Jason Hess: New Work / Plinth Gallery, Denver, CO, USA April 6 - 28, 2012
Opening reception: Friday, April 6th, 6-9 pm.
Jason Hess is a professional ceramic artist and professor who lives in Arizona and instructs at Northern Arizona University. As an “avid wood firer”, his research for over 15 years has focused on the alchemy of the process — how the clay color, wood type, kiln design, and ash dispersion at high temperatures work together to “render a surface that is unattainable in other ways.”
A desire to have objects that fulfill specific purposes inspires him to make functional pots. The infinite and elusive variety of texture and color attainable through the various making and firing processes has generated an interest in the notion of presentation. Some of his work is presented so that a viewer might notice and appreciate subtle diversities in form and surface. By grouping similar forms of differing size and color the compositions create a visually dynamic display, which invites the viewer to enjoy the tactile nature of each individual piece and how they relate to one another.
His ceramic art has been featured in over 125 exhibitions worldwide. Jason has participated in residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation, in Montana, and at The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. He has also received numerous research grants from Northern Arizona University to research his medium and for the construction of the kilns. Jason’s work is either utilitarian or refers to utility in form while the presentation is more like characters relating to one another. He holds an MFA degree from Utah State University.
Gallery Hours: Thursday - Saturday, 12-5 pm, and by appointment.
“I divide my time between teaching and working in my studio. I am a teacher and I’ve emphasised on texile and history in my profession. I believe my current works are inspired by and reflect my educational backdrop. My objects often carry a historical and ethnical connotation.
My inspirations are gathered from all over; my environment, the newspapers, books, fashion and the people around me. My students too are a source of inspiration because of their joyful and ingenuous worldview.
As a ceramist I have specialised in casted forms and the recycling of glass. I especially use old bottles, for which I create a new context and give a new usage. The glides is a design serie I’ve been developing the last few years. I gather their basic structure from gutter- and drainpipes. The serie consists of cups, small containers, candleholders and wall/table vases in various forms and sizes.” Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir
“Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir is a ceramic artist whose medium is not limited to clay. As her works show, her background is first and foremost Icelandic, but in addition to her studies at the Icelandic School of Art and Craft, Guðný has also studied and experienced ceramics in Denmark, Finland and Hungary.
Iceland has a great story-telling tradition and the works of Icelandic artists are often characterised by story-telling features. This also applies to Guðný’s work. Motifs of ancient traditional beliefs are reborn in her beautifully formed freedom stones. Such stones were traditionally used to help women during childbirth. Poems sometimes accompany her works, which make them more personal and add a level of sincerity. Heads of characters from the Viking era appear from glass bottles that have been given a new costume, and in similar works, Guðný flies the flag for Icelandic women. Contemporary recycling gets a new role through Guðný’s works.
But the feeling is far from one where the weight of history rests on the works. On the contrary, her newest works are characterised by lightness and gaiety. Guðný often looks to form in everyday life for inspiration for her craft works. So for example, roof gutters and raindrops are the inspiration for her newest line in cups, trays and breadboards. Here one can find both the form of raindrops and the colour of blue skies. Guðný’s work is characterised by imagination, variety, an awareness of the past and a sensitive perception of the present. Together, these qualities create colourful and thought-provoking art.” Ragna Sigurðardóttir