression, originality and recognition are values that you and The Young Artists’ Collective respect. Can you tell us more about the project? What are your goals?

    Tim Hughes , Creator and Editor of The Young Artists’ Collective:
    Making your way in the art industry is a tough, stressful thing to do.  I’ve been painting for a couple years now and have had relative success in doing so, but I’ve also experienced the low blows that the art world can throw.  Though discouraging, these setbacks can only be taken in stride.  In attempting to do so, I’ve developed a philosophy: I think that the best way to make it in the art world is to involve and immerse your self in the art as much as possible.  Thus, the Young Artist’s Collective was born.  It’s one more tool at our disposal.  One more open road to take.  One more stage to grace. 
    The Collective is made up of artist’s of different natures and pasts.  Our experience spans many mediums from painting to writing to graphic design to philosophy.  We are a small group but are growing slowly.  We may not post in great quantity but will always try to post in great quality.  We want to share our artistic experience and findings with each other and the rest of the world.  We want artist’s that we love to be discovered and loved by others too.  This can only help in building a community that consists of artists who have each other’s back. 
    The hope is to have a successful art blog.  This success won’t be measured in popularity, number of views, monetary gain or reputation.  It will be measured in what we as a community will gain from this forum.  Through the Collective’s and the community’s posts, insights and philosophies, we will learn from each other.  We want to encourage each other’s creativity and celebrate our freedom to create.  We will inspire and motivate each other.  That’s the whole point of the Collective: to attempt to survive and tame the beast that is the art world… as a group.

    Visit the artists website.

      

    Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and like our Facebook page if you want to stay in touch with us.
    → Read more interviews with ceramic artists and search through our featured artists.

    Interview by Vasi Hirdo - Editor of Ceramics Now Magazine with help from Miruna Pria.

  • Interview with Gwen F. Chanzit - Special feature for The Denver Art Museum, July 2011

    Interview with Gwen F. Chanzit, the curator of Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition at The Denver Art Museum, July 2011

    This is the first interview we’ve made for the special Overthrown feature. The special feature for The Denver Art Museum covers more interviews with artists exhibiting at the Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, which is on view June 11 through September 18, 2011. Subscribe here to receive the special edition of our newsletter.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: How did you find the artists for Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition? Was it hard or you already had their names in mind?

    Gwen F. Chanzit: I spent many months researching, talking with artists in the field, and visiting artists in their studios.  I also participated in symposia at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I was introduced to the work of additional artists.

    From well over 100 file folders with research on the work of individual artists, I narrowed my selections by reviewing these regularly, moving the folders into piles that grew into “yes,”  “maybe,” and “no.”  I was particularly interested in showing the breadth of work that ceramic artists are accomplishing today.  Sometimes when I made a studio visit to see one artist, I discovered another artist or two.


    Ceramics Now Magazine: What are the criteria on which you selected the artists for this exhibition?

    Gwen F. Chanzit: I look for quality, inventiveness, and artists who are pushing the limits to develop new methodologies. 

    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.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: Did the exhibition space offered many obstacles? How did the artists adapt to the space?

    Gwen F. Chanzit: The exhibition space is a dynamic Daniel Libeskind design with angular walls and interesting spaces that are wonderful for exhibiting three-dimensional work. The soaring ceilings provide particularly good opportunities for large scale work. Each artist was encouraged to utilize these exciting spaces—which they did.

    Most of the works were made especially for this exhibition, and many are in direct dialogue with the site—they move beyond the pedestal to the wall, the floor, and even the ceiling. A few extend across the entire museum complex. They break boundaries that are physical, technological, conceptual, and spatial.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: On what principles do you guide on preparing an exhibition like this, with more than 20 artists participating?

    Gwen F. Chanzit: It’s important to show each artist’s work with integrity, to enable the work to have enough space to show itself well.  It was a particular goal for each work in this exhibition to be seen independently—-with the added bonus of long vistas across the gallery from work to work.


    Ceramics Now Magazine: Do you have any guidelines for the artists? How long ago did you contact and proposed them to exhibit at the Denver Art Museum?

    Gwen F. Chanzit: I encouraged each of the 25 artists to be very ambitious—not to be hindered by cost of materials or limitations of space.  Most artists had just over a year to prepare the work—a very short time in the world of these ceramic installations where challenges of materials and techniques had to be resolved.  In some cases, kilns had to be built..

    Ceramics Now Magazine:  Significant support was provided by different foundations and citizens. What is DAM’s relationship with foundations and donors?

    As most non-profits, the Denver Art Museum appreciates the significant support received by foundations and donors.

    Ceramics Now Magazine:  What part or what limits of this exhibition you find yourself connected to?

    I am connected to all parts of the exhibition.

    Ceramics Now Magazine: What expectations do you have from this exhibition?

    Gwen F. Chanzit: I very much hope this exhibition will overthrow some expectations of what ceramics might be.  It is a versatile and timeless material that is being used in new inventive ways in the 21st century.

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    Gwen Chanzit is curator of modern and contemporary art and the Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive, Denver Art Museum. She has organized many DAM exhibitions including Bonnard, Matisse from the Baltimore Museum of Art, Martha Daniels Grotto, Vance Kirkland: The Late Paintings and Color as Field, as well as numerous exhibitions on Herbert Bayer. Her rotation in the modern and contemporary art galleries for Marvelous Mud is Focus: Earth and Fire.

    Among her many publications, Chanzit has authored two books on Herbert Bayer; contributed essays to DAM exhibition catalogs, RADAR: Selections from the Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan and The View From Denver; served as editor and authored essays for the 2009 exhibition catalog, Embrace!; and published an essay in the Austrian exhibition catalog, Ahoi, Herbert: Bayer und die moderne (2009). 

    For Marvelous Mud, Chanzit is curating Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, an exhibition in the Anschutz Gallery that features new work by 25 contemporary artists—most of whom work very large scale. She is also preparing a catalog and organizing a related symposium in September 2011.

    Chanzit is a frequent lecturer locally, nationally and internationally. She often serves as juror for art competitions and exhibitions and has been a guest curator at the Aspen Institute and the University of Denver. Chanzit holds a Ph.D. in art history and contributes to the future generation of museum professionals as director of the graduate program in museum studies at the University of Denver’s School of Art and Art History.

    Visit the Modern and Contemporary Art Collection's web page on the Denver Art Museum website.

      

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    Interview by Vasi Hirdo - Editor of Ceramics Now Magazine

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    The newsletter features interviews with ceramic artists Roxanne Jackson as Artist of the month, Liza Riddle as Recognized artist, Jim Kraft - Ceramic Technique, Chang Hyun Bang as New artist, plus The Young Artists’ Collective for our Tumblr Community interviews.

    Also, you’ll get to read a preview of the interview with Gwen F. Chanzit, Curator of Overthrown: Clay Without Limits exhibition at the Denver Art Museum.

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