Cynthia Lahti: Cat Mask
Cynthia Lahti: Braid
Cynthia Lahti: Blue Suit
“My current work, a series called, “Dominance and Affection” revolves around the exploration of this duality as it can be seen in the relationship that exists between humans and the rest of the natural world. In today’s increasingly nature deprived society our most intimate connection tends to be with plants and animals that we ourselves have drastically altered through the process of domestication. We have turned wild animals into docile and sweet natured pets as we have selected for tameness helping the animal to evolve in a manner that has been most beneficial to us. We have removed these creatures from the wild to give us unconditional love and eliminate our loneliness, to amuse us, and to assist us in our day to day activities, but this comes at the expense of their own freedom to exist in their natural environment. Cats in today’s society, more often then not, live entire lives with their feet never once touching grass as they chase catnip infused fabric mice and sleep in sunlit windowsills while the birds chattering outside remain just beyond their grasp.
Although strong love and a desire to protect are at the heart of this captivity, the practice of keeping animals strictly indoors surely has its physical and psychological detriments. Dogs, a species which exhibits amazing variety have been shaped by humans to custom fit our specific needs whether it be herding cattle or sniffing out bombs in a crowded airport. It’s amazing to think that the drastic visual disparity between the Chihuahua and the Great Dane is due entirely to human intervention and selective breeding. Monkey’s are taken from their mothers, diapered and given a surrogate which is usually a stuffed animal to cling to for maternal comfort in the terrifying transition from jungle to cage. Fighting crickets in some societies have been so revered that, upon their deaths, have had elaborate and lavish funeral ceremonies in their honor. However, they are fought in much the same ways that cocks have been fought, often to the death of the loser. It is this reverence existing side by side with complete control that I am interested in illustrating in my work. For no amount of love and affection lavished upon these creatures will erase the fact that the success of the relationship lies in our complete domination over all aspects of their existence.” Bethany Krull
Dark, somber and foreboding, Arthur Gonzalez’s works encourage serious deliberation and reflection on the relationship between personal concerns and world issues. Raw in form, lacking in smoothness and rough in finish, the ceramic sculptures give glimpses of a conversation or a contemplation in progress. Gonzalez’s creations of ceramic and found objects reveal visions and feelings that are not polished but ongoing processes of gyrating thoughts and churning emotions that threaten to erupt into reality and consciousness to defy the fantasy of a peaceful experience.
Aesthetically, his work balances between painting and sculpture, clay figures with blown glass, and horsehair and natural sponges. The understanding that these elements are not “found objects” or even mixed media but closer to the ideas of “material” by Joseph Beays. The figures are a devise to trigger our need to see “narrative” which is a support system for the symbols and the material. These pieces are constructed in such a manner that some pieces are literally and metaphorically in balance with a degree of fulcrum-like equation. Consequently, there is a symbiotic relationship, the sculpture becomes a metaphor for the dialogue and the dialogue is ushered in by the sculpture.
Arthur Gonzalez received his MFA degree at the University of California at Davis. He studied under Robert Arneson. Manuel Neri and Wayne Thiebaud. He is an internationally exhibited artist with over 35 one-person shows in the last 25 years. He has received many awards, including two Virginia Groot Foundation awards,and an unprecedented four-time recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts award. He is a tenured professor at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, He also has been awarded many residencies including the Pilchuck Glass School, and the Tainan University of Art in Taiwan. Gonzalez advises his students to rid themselves of the process normally associated with ceramics, get past things that are supposedly bad technique (like epoxy in cracks), colve problems creatively and remember spirit when making work.
Chris Riccardo received his BFA in sculpture from the College of Fine Arts at Boston University.
In 1995, Chris opened his own commercial bronze casting foundry, RDK Studios in West Palm Beach, FL. A few years later, he began teaching figurative sculpture at the Armory Art Center. Shortly after he decided to sell his foundry and concentrate on his work and teaching. In 2007, Chris was named the Director of the Sculpture Department and Foundry Manager. He set up a small foundry at the Armory and began teaching the fine art of bronze casting.
For a number of year his work dealt with the figure in bronze. Recently, he has started to work less in bronze and more in clay. His figures are one of a kind, fired clay with underglazes. For years his color palette was that of the limited bronze patina finishes. Working in clay has opened up new doors to his work with the unlimited color palette available with glazes.
He is currently represented by the Mindy Solomon gallery in St. Petersburg, FL.
“They point and laugh, tease and ridicule all the while unaware of the consequences.
As important as play is to our development as adults, what effect does play have on those who cannot participate in the traditional sense of the word?
Consequences comments on the epidemic of childhood obesity in our country and how the disease affects our children’s ability to play, leading to low-self esteem, inability to interact and work with others and possible future psychological abnormalities.
It is these abnormalities that have been the focus of my recent work, starting with my series entitled: Mugz: American Heroes. The pieces in Mugz are taken from police blotter mug shots and the accused crimes are woven into their portraits. Consequences takes this idea one step further and explores the idea of how these people end up in front of the authority’s camera.” Chris Riccardo
Carole Epp: Sibling rivalry installation detail
Carole Epp: Sometimes she wanted to tune it out as much as anyone else
“I have always been a people watcher. In the first grade I did not play with the other kids. I stood back and watched. And I have been watching ever since. I watch what people do and imagine what they might like to do.
Life and society are such that we cannot always say and do what we like. However, in the imaginary world in which my ceramic people live, they can.
At the dawn of mankind primitive peoples fashioned clay objects. They sculpted about what they knew and wanted. Pregnant women and animals were the hot topics of the day. I think of my work much the same way. Though the topics may be different I feel a link to those old people sitting around playing with this beautifully plastic material.” Wesley Anderegg
Bethany Krull: Surrogate (Squirrel/Topiary), detail, 2011, porcelain, paper, polymer clay, wire, chain, 34”H x 17’Wx 17”D
Bethany Krull: Surrogate (Chameleon/Topiary), detail
Arthur Gonzalez: Book of Whispers (detail)