2020 jurors for NCECA emerging artist: Kevin Snipes, Julia Galloway, Sequoia Miller

“How do you map a field?

The six recipients of NCECA’s 2020 Emerging Artist award embody, in our eyes, the most compelling directions in contemporary studio ceramics. From a pool of sixty-eight applicants, these artists individually represent creative excellence while also suggesting something larger about how we make, look at, and think about ceramics today.

The richness of the visual and material encounter stands at the center of our admiration for this work. Each artist handles the medium with deftness and complexity, extending forward histories of figurative sculpture, abstraction, drawing, migration, and other idioms to open unfamiliar experiences and ways of understanding the world. How does our sense of self get rocked or expanded by experiencing and engaging with these objects? Emerging has at least two meanings in this context: as a career stage, and also as an act of becoming, of seeing and hearing one’s voice enter the world.

Diversity of approach was a second key variable in selecting this year’s artists. Neither all pots, nor installations, nor monochrome palates, but rather a balance ways of thinking about this evidently infinitely variable medium. Visually dissimilar to each other as a group, these artists also grapple with a range of concerns at the forefront today: the flattening of source material into an endless digital stream; the continued relevance of individual touch; the insanely high technical capacities of today’s artists; coming to grips with the destruction of our planet; the foregrounding of questions of identity; the dominant contributions of women artists; the integration of clay with other media; etc. These are just some of the themes at play in these works that we understand to be urgent to makers today.

We the jury, a curator, a studio artist and professor, are also all potters. We were struck by how relatively few pots were in the pool. Why would so few potters apply? What does this suggest about our community and the voices we encourage to participate? Our plea to potters: enter the fray, stand up, add your work to the stream of ideas more emphatically.

These works are of our moment, yet we hope they continue to speak to us well into the future, asking questions and egging us on to a more nuanced understanding of our own multiplicity.”

Sequoia Miller lived and worked as a full-time studio potter before earning an MA in Design History at Bard Graduate Center and a PhD in the History of Art at Yale University. He is currently Chief Curator at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto, Canada.

Kevin Snipes is a studio artist who has works primarily in ceramics for more than thirty years. He exhibits both nationally and internationally and has participated in numerous residencies including the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana the Clay Studio in Philadelphia. Concepts of otherness are core to his work.

Julia Galloway is a potter and Professor at the University of Montana. She exhibitions and lectures nationally and internationally and is currently working on a three year project focused on endangered species and how humans are effecting the environment.

Hello, My name is Simon Levin, I am a studio potter living in Illinois, and I am honored to take over the position of NCECA Director At Large for the next three years. I am inheriting a well organized job at a troubling time. I am so thankful to Julia Galloway for creating a thoughtful infrastructure for me to step into, and I am excited to work with these emerging artists. They bring a consistant commitment to ceramics and a wide range of voices to our community. Sequoia, Kevin and Julia did a great job selecting them and it’s going to be really interesting to learn more about each emerging artist as they take over NCECA’s Instragram page in the coming months.

As DAL I am your representative on the board, I thank you for your vote and I look forward to serving you. Please reach out if you have concerns or complements or just want to share an insight.

-Simon Levin