I know, there are lots of things to do…  Spring is in the air, summer is on the brain… But don’t let another important exhibition deadline slip past you.  NCECA’s (first ever) Annual Exhibition, entitled “The Evocative Garden” and curated/juried by Gail M. Brown, will be held during the 2017 conference in Portland, Oregon, and the deadline for entry is just days away –  June 15, 2016.  

This new exhibition format replaces the alternating NCECA Biennial and Invitational exhibitions, and  seeks to blend impactful attributes of each of the previous models while also cultivating opportunity for curatorial practice in regard to ceramic art. Each year NCECA’s Exhibitions Director will choose a curator/juror to develop a theme and invite 5 artists from the field to participate.  The remaining artists will be ajudicated from a pool of applicants.

While in Portland last week with the NCECA board, I had the pleasure of visiting the future home of “The Evocative Garden”: Disjecta Contemporary Art Center.  Disjecta, whose mission is to “build ambitious programs that promote artists and engage communities” boasts 3500 square feet of professional exhibition space,  beautiful vaulted ceilings, and the reputation of being “one of the region’s most vibrant contemporary art centers.” (as seen above)

So if this isn’t the dangling carrot, then let me tell you a little bit more about the exhibition. You might not be able to tell, but “The Evocative Garden” was inspired by the NCECA 2017 theme, Future Flux.  Gail intentionally decided that she wanted the exhibition to somewhat stand in contrast to “the future” and its digital age, and immerse viewers in the natural world. She invited five artists to set the tone:  Megan Bogonovich, Jess Riva Cooper, Kim DickeyLinda Sormin and Dirk Staschke.  About the exhibition, Gail states, “A breadth of implied and articulated dramas will be staged as a personally defined natural landscape or more formalized garden scenario. In works of ceramic sculpture, installation, object and vessel format, each participant will offer a new or recent work- some potent objects-as-metaphors, with sub-text and, others as choreographed scenes with figuration or the figure/s implied in a verdant location, in vocabularies from nuanced realism to personal symbolism. Each will be designed to reference an array of issues- nature’s fragility and sustainability, the wild and the tame, life’s appetites and dilemmas, conflict and resolution, the everlasting and the temporal- social and historic events, of the natural world and the human condition. Artists remind us that nature and the articulated garden, as context, stimulation and tactile allure, is a seductive, universal, ever present enticement.”

Gail Brown also pointed out that Portland identifies itself as The City of Roses. It abounds with lush public and private gardens and the climate to nurture them. Therefore, she seeks submissions that “visually define a garden allusion, as subject, context or setting, according to their own narrative and ceramic vocabulary.”

What a garden is or can be is as bountiful as the possibilities in clay.  So, don’t let the lure of lazy days in the sun let this deadline slip you by.  Apply by June 15th!