NCECA Events For Students

NCECA Events For Students

With the 2018 NCECA conference in Pittsburgh just around the corner, we want to let you know about some of the awesome student-centered opportunities that are available at the conference this year:

Student Critique Room

Thursday March 15, & Friday March 16, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm in room 310 of the Pittsburgh Convention Center.

The Critique Room is an opportunity for students to receive direct feedback about their work from a professional in the field.  Students may sign up for one 30-minute slot, and must come prepared with a USB stick with their images. Computer terminals will be available, but there is no WIFI! We will also have drop-in slots, which will be available on a first come, first served basis.

The online sign-up is now open and can be found here. – spots are filling fast, so don’t miss your chance!

Presentation: NCECA Opportunities for Students
Wednesday March 14, 1:00 – 1:30 pm, Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom A

NCECA has many opportunities specifically designed for undergraduate, graduate and post-bac students. This short presentation will review ways for students to participate in NCECA, receive critiques, funding, and much, much more. Find out how to make the most of your NCECA Student Membership, and mark your calendars for upcoming deadlines.  A must-see presentation for all students!

National Student Juried Exhibition – Opening Reception

Join us in celebrating the exceptional talent of our student members at the 2018 National Student Juried Exhibition, juried by Sam Harvey and Martina Lantin.

Reception: Thursday March 15, from 6-9 pm

Location: Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 6300 Fifth Ave

Presentation: Putting Together a Winning Proposal
Thursday March 15, 11:30 am – 12:00 pm, Room 304-305

This presentation is designed to give you an understanding for how to put together a successful proposal. The focus will be on NCECA’s application for general and student programing but the information is applicable to submitting various types of grants, and exhibition proposals. We will cover the in’s and the outs, the do’s and the don’ts, the good bad, and the ugly. A short question and answer period following the presentation will allow the audience to ask specific questions.

We look forward to seeing you all in Pittsburgh!

Sincerely,

Naomi Clement & Brandon Schnur

NCECA Student Directors at Large

Your Curated Conference: focus on currents of clay and culture

Your Curated Conference: focus on currents of clay and culture

This year the theme for NCECA’s Pittsburgh conference is CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture. The ideas imbue robust program content with tremendous range of ceramic expression. Attention to cultural context amplifies voices and issues of representation, power, identity, social justice, and equity.

Clay permeates our lives. Clay remembers, tells stories, and shifts through histories and geographies. Its ubiquity evokes the social and political, domestic space and public place, the private and shared. We illuminate intent and content, power and mythologies, aesthetics and functions. Clay and culture communicates and educates, celebrates the mundane and the sacred, transcends borders and engenders agency and interdependence in our communities. This breadth and depth is most apparent when we see the hands that have worked it, hear the voices, and understand the abundance of narratives. Clay and culture manifests multiple systems of knowledge, articulates hidden objects, and amplifies the expansiveness of ceramics, thriving ecologies of arts, ideas, and actions.

Here is a very non-comprehensive set of highlights from the NCECA program of talks, exhibitions, presentations, and demonstrations that address issues of clay and culture. Please contribute more to the growing list that pertain to these germane subjects.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14 

2:00pm-3:00pm 

301-303
TOPICAL NETWORKING: CULTURE’S IMPACT ON A CLASSROOM STUDIO Group Leader Rachel Dorn

Under-resourced students bring different cultural expectations and behaviors to the studio. How can we design projects and approaches that value students’ diverse cultural backgrounds? How can we develop clay studio classrooms that are vital to each student’s educational experience and development?

304-305
TOPICAL NETWORKING: CREATING A CERAMIC COMMUNITY FOR MINORITIES Group Leaders Natalia Arbelaez and April Felipe

Join the discussion of creating a community for ceramic artists of color. What kind of organizations are you looking for? What groups would you want to be a part of? What can we do for each other? We should grow together and our voices and suggestions all matter, help make these ideas a reality.

315-316
TOPICAL NETWORKING: CULTURAL APPROPRIATION; THEFT OR INSPIRATION IN THE INFORMATION AGE?
Group Leader Sharbani Das Gupta

The cooption of cultural symbols is a hot button topic in today’s culture wars. An artist’s work often crosses cultural boundaries, leading at times to unintended transgressions. How does the responsible artist, in a world of instant communication, negotiate the edge between inspiration and abuse?

8:45pm-9:15pm 

RANDALL SESSION by Vanessa German
German has pioneered a performance style called “Spoken Word Opera,” which brings all of the drama and theatricality of traditional opera to intimate performances and contemporary themes through a dynamic hybrid of spoken word poetry, hip hop, storytelling, music and movement.

THURSDAY, MARCH 15 

9:00am-10:30am 

304-305
BLINC 20:20

Grappling with Politics in Art” by Rachel Dorn
“Peruvian Process and My Multicultural Identity” by Liz Luna-Gagnon

9:00am-12:00pm 

Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom B DEMONSTRATING ARTISTS Cristina Cordova

9:45am-10:15am 

315-316
LECTURE: CONTEMPORARY POLISH CERAMICS H+C By Michal Puszczynski 

Polish contemporary ceramics includes artists from different generations and the Ceramics Department of the Eugenisz Geppert Academy of Arts & Design in Wroclaw, which has been the most important ceramic center in Poland for last 70 years.

10:30am-11:00am 

315-316
LECTURE: CREOLE CLAY: A GLOBAL STORY H+C By Patricia Fay

Creole Clay is the story of traditional potters working today in Saint Lucia, Nevis, Antigua, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana, and the diverse global influences that have shaped their work. Closing comments emphasize the importance of publications by potters in support of heritage ceramics.

10:30am-11:30am 

301-303
CO-LECTURE: SEEKING ETHICAL CRAFT By Deighton Abrams and Owen Marc Laurion 

Ceramics artists are faced with a dilemma – produce ethically or produce efficiently. Is there a way to participate in the arts without sacrificing one’s financial and social stability nor sacrificing one’s responsibilities to our shared human-ecology and how do we approach material use ethically?

10:45am-12:00pm 

Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom A
DISCUSSION: INCLUSION: DAVE, HBCU & CLAY
Moderator: David Mack
Panelists: Blaise DePaolo, David MacDonald, Jim McDowell, April Hyes

Listen to a distinguished body of educators, potters, and a research genealogist who will present compelling discussions on “Cross Current” issues of Inclusion: Race, Culture, and the roles of historically black colleges and universities with clay and creation.

11:15am-11:45am 

315-316
LECTURE: CERAMIC TRENDS IN LIMPOPO, SOUTH AFRICA By Mathodi Motsamayi 

This presentation intends to contribute to and update existing insights in theoretical and practical knowledge about contemporary South African ceramics by paying attention to local African vernacular tradition, and iconographic features as signifiers of ongoing changing society.

12:15pm-1:15pm 

Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom A
FILM: DISCOVERING DAVE: SPIRIT CAPTURED IN CLAY 

offers a glimpse into the story of the extraordinary potter known as Dave Drake, a slave from the Edgefield District of South Carolina. Today, Edgefield is known as the home of ten of South Carolina’s historic governors, but during Dave Drake’s lifetime, the economy had been dependent on an agriculture of slavery. With the discovery of “superior clay” in 1809 by Dr. Abner Landrum, Edgefield would also be known for the reproduction of stoneware pottery. “Discovering Dave: Spirit Captured in Clay” introduces the viewer to this enigmatic figure in American ceramics, discusses examples of his verses, and puts his life into the context of the time. Dave not only learned to read and write, but also left us his words, inscribed on a few of the alkaline-glazed stoneware vessels that he produced for the ages- Buddy Wingard, director.

12:30pm-2:00pm 

301-303
PANEL: CERAMICS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE Moderator: Michelle Clesse
Panelists: Sharif Bey, Lauren Karle, Milo Berezin

Ceramic art has the power to bring people together, transform lives, and create positive social change. Panelists will share ceramic projects designed to foster conversation and empower the community to take action. These projects have taken place throughout the country, in a variety of venues.

1:00pm-4:00pm 

Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom B DEMONSTRATING ARTISTS Kevin Snipes 

1:15pm-2:45pm 

Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom A
PANEL: THE ART OF OTHERNESS
Moderaator: Courtney Leonard
Panelists: Habiba El-Sayed, Mac McCusker, Raven Halfmoon

The Art of Otherness features the experiences of ceramic artists who face challenges of belonging to a marginalized culture through ethnicity, religion and gender identity. This panel seeks to challenge diversity, and offer real solutions in tackling cultural invisibility in the ceramic community.

2:45pm-4:15pm 

315-316
DISCUSSION: NEW QUEERS EVE: LGBT CLAY Moderator: Dustin Yager
Panelists: Ron Geibel, Kathy King, Marval A. Rex, Maya Vivas

Four LGBT artists will discuss aspects of catharsis, vulnerability, empowerment, community building, and activism in their practices. Each makes choices about the legibility of their queer experience in overt and coded ways in their work.

304-305
CO-LECTURE: MATERIALS IN ACTION- COLLECTIVE MATTER- Collective Matter are Eva Masterman, Katie Spragg, Mary O’Malley 

UK based arts group Collective Matter will present their most recent social outreach project, Material Action, with Tate Exchange. They will question how alternative learning methods can progress the ceramic field and how this work can be used as a vehicle for social change and cross disciplinary practice.

4:00pm-5:00pm 

301-303
PANEL: UNSPOKEN, UNSEEN: INVISIBLE
Moderator: Emily Schroeder Willis
Panelists: Sara Morales-Morgan, Jamie Bates Slone, Ashleigh Christelis

Being a working artist is difficult enough without facing the social and personal obstacles of a mental or physical illness. This panel aims to end the stigma and silence and start a conversation about mental and physical health with the artistic community, out of the shadows of invisibility.

FRIDAY, MARCH 16

9:00am-10:30am 

Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom A
CHIPSTONE DISCUSSION: WHICH CRAFT HISTORIES SHOULD WE TEACH? WHOSE HISTORIES, FROM WHERE, AND HOW?
A conversation with Jon Prown, Namita Gupta Wiggers, Janet McCall, Jesse Albrecht

In assessing understandings of craft in the broader culture within the arts and across disciplines in the 21st century, there is evidence that critical voices and perspectives on the role and practice of craft have been too narrowly shared and represented. How can makers, scholars, and arts leaders re-orientate their work and institutions to engage audiences with meaningful experiences that reveal more about where we come from, where we are going, and the stories that craft carries?

9:30am-10:30am 

304-305
BLINC DOUBLETAKE

“Living with Conflicting Cultures” by Sally Lee
“Rituals of the ‘In-Betweens’: Translating the Flux of Identity through Ceramic Installation” by Varuni Kanagasundaram

12:30pm-1:00pm 

315-316
LECTURE: ATYPICAL LEARNER AND CLAY by Christina Herbert 

This lecture will seek to demystify some of the kinds of puzzling behaviors we often encounter in our clay classrooms and busy studios, and address the “least you should know and do” about autism spectrum and ADHD behaviors.

1:00pm-5:00pm 

Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom C

CERAMIC WATER FILTERS AND THE GLOBAL WATER CRISIS: A MINI SYMPOSIUM 

Coordinated by Richard Wukich and B Stephen Carpenter, II
A series of talks and presentations by artists and activists from around the world on the production, distribution, and research of point of use ceramic water filters and water receptacles in response to the global water crisis. The session includes concurrent water filter demonstrations, posters, and information.

2:30pm-3:00pm 

315-316
LECTURE: ALL HANDS ON DECK by Sharon Virtue 

A call to art action, this talk identifies practical entry points for those ready to be more socially active and hands-on with clay in their communities, using examples of cross-cultural community-focused projects by British artists Clare Twomey, Stephen Dixon, and Sharon Virtue.

3:15pm-4:15pm 

315-316
DISCUSSION: UNPACKING/REFRAMING/ENGAGING- Moderator: Janna Longacre
Panelists: Jasmine Baetz, Paul Briggs, Sheila Pepe

Human imagination was first recorded in prehistoric caves with clay. We touched it; we created. Clay has since been institutionalized and marginalized. We are challenging artists, teachers, curators to think beyond traditional perspectives and barriers to open up to new values, language, and audiences.

3:45pm-4:15pm 

304-305
LECTURE: QUEERING CLAY by Saba Stoval 

A personal narrative of how we can improve and diversify the ceramics community by providing open representation and discussion of queer identities, artists, and ceramics.

4:00pm-5:30pm 

Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom A

AWARDEES/HONOREES Honorary Members 

Bill Strickland intro by Joshua Green

Outstanding Achievement
Sana Musasama intro by Judith Schwartz

4:30pm-5:00pm 

315-316
LECTURE: IRAN, CURRENT DIRECTIONS by Raheleh Filsoofi 

International Ceramics Exhibitions promoted by the Ad Academy of Art in Tehran encourages artists around the globe through conceptual freedom and interest in works that address issues at the level of the individual and society as a whole.

Hall C
CLOSING LECTURE: THE POWER OF ART AND OUR PRECARIOUS FUTURE by Richard Notkin 

What is our role as ceramic artists in the world at large? How can we be effective in generating social and political change? The recently termed “craftivism movement” is a rapidly rising direction in our field as we face existential threats to human civilization on our only planet. It is time to reconsider the ceramic artist’s many roles– and that of all artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, etc.–  in changing our world, through sheer creativity, occasional social/political commentary, various social outreach programs, and myriad other ways. We are more than artists; we are human beings who need to restore sanity to our planet through our daily lives and actions. The works of artists — whether functional pottery, figurative sculpture, abstract and/or conceptual work, in ceramics and all other media — have always illuminated the potential of our species’ creative spirit. After five decades of infusing my art with political narratives, I have come to the following conclusion: for those who choose the overt role of artist as social critic, it is the aesthetic and conceptual strength of the art which can carry profound messages. The message alone will not carry the art.

 

EXHIBITIONS

Convention Center
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd. Pittsburgh, PA,

Room 307 

Garden (Feast) of Paradise, An exhibition of ceramic tableware and objects for the table inspired by the worlds of Islam and the Middle East. Anat Shiftan, Sanam Emami, Dominique Ellis, Julia Galloway, Ibrahim Said, and Sarah Heitmeyer. Organized by Sanam Emami and Anat Shiftan.

Concourse B/C 

Syncope, An installation that creates an interactive experience where one can reflect upon the role of trade unions in relation to modern sensibilities of craft, learning, and working. Andy Rahe

Parked outside Convention Center (outside east lobby). 

POTS ON WHEELS: Peculiar Connections, Intriguing Objects, The show explores culture and community, pairing unusual functional forms by established makers with ceramic work made by young people reflecting upon culture and purpose. Mara Superior, Martina Lantin, Matt Towers, Liz Quackenbush, Didem Mert, Kevin Snipes, Ahrong Kim, Mary Barringer and others. Curated by Hannah Niswonger and Adero Willard. potsonwheels.com Mar 14-16

Downtown
BNY Mellon Center, Contemporary Craft Satellite Gallery
500 Grant St, Pittsburgh, PA, 412-261-7003, contemporarycraft.org, Hours during conference week: Mon-Sun 6am-12am

Storyteller, Albuquerque based artist Jami Porter Lara uses a 2000-year-old process to make objects that resemble a ubiquitous icon of modern life—the plastic bottle. Curated by Natalie Sweet. Feb 16-May 6

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust-707 Gallery 707 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 412-325-7017, trustarts.org, Hours during conference week: Wed 11am-6pm, Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-5pm. Reception: Thu, Mar 15, 6-9pm

LAS (Latin American Status), A collection of Latin American artists encompassing the Caribbean, Central, and South America have come together to share their stories of immigration, culture, and inclusion. Natalia Arbelaez, April Felipe, Salvador Jiménez-Flores, Morel Doucet, Christina Erives, and Renata Cassiano. Organized by Natalia Arbelaez. Mar 14- Apr 15.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust-Education Center 805-807 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 412-456-1076, trustarts.org, Hours during conference week: Tue-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu 10am-9pm, Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-12pm. Reception: Thu, Mar 15, 6-9pm

ORIENTED, explores the concept of ceramists who identify with both Western and Eastern cultures; their stories are unique and give a taste of what goes on in contemporary America. Adam Chau, Ayumi Horie, Steven Lee, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Beth Lo. Organized by Adam Chau. Mar 13-17

Strip District
Contemporary Craft
2100 Smallman St., Pittsburgh, PA, 412-261-7003, contemporarycraft.org, Hours during conference week: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm (Thu 10am-9pm). Reception: Thu, Mar 15, 6-9pm. pastedGraphic.png pastedGraphic_1.png(WS) (WT) (TRS)

NCECA ANNUAL EXHIBITION: Visual Voices: Truth Narratives, Guest curator Winnie Owens-Hart invited artists Syd Carpenter, Roberto Lugo, Sana Musasama, Reginald Pointer, and Janathel Shaw to frame the curatorial concerns of the 2018 NCECA Annual, which features work by 35 ceramic artists. Jesse Albrecht, Crista Ann Ames, Natalia Arbelaez, Sharif Bey, Jill Birschbach, David Bogus, Abigale Brading, Angelique Brickner, Nora Brodnicki, Jim Budde, Syd Carpenter, Bryan and Brad Caviness, Sean Clute, Tara Daly, Matthew Dercole, Yewen Dong, Elhan Ergin, Richard Freiwald, Dennis Gerwin, Ronnie Gould, Jocelyn Howard, Hsinyi Huang, Stacey Johnson, Marsha Karagheusian, Ahrong Kim, Rob Kolhouse, Bethany Krull, Roberto Lugo, Patricia Maloney, Sana Musasama, Kelly and Kyle Phelps, Reginald Pointer, Kristine Poole, Janathel Shaw, and Lydia Thompson. NCECA, curated by Winnie Owens-Hart. Mar 14-Aug 18

Hill District

MOKA Art Gallery 2297 Center Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, mokapgh.com, Hours during conference week: Tue 12-6pm, Wed- Sat 10am-6pm (Thu 10am-7pm). Reception: Thu, Mar 15, 5-7pm. pastedGraphic.png(WT)

African American Ceramic Artists: A King of Clay and Five Queens, King Woodrow Nash with Five Queens of Clay will be joined in holy Claytrimony. A union of their love of clay and earth. Witness the majesty of the jewels of the Queens and Nash. King Woodrow Nash, Queen Christine: Christine Bethea, Queen Mary: Mary Martin, Queen Altha: Altha Pittrell, Queen Dominique: Dominique Scaife, and Queen Janet: Janet Watkins. Mar 11-Apr 29

City of Asylum @ Alphabet City 40 W. North Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 412-435-1110, alphabetcity.org, Hours during conference week: Tue-Fri 9am-5pm (Fri 9am-9pm), Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12-4pm. Reception: Fri, Mar 16, 6-8pm. pastedGraphic.png pastedGraphic_1.png(WS) (FRS)

ClayVoiceRomania, Curator Vlad Basarab presents a survey of contemporary Romanian ceramics focusing on 10 active contemporary Romanian ceramics artists coming from various demographic areas of Romania expressing themselves in their own styles. Arina Ailincăi, Cristina Russu, Cristina Bolborea, Mónika Pădureț, Lucia Lobonț, Emil Cassian Dumitraș, Simona Tănăsescu, Márta Jakobovits, Georgiana Cozma, and Gherghina Costea. Mar 13- 18

Community College of Allegheny County, Allegheny Campus, West Hall 828 Ridge Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, Hours during conference week: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm (Thu 10am-8pm). pastedGraphic.png pastedGraphic_1.png(WS)

Intercultural Connection, This exhibition showcases the diverse international presence at the Cub Creek Foundation, which invests in the importance of cross-cultural learning. Ashwini Bhat, Akira Satake, Hitomi and Takuro Shibata, Sukjin Choi, Dan Molyneux, Mitch Iburg, Zöe Powell, Shasta Krueger, Rachael Jones, John Jessiman, and Tom Alward. Curated by Shanna Fliegel. Mar 12-17. Reception: Thu, Mar 15, 6-8pm

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild 1815 Metropolitan St., Pittsburgh, PA, 412-323-4000, mcgyouthandarts.org, Hours during conference week: Mon-Thu 9am-8pm, Fri 9am-9pm. Reception: Fri, Mar 16, 6-9pm (WS) (WT) (FRS)

FUNK: American Dada, Iconoclast George Clinton crossed currents to obliterate genre and subverted norms through Funk music. Funk: American Dada artists do the same using clay not notes. Sharif Bey, David MacDonald, Yinka Orafidiya, Kyle & Kelly Phelps, Angelica Pozo, Janathel Shaw, Malcolm Mobutu Smith, Lydia Thompson, and James Watkins. Curated by Anthony Merino. Jan 22-Mar 30

Shadyside

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts 6300 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 412-361-0873, center.pfpca.org, Hours during conference

Mixed Signals, The artist explores the complexities of cultural mores and human interactions through her personal experience. Yoko Sekino-Bove. Mar 9-Apr 22

Chatham University Art Gallery Chatham University, Woodland Hall, 5798 Woodland Road, Pittsburgh, PA, 412-365- 1851, chatham.edu/about/artgallery, Mon-Sat 9am-6pm (Thu 9am-9pm). Reception: Thu, Mar 15, 6-9pm.

From Scratch: Sarah Tancred, Tancred’s work focuses on cooking and domesticity in reference to cultural identity and gendered stereotypes. Her work utilizes recognizable objects to investigate societal expectations of women from historical and contemporary standpoints. Curated by James Louks. Mar 12-17

Lawrenceville

Pittsburgh Glass Center 5472 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 412-365-2145, pittsburghglasscenter.org, Hours during conference week: Mon-Wed 10am-7pm, Thu 10am-9pm, Fri- Sun 10am-4pm. Reception: Thu, Mar 16, 5-9pm. (WS) (WT) (TRS)

Sharif Bey: Dialogues in Clay and Glass, Sharif Bey’s work cross-references notions of power, ornamentation, and natural history with objects and surfaces associated with traditional African jewelry. He uses his work to explore alternative ways of paying respect to tradition, function, adornment, and ceremony. His exhibition showcases his large-scale ceramic necklace wall hangings and a series of necklace forms made from large glass beads. Mar 2-May 6

Highland Park

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood 7101 Hamilton Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 412-731-3080, carnegielibrary.org, Hours during conference week: Mon 10am-5pm, Tue-Wed 10am-8pm, Thu 10am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-5pm. Reception: Thu, Mar 15, 6-8pm. pastedGraphic.png(WS)

Crowns, Explores transformations from artist to artist mother. Artists were asked to create work reflecting experiences physical, emotional, spiritual in the currents of motherhood. Stephanie DeArmond, Carole Epp, Kathryne Fisher, Jessica Gardner, Eva Kwong, Rhonda Willers, Janis Mars Wunderlich, and Summer Zickefoose. Organized by Jessica Gardner. Mar 12-17

Everyday Café 532 North Homewood Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 412-727-2169, info@everydaycafepgh.com, Hours during conference week: Mon-Sun 10am-3pm

Cups of Conversation: 50 States, Surveys recent work from the National Clay Week project Cups of Conversation.

The exhibition features a wide range of cups, images, and video. One representative from all 50 states are included in the exhibition. Kate Fisher, Andrew Mclntyre, Ruth McKinney Burket, Kala Stein, Patty Bilbro, David Kring, Henry Crissman, Kahlil Irving, Catie Miller, Brent Pafford, Jeni Hansen Gard, Susie Bowman, Scott Jelich & Carla Fox, Tom Budzak, Steve Driver, Tsehai Johnson, Nathan Carris Carnes, Mariana Baquero, Erica Passage, Alex Kraft, Claire Seastone & Daven Hee, Dustin Thompson, Leanne McClurg Cambric, Tim Compton, Ellen Kleckner, Kyla Strid, Jodie Masterman, Juliette Walker, Lisa York, Elenor Wilson, Natania Hume, Lucy Fagella, Donna McGee, & Justine & Grant Figura, Jenn Cole, Amy Smith, Clay Arts Vegas, Monica Leap, Judi Tavill, Theo Helmstadter, Mari Ogihara, Julie Wiggins, Sarah Tancred, Lindsay Scypta, Stuart Asprey, Adrienne Eliades, Adam Ledford, Josh Primmer, Paula Smith & Jim Connell, Dan Bare & Valerie Zimany, Michael Hill, Austin Riddle, Victoria Falcon, Clay Leonard, Todd Hayes, Sarah Camille Wilson, David Eichelberger & Elisa Difeo, Amanda Barr, Kelly O’Briant, Ian Connors & Jacob Meer, and Dandee Pattee. Organized by Jeni Hansen Gard. Feb 26 -Mar 17

The Shop 621 N Dallas Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 646-812-2016, theshop.org, Hours during conference week: Tue-Sat 10am- 5:30 (Thu 10am-9pm). Reception: Thu, Mar 15, 5-9pm. pastedGraphic.png(WS)

Produce. Consume. Repeat., Exploring our culture’s relationship to food, food production, and animals, this exhibition presents visually arresting works that invite viewers to think about their own habits and notions. Emily Loehle, Lauren Duffy. Organized by Lauren Duffy. Mar 13-17

Braddock 

Braddock Carnegie Library 419 Library St., Braddock, PA, 412-829-7112, braddockcarnegielibrary.org, Hours during conference week: Mon 10am-5pm, Tue -Thu 11am-8pm, Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 9am-4pm. Reception: Fri, Mar 16, 5-8pm. (WT) (FRT)

(in)Visible, Each artist represents a type of invisibility, from those suffering unseen illnesses to members of cultural, societal, and racial minorities. Amanda Barr, Jamie Bates Slone, Jessica Brandl, Renata Cassiano, Ashleigh Christelis, Jasmine Cooper, Habiba El Sayed, Carole Epp, Dawn Ferguson, Linda Ge, Nicole Gugliotti, Raven Halfmoon, Jeni Hansen Gard, Jeanine Hill, Lynne Hobaica, Akiko Jackson, Alexandra Jelleberg, Sarah Jewell Olsen, Jessica Knapp, Courtney M Leonard, Marge Levy, Mac McCusker, Didem Mert, Sara Morales-Morgan, Jessica Putnam Phillips, Cydney Ross, Emily Schroeder Willis, Grace Sheese, Rae’ut Stern, Judi Tavill, Susan Thayer, and Ife Williams. Organized by Amanda Barr. Feb 2-Mar 17

Anthropocene: The Innovative? Human, The symptoms of culture are confronted through architecture, endangered animals, changing geology, and observations of nature’s adaptation to culture, or vice-versa. Lauren Skelly Bailey, James Barker, Patrick Coughlin, Alanna DeRocchi, Shanna Fliegel, Mel Griffin, Crystal Morey, Lisa Truax, Merrie Wright, and Brooke Noble. Organized by Shanna Fliegel. Mar 12-17

Carnegie 

3rd Street Gallery 220 3rd St., Carnegie, PA, 412-276-5233, 3rdstreetgallery.net, Hours during conference week: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm (Fri 10am-9pm). Reception: Fri, Mar 16. 5-9pm. pastedGraphic.png(WS) (WT) (FRS)

Nasty Women, Organized by Artaxis members Alex Kraft and Sara Parent-Ramos, Nasty Women displays works by women who boldly confront, re-appropriate, and embrace the slur “nasty”; demonstrating solidarity through works that are ambitious in scope. Jennifer Degges Arnold, Teri Frame, Jeanine Hill, Roxanne Jackson, Sasha Koozel Reibstein, Lauren Sandler, Shalene Valenzuela, Shiyuan Xu, Alex Kraft, and Sara Parent-Ramos. Panel Discussion: Fri, Mar, 16 5-6pm. Mar 13-17

Carnegie Coffee Company (Old Carnegie Coffee House) 132 East Main St., Carnegie, PA, 724-518-6524, carnegiecoffeecompany.com; touchingearth.weebly.com/ceil-sturdevant.html, Hours during conference week: Mon-Thu 7am-6pm, Fri 7am-9m, Sat 7am-7pm, Sun 8am-3pm. Reception: Fri, Mar 16, 6-8pm. (WS) (FRS)

Touching Earth: Women Creating Community, Celebrates our differences as individuals uniting through empowerment that comes with being women, being artists, being ceramicists. Maria DeCastro, Priscilla Hollingsworth, Mary Martin, Erin McGuiness, Nita Schwartz, Nancy Smith, Ceil Sturdevant, and Cheryl Tall. Organized by Ceil Sturdevant. Feb 26-Mar 17

Firebox Art Studios, 110 East Main Street, Carnegie, PA, (412)-249-8264, fireboxartstudios.com. Hours during conference week: Tue 10am-5pm, Wed 10am-8pm, Thu 10am-5pm, Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 10am-7pm. Recept: Fri, Mar 16, 5-9pm (WS) (FRS)

The Potters for Peace Ron Rivera Memorial Water Filter Receptacle Exhibition, Ron Rivera was well known for his ingenious ceramic water filters that continue to help alleviate water borne disease worldwide. He died while on a humanitarian mission in Africa. This exhibit first staged at Slippery Rock University is dedicated to his memory and features ceramic vessels from a variety of exceptional potters including. David Macdonald, Ron Meyers, Val Cushing, Bobby Scroggins, Josh Green, Bob Isenberg, Christian Kuharik, Gary Greenberg, Scott Cornish, Anthony DeRosa, Ron Korczynski, Ian Thomas and Ibukunoluwa Ayoola. Curated By Dick Wukich. Mar 10-31

Standard Ceramic Supply 24 Chestnut St., Carnegie, PA, 412-276-6333, standardceramic.com, Hours during conference week: Wed-Thu 9am-5pm, Fri 9am-9pm, Sat 10am-2pm, Reception: Fri, Mar 16, 6-8pm pastedGraphic.png(WS) (WT) (FRS)

Kyle and Kelly Phelps – Honoring the Blue Collar Working Class, Commentary on working class culture, education, and politics. This show venue is in the production facility among the equipment used to manufacture prepared moist clay bodies. Kyle Phelps, Kelly Phelps. Mar 13-17

Musings on Place and Land, Current work by Swarthmore Ceramics Professor, Syd Carpenter. Mar 13-17

Jodee Harris Gallery, Seton Hill University 201 Otterman St., Greensburg, PA, 724-420-6464, setonhill.edu, Hours during conference week: Mon-Fri 1-8pm, Sun 1-3pm. Reception: Thu, Mar 15, 4-7pm

Them/Me, This interactive, multimedia exhibition asks: How are we censored by social or political identities? If we don a new mask, what might we say? Crista Ann Ames, Aja Mujinga Sherrard. Organized by Crista Ann Ames. Feb 15-Mar 22

Clarion University of Pennsylvania, University Galleries 840 Wood St., Clarion, PA, 814-393-2291, clarion.edu/academics/colleges-and-schools/college-of-arts-and-sciences/visual-and-performing-arts/university-art- galleries.html, Hours during conference week: Mon-Wed 12-5pm

Medicine and Magic, This exhibition of narrative ceramic sculpture examines two sources of cultural dis-ease: climate change and war, and poses that art is medicine for a sick world. Constant Albertson. Curated by Gary Greenberg. Jan 30-Mar 17

Arts and Education at The Hoyt 124 East Leasure Ave, New Castle, PA, 724-652-2882, hoytartcenter.org. Hours during conference week: Tue-Thu 11am-8pm, Fri-Sat 11am-4pm. Reception: Sat Mar 17, 2-4pm. Jan 4-Mar 29.

Hope Center for Arts & Technology Student Exhibit, The Hope CAT, a replication of Bill Strickland’s Manchester-Bidwell Corporation Pittsburgh, an educational model blending the principles of art, music and environment to help mentor students and to break cycles of poverty and drive economic growth in the region. Organized by Christian Kuharik.

2018 NCECA Emerging Artists

2018 NCECA Emerging Artists

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


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


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


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

 


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


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

 

A Conversation with Jessica Brandl, 2017 NCECA Emerging Artist

A Conversation with Jessica Brandl, 2017 NCECA Emerging Artist

Jessica Brandl, one NCECA’s 2017 Emerging Artists has had a busy time since delivering an outstanding presentation on the final day of the conference in Portland, Oregon. Over the summer, she relocated from Philadelphia, where she had been teaching at the Tyler School or Art at Temple University, to Canada, where she is presently teaching at the Alberta College of Art and Design. In October, her work, Humunculus, was honored as the 1st place vessel award in the Zanesville Prize Exhibition. About the impact of NCECA’s Emerging Artist recognition on her life and work, Jessica shared the following:

Jessica Brandl at work

Since emerging at this year’s NCECA Conference, I feel a great relief, a quiet internalization of having addressed my peer group and presented my story. As a direct result of this public presentation I have been invited to demonstrate and speak at numerous schools and community art centers, and the added visibility has encouraged greater support and connoisseurship of both my work and research. The formal recognition by the NCECA board and committee provides value to my academic and studio endeavors, and the opportunity to present supported my assertion that I am a devoted member of the NCECA community willing to work and contribute to the creative grow of ceramic art and research to come.  However, the most important impact of this award came to me as an unexpected private transformation. In preparation for the presentation and show, I found myself looking deep within, searching for the most accurate way to describe what I do. I found the clarity and focus I needed through my feelings for ceramics and personal history rather than objects and practice alone. By retracing my own journey in clay, I was confronted with my strengths and weaknesses and realized that I had to speak candidly about this history in order to be most accurate about where my work comes from. Accepting vulnerability and having the fortitude to express this has been the most profound impact of having been an NCECA emerging artist. Thank you for allowing this public platform, and thank you for listening.

Jessica Brandl, Vessel B

Limited to 12-minutes at the conference, Brandl was kind enough to respond to some questions I recently posed to her via email correspondence. Her generosity of time and thoughtful response offer an opportunity to dig deeper into some of the decisions and motivations Brandl is exploring through her creative practice.

 

 JG: Why do you find the vessel such a compelling framework for sharing your stories?

JB: I admire the vessel as a visual framework in all of its historical iterations, but the most potent attraction to this context has to do with my personal history and how it satisfies my sense of balance. The vessel is a fascinating object, the void interior defines the exterior, it can physically contain something but it can also hold images and subsequently display ideas and narrative as symbolic language. A vessel is a container, but its interpretation permits a multifaceted understanding of utility as literal, metaphor or both.

Jessica Brandl, Vessel C

My attraction is grounded in the overt utility that a vessel suggests; it permits a connection to my Midwestern upbringing that established the premise that an object should be useful. It was the identification with labor and its value, which gave craft and craftsmanship high praise in my childhood home. What I now identify as high art, was viewed with suspicion in its seemly functionlessness and reference to decadence and collected wealth. The logic of childhood was flawed; however, my desire to mediate past and present perceptions through an object locates me at the contextual humility of vessels and pots.

Jessica Brandl, Ruin A

The narrative vessels I construct are beyond practical utility in most ways but my adherence to the void interior and vestigial function permits me to use the language. The linguistic ties are as important as the literal context and form. While many viewers understand what a vessel is, the appearance of novel content situated within the context of a familiar utilitarian form can be a disruptive experience. By calling what I make a vessel, I have framed the comparative conversation. Vessels and pottery preserve a formal levity, which permits me to address culturally averse subject matter.

Jessica Brandl, plate with birds

 

JG: Could you share a little about how you see your work connected to that of other artists working with narrative content within and beyond those working in clay? Who and what are you looking at and gaining inspiration through?

JB: I see my work as another iteration of a long and continuous human tradition of narration and communication. The telling of an epic or in my case an un-epic, with a cast of characters conveying something other and universal seems to be a part of human nature.  Artists that work with clay and clay-like materials speak the most directly to me. I examine how they have managed to communicate and what those technical strategies are; lastly, I like to ask why they are clay and not something else.

Jessica Brandl, Ruin B

I have always been fascinated by the raw clay bison formed on the floor of a cave in France some 14,000 years ago, those figures exist right alongside representative drawings of animals, abstracted dots, and incised geometric patterns. An important part of my personal narrative investigates why I insist on clay. Looking at other humans that use clay I am able to gain a better perspective through comparison.

Jessica Brandl, Vessel A

Therefore, I am inspired by human experience, specifically as it is represented in mythology, literature, science, history, ecology, phycology and culture. I compress the visual richness of the centuries into my own ceramic vessels, forming a distillation of historic and personal symbolic language.  Any visual or narrative similarities that my work possesses are the result of communal proximity informing my conscious and unconscious decisions. I do not worry as much as I once did about copying or nuance, I have a better understanding of myself as a unique person from a specific time and culture.  Themes, material, and methodology are the stuff of generating narrative and symbolic language. Each individual is different, but as members of the same species quite similar; circumstances and luck take care of the rest.

Jessica Brandl, Fintch

 

The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Art is immensely grateful to the Windgate Charitable Foundation for their support of NCECA’s Emerging Artists program from 2013-2017. Additional blog entries will appear on other 2017 recipients of the award before our 2018 cohort will be announced in the month leading up to the conference in Pittsburgh. 

 

Below, watch the video of Brandl’s 2017 conference presentation at the Emerging Artists Session on Saturday morning in Portland:

Don’t Blink or you’ll miss this great opportunity!

Don’t Blink or you’ll miss this great opportunity!

Now entering its third year, Blinc20:20 is becoming an exciting piece of programming at the annual conference.  This image-driven visually impacting short-form presentation provides a perfect platform for professors, students, international artists, or just about anyone who wants to be a part of the conference program.

Not too long ago, I was chatting with a local college professor, who was lamenting that getting funding from the university to attend the conference is becoming more challenging.  However, they are inclined to provide funds to anyone who is presenting at the conference.  He thought that the Blinc programming was ideal for many professors and students to take part in and share research they are currently doing, or developments in the field, or community collaborations and other such topics that would be of interest to like-minded NCECA-goers.  I couldn’t agree more!  And I also think this programming is perfect for a variety of other sorts of conference attendees:

Blinc 20:20 is also ideal for international attendees to share information about their own country or culture’s work in ceramics.

Blinc is great for any NCECA member who wishes to share a grassroots movement such as community project they created to broaden the reach of clay.

Take a look at some of last year’s presentations below and then head on over to read all the details and APPLY HERE. The deadline is imminent!  Don’t delay!

 

The Art of Curiosity

The Art of Curiosity

Curiosity is what gets us out of bed in the morning and carries us through the day. Like a good story, we don’t know what’s going to happen, and we want to know what happens next.
Curiosity is the fuel of our art practice. Without curiosity there is no art practice. It is a primal, seductive drive that sucks us in. It does itself, like a good book you can’t put down. It says, “I don’t know, I want to know, I want to know more, I want to get into the studio and explore and experiment!” We are all very familiar with this force.

Unfortunately, curiosity seems to come and go. I think more to the point, we put our nose to the ground and stop following it. We end up doing things we’ve done before, falling into familiarity, some kind of shtick. If you follow curiosity sincerely, you don’t know where you’ll end up, because where you’ll end up is a discovery.
Fortunately there are many tricks for triggering curiosity, I imagine you may have a couple up your sleeve. The one that works best for me is looking closer, which is convenient, as a lot art training is about exactly that – slowing down and looking closer, slowing down and learning how to see.

Instead of a monologue on how the mechanism of looking closer triggers curiosity, I thought it would be best to do a sort of mini workshop in seeing, with the hope that it triggers curiosity (or interest or seduction, other names for curiosity) in you.
There isn’t any clay in the room, and I’m not going to stuff your brains with a lot of images. However, if you put your attention into your eyeballs, you can feel that they are 100% full of sight, 100% full of vision, with no gaps. This fullness feels like something. You close your eyes, and then open them, they don’t take any time to warm up at all. Just bang! 100% seeing. So we have plenty to look at, and plenty to work with.

Inez, 2010, fired and painted clay, 6.5” x 7.5” x 7.5”. Ken Price.

When we look more specifically at things (see examples given during presentation at the 2017 NCECA Conference, two modes of knowing and perceiving become apparent: Objective functional fantasy, where things stay put, and objects have constancy. It is a realm of discreet unchanging objects that have consistent identities, a realm of nouns and concepts. The second mode is subjective actual experience, where things do not have constancy. Because it is what we actually experience, the objective mode is by default, a fantasy.

In the realm of subjective actual experience, everything morphs. Nothing stays put. Identities try to form but they never quite make it (ever feel like your identity is always under construction?). Everything is a verb. Everything about you is a verb – you’re breathing, your heart is beating, your skin is doing it’s air exchange business, you’re digesting and metabolizing, your mind is streaming, you’re rearranging your position regularly. The only thing constant about you is your name!

The objective mode is what education and conditioning and language acquisition are all about. And again, it is very functional. The subjective mode we are trained to ignore. But this is where curiosity resides, where curiosity is triggered, and where all of us, bar none, lived as children up to ages 7 to 10, according to developmental psychologist Jean Piaget.

The following are tricks for jogging curiosity, which are all variations on slowing down and keeping looking (specific guidance with each is given in the talk):

  1. Actually physically slow down – moving slower makes you notice more. It breaks up the superficial co

    Prepared Floor Crack, 1999, gold leaf, cleaned floor crack, dimensions variable. The author.

    ntinuity speed creates. When you slow down, for instance, reaching for a jar of peanut butter, numerous other experiences open up besides just the overall “reaching for a jar of peanut butter”.

  2. Pretend you aren’t familiar with things you are familiar with. “Familiarity” turns out to be a fantasy, a process of ignoring or taking things for granted. How you’re sitting and holding your body is familiar, pretend it isn’t. How you’re feeling is probably very familiar, pretend it isn’t. Almost immediately you realize it is different than how you think it is. Boom! Curiosity hits. It’s like a fish becoming aware of water.
  3. Go to www.headless.org and click on the experiments (one is presented in the talk).
  4. There is foreground and background (figure ground) in representational two-dimensional art. In three-dimensional art, the sculpture is often all foreground, referring just to itself as an object (image 1, Ken Price sculpture). With the arising of site specific work in the 1960’s-70’s, artists started making objects that refer and belong to an actual background – where the object exposes something about the background, and the background exposes something about the object. This has been the strategy of much of my artwork (image 2, prepared floor crack, and 3, Migration Grid #26).  In “Prepared Floor Crack, 1999”, the floor, which is normally background, becomes foreground. In “Migration Grid #26, 2006”, research found that Monarch butterflies migrate following invisible sky grids of UV light. This body of work imagines us being able to see these ephemeral forms, making something foreground that is so subtle of a background, we can’t even see it. This particular grid is site specific in that it is installed in the atrium of the School of Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine, where the research was conducted.

Migration Grid #26, 2006, 120” wide, porcelaneous stoneware, cables. The author.

      We have foreground and background in our lives. My problems, where I am in the herd, cute girl/guy, are examples of usual foreground suspects. What happens when we pay attention to the “boring” background? Our breath, the quality of light in the room, the space behind you, the ringing in your ears? You can make the background foreground by asking, “What else is going on?” We realize two things by spending time with the background:

a. The background is not boring.

b. The importance of things (what’s considered foreground) recalibrates by itself.  The itch in my foot and the sound in the hallway are both equally in the field of my experience, and instead of being a little separate discreet object in a big world, there is continuity. The background becomes a player, our world becomes larger.

  1. Notice you really have no idea what’s going to happen next. The uncertainty is astounding! Portland might have that overdue earthquake, you might get an idea that will set your artwork on fire for the next 10 years, you might get gas pains. We don’t even know what we’ll think next or where our attention will go! It all morphs, and it is all making itself up as it goes! Viscerally getting that you don’t know what will happen next is by definition endless curiosity, endless not knowing. And what does happen next is by definition ongoing discovering, ongoing revelation! Low grade most of the time albeit, but still discovery.

Another name for this lived sense of ongoing curiosity and discovery is a sense of wonder. Which is what this article is really about. I don’t start there, because we have nostalgic and perhaps clichéd ideas about what that is. It is more immediate and less tame than that.

*This article and talk is a brief composite of workshops, lectures, and book on art and perception that I put together during my sabbatical in 2015.

BIO

Stanton Hunter is a mid-career artist. Articles by and about him, and images of his work appear in numerous publications. He is an art professor (ceramics) at Chaffey College in California, and received his MFA from USC in 2000, where he was a T.A. for Ken Price. Find more information at http://artaxis.org/stanton-hunter/

IMAGE LIST

  1. 1. Inez, 2010, fired and painted clay, 6.5” x 7.5” x 7.5”. Ken Price.
  2. 2. Prepared Floor Crack, 1999, gold leaf, cleaned floor crack, dimensions variable. The author.
  3. 3. Migration Grid #26, 2006, 120” wide, porcelaneous stoneware, cables. The author.