Saturday morning, at the end of the conference, I always look forward to the emerging artist presentation. I find these talks to be tremendously energizing, full of good will and optimistic for the future. I relish in how the presenters are often a little nervous and occasionally naive, reminding me that we all start somewhere.

This year Ayumi Horie, Arthur Gonzalez and I reviewed all the submissions for emerging artist and I was so impressed by the passion, ideas and dedication of the artist. What a variety of process, concepts and materials – it’s very exciting. I love seeing this new work and witnessing soon to be leaders in our field. I find the hope for the future of our field inspiring. Sample work of the emerging artist will be on display at the expo center – and these presenters will be with their work in shifts over the conference, to meet and answer questions. I never miss the emerging artist Saturday presentations, and I hope to see you there.

NCECA 2018 Emerging Artist

Juror Statement

This year’s group of Emerging Artists embody the rich multiplicity of work that is redefining who and what we are as a ceramics field. Collectively they are expansive in their thinking and brave in the narratives that they are bringing to light. In this charged political climate, where old assumptions and power structures are crumbling, we find in these young artists the guts and grit to openly express their experiences, to mix clay and non-clay with fluency, and to challenge existing norms.

As the dust settles online and we mature as artists on social media, there is incredible cross-pollination taking place globally. Artists are able to both move the conversation forward at an unprecedented clip and distill for themselves the authenticity of their work relative to others. This pluralism of ideas is solidly evident in this particular group of artists, yet we would have been even more pleased to have seen a greater number applicants whose main concern is function.

Craftsmanship and material understanding were a given to judging this pool, but it was also critical to us as jurors to honor and celebrate voices that traditionally have not been given a place at the table. The sweeping shift from discrete collectible object to art that is time-based, fragile, inclusive of other materials, and made solely for the artist’s personal needs is a major shift. Recognizing and legitimizing the edges of our expanding ceramic universe is what will keep our field vital and relevant.

Ayumi Horie

Arthur Gonzalez

Natalia Arbelaez

Natalia Arbelaez is a Colombian American, born and raised in Miami, Florida. She received her B.F.A. from Florida International University and her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, where she received an Enrichment Fellowship. She completed a yearlong residency at the Clay Art Center; Port Chester, New York as a Barbra Rittenburg Fellow and was awarded the 2016 Inaugural Artaxis Fellowship that funded a residency to the Watershed in Newcastle, Maine. Natalia currently lives and works in New York.

I was born in the United States of America but spent the first 4 years of my life in Medellin, Colombia. When I immigrated back to the states I was encouraged to assimilate quickly. I felt to be a proud American meant you had to forget about your past and look to the future. Having been so young, it was easy to forget. First my language, then the food, and eventually everything else quickly slipped away. Still, I was constantly questioned about where I came from, “are you black, Mexican, Puerto Rican, what are you?” I was insulted. I don’t know where it came from, but it became ingrained in me that being a white American was ideal and that’s what you wanted to be. I thought since I was born here I could be those things but growing up in a blue-collar town in the middle of Connecticut constantly reminded me that I was not.

read more in Natalia’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation

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Adam Chau

Adam Chau is the Program Manager at Clay Art Center in New York. A graduate of the Designed Objects department from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Adam hybridizes digital technology with traditional studio crafts. Recent publications on ceramic technology include Studio Potter, Ceramics Technical, and Ceramics Monthly.

My interest in the multiple stemmed from being a baker’s son. I learned, quickly, that in the production of multiples there is an attuned judgment of quality based on different criteria – taste, decoration, etc – however at the same time there was not a clear line between what was acceptable and what was not (i.e. would a star-shaped cookie still be edible if one of its points was a slightly different length from the others?). Later I would learn that this is called ‘tolerance’.

read more in Adam’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation

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Wade MacDonald

Wade was born in Nashville, Tennessee to parents who are retired opera singers. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe to conduct research. Wade obtained an MFA in Studio Art from Michigan State University and has attended Banff Centre, Anderson Ranch Art Center, and Red Lodge Clay Center.

In 1919, after the experiencing the horrors of World War I, the German artist, designer, and architect, Walter Gropius, stated in the Bauhaus Manifesto “The ultimate aim of all visual arts is the complete building!” This statement is accompanied by other important declarations including the need to return to craft in an attempt to subvert elitist art institutions of post-war Germany, as well as the importance of developing a unique sensitivity toward craft for the growth of one’s art practice. Gropius’ statement about architecture’s essential role in shaping the culture it reflects is an idea at the fore of my creative research. I have a fervent belief that architectural design and its subsequent construction is a prominent form of new utilitarian sculpture with an experiential power akin to functional ceramics.

read more in Wade’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation

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Janet Macpherson


Janet Macpherson studied ceramics at Sheridan College, and received her MFA from The Ohio State University. Recent solo exhibitions include the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto, and the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse. Janet lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Hybrids present us with two things happening simultaneously. They are in flux, one always alluding to and challenging the other. The borders between humans and animals, the manufactured and the natural, the spiritual and the visceral are distinct yet permeable, illustrating differences while creating spaces for wonder and uncertainty. The work has also been inspired by visits to the Ohio State Agricultural Fair, where farm animals were clothed in protective fabrics, tethered tightly to posts, awaiting exhibition and judging.

read more in Janet’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation

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Sara Parent-Ramos

Born in Washington, DC to Italian/Canadian parents, Sara Parent-Ramos received at BA from Swarthmore College in 2003 and an MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2013.  She has been the recipient of a State University of New York Thayer Fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship to Italy and has completed residencies at the Cite International des Arts in Paris and Joshua Tree National Park. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Montgomery College in Maryland.

When looking at a strand of hair with our naked eye, one sees a smooth, whole filament. However, through a microscope, the same filament is segmented, an assembly of different parts and subtler structures. Focusing on the overlooked components that define our reality is central to my artistic process and outlook. Through the process of amassing detailed parts, I see in my finished pieces both the whole and the elements that create it. This journey enables me to appreciate the micro and macro simultaneously, reaching an intuitive understanding of the whole work as well as its component parts through accumulation and synthesis.

read more in Sara’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation

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Andrew Stansbury

Andrew is a queer ceramic-based performance artist from Cuero and San Antonio, Texas. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Morris, teaching Ceramics and Photography. He received his MFA from UMass Dartmouth in 2017 and is a member of the artist collective The Lullwood Group.

I seek not to appease, but rather confront my audience. To do so, my work and my practice bluntly questions popularized ideals of beauty and desire; I seek my own alternative version of beauty that accepts and is influenced by the unexpected or the traumatic. Through an open-narrative in material, I consume and integrate performance, photography and process-oriented craft to create a unique moment.

read more in Andrew’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation

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