Contemporary Clay Invitational / j fergeson gallery, Farmville, VA
October 5 – December 15, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 13, 5:00 pm.
The latest show at the j fergeson gallery in Farmville, VA, explores the diverse possibilities of what can be done with clay. This show, the gallery’s largest of the year, features works from 30 national artists. Here one will find both sculptural and functional pieces, but perhaps most interesting is the way the artists have settled somewhere in between.
The show is an extraordinary collection of ceramic work by artists working at the top of their field. Co-curators Andréa Keys Connell, lead professor in clay at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Adam Paulek, lead professor in clay at Longwood University, chose the artists for their commitment to fine craft, progressive thought, sensitivity to material and humor.
Artist A. Blair Clemo, inspired by the ornate history of European Decorative Arts, creates vessels that are functional, but also ridiculously opulent, as if ready to serve royalty. John Oliver Lewis presents two sculptures inspired equally by architecture, natural land formations, cartoons, and candy – think Monument Valley out of salt water taffy. And then there’s Darrin Ekern’s “potasaurus”: a sculpture of a T-Rex in a studio throwing a pot.
A. Blair Clemo, Kurt Anderson, Tom Bartel, Jason Hackett, Hiroe Hanazono, Mike Jabbur, Bethany Krull, John Oliver Lewis, Richard Nickel, Nathan Prouty, Debbie Quick, Dave Smith, Mikey Walsh, Trent Berning, Kelly Berning, Jeff Campana, Sam Chung, David Eichelberger, Darrin Ekern, Misty Gamble, Meredith Host Kowalski, Nicole Aquillano, Frank Martin, Dan Molyneux, Chris Picket, Adrian Sandstrom, Amy Santafararo, Shawn Spangler, Kendra Sparks, Adero Willard.
This variety of work isn’t often seen in small galleries, and the curators are excited to present it to an audience that may be unfamiliar with just how adventurous contemporary clay has become.
“The diversity of work in this show is really exciting. It’s one of the things I love most about clay,” says Andréa Keys Connell, curator. “To have in one show pieces that represent so many different topics within the field of clay highlights the material’s complexity.”
“My favorite sort of show is a group show with a loose agenda,” says Adam Paulek, curator. “When the grouping is good, you should leave having been a little surprised, a little excited, and a little sweaty. I think this is such a show.”
Gallery owner Jarrod Fergeson is impressed by the quality and range of the artists. “This collection could be picked up and shown in any ceramic museum or big city gallery,” he says, “so bringing it to a rural setting is interesting.”
“It makes for an exciting time to be a ceramic artist, and an even more exciting time for those who collect things made from clay,” says Paulek.
About the guest curators:
Andréa Keys Connell is Assistant Professor of Ceramics at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Her sculptures, lectures, and writings investigate how an individual’s personal history affects identity and behavior. Andréa’s work has been widely exhibited and featured in a number of national and international publications. Most recently she was featured in Art Papers, Ceramics and the Human Figure, and Korean Monthly Ceramics. She has had various solo exhibitions at galleries and museums, including the Florida Holocaust Museum and the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.
Adam Paulek is Assistant Professor of Art at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. His work explores the use of ceramics to create humorous abstract narratives. Adam’s work has been exhibited in a number of national venues including the Clay Studio of Missoula, Worcester Center for Craft, and the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas. Most recently, he was chosen as the Salad Days artist for the 25th anniversary celebration of Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine.
j fergeson gallery
The j fergeson gallery brings together the work of nationally recognized and local artists in the gallery space as well as in the gift shop. The gallery was opened in 2008 by Jarrod Fergeson, whose mission is to feature contemporary painting, ceramics, sculpture and photography.
The j fergeson gallery is in Farmville, Virginia, a destination for antiques and home furnishings known all along the East Coast. The gallery is Farmville’s only commercial art gallery.
Farmville is located approximately 60 miles southwest of Richmond, Virginia, and 160 miles south of Washington, DC.
Tel. (434) 391-1066
j fergeson gallery
311 N. Main St.
Farmville, VA 23901
Above: Bethany Krull, Puppy, 2012, Hand built porcelain, 10 x 9 x 7".