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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Red Clay, lots of decoration

 By Example presents the work of twenty younger NC ceramic artists who use color, texture and imagery in their work  and examines the sources of the newer guard of NC clay makers. Guest curator Ronan Kyle Peterson has selected 20 artists who in turn have invited 20 mentors who have impacted their work and careers in a significant way. This exhibit will include both functional and sculptural ceramic works which will introduce viewers to the clay medium through new approaches to surface design, and innovative use of ancient techniques. Themes such as artistic borrowings from other media in contemporary craft and the importance of mentorship will also be explored.
 There were lots of pots in the show that were heavily decorated. They were fun to look at and the decoration really drew me in. As I thought about the pots I saw on the way home, some of the pots I recalled because of a striking color combination like these by Jason Burnett, you almost wanted to lick them, they were so juicy and fun.
 Steffanie Martin is doing some very creative color combos and decal work, with lots of layered decoration. Again, I found myself spending time with these, looking at all the details. I really like Steffanie's work. I am a huge fan of Dean and Martin Pottery, they are one of my favorites in Seagrove. I have blogged about them before, I have a mug from there that I bought because it has the best handle of any mug I hold, a close tie with one of Mark Heywood's handles.

 Lots of red clay with white slip and drawing. I like Shaunna Lyon's pieces. I met Shaunna when I was at Penland. Very nice girl, and her work is charming.
 Ron Philbeck's red clay was so pretty in the gallery, The lights hit his clear glaze just right and it was all so shiny and sparkly. Very clean look and the images just make you smile. It was interesting to me that Ron chose Tom Gray as his mentor. Clearly the mentorship having more to do with support than style, their work is so different, but I know Ron feels that Tom has been a great help to him throughout his career.
 Ronan is another one with a very different mentor. He chose Steven Forbes de Soule, two people could not have a more different style. I liked Ronan's pots a lot. His forms are as strong as his decoration. I think this trend of highly decorated surfaces sometimes distracts from the fact that the form isn't really that strong. I'm not saying that is the case with the work in this show, the forms were mostly as strong as the decoration. But I will say that I found myself later recalling some of the images I saw, and only later when I went back and looked at my photographs, did I realize what the pot looked like that the image was on.

 Ron Meyers of course had some beautiful pieces in the show. I don't know who he was the mentor of. This was one thing I find now that  I am home. The work was not displayed or labeled in a way that I could easily tell who the student and mentor was, or either I was distracted and not paying attention. But I have looked at the website and it still isn't clear to me. I am going to have to go back and see this show without distraction!
and here is Ron with his nice display. It was interesting to see how much real estate each artist got. Each person in the show, if they chose, had a lot of work on their pedestal. It was like a pottery lovers candy store. Great to see. It's good to see a lot of an artist's work to get a feel for who they are and what they do best. Although, I have to say, it was sort of distracting too, in a way. It was like when I am shopping in a department store. There is so much to look at, I can't see the forest for the trees. I kept having to go back around for a second and then a third look, because I kept missing things, and I kept stopping to talk to people. Not really the show to study form and style, that's for sure. Just eye candy.
I did like seeing all of these very decorated pot, but I have no desire to make work like this. I realized when I got home that I don't own any work like this either, except for one cup by Ronan and a couple of cups my friend Laura has made. I have wood fired brown or shino pots for the most part. They are like a warm soft sweater to me. I like a pot for the way it feels in my hand, the strength of the form and the magic of the wood or the shino.  The cups I own of Laura's are because of her art on the pot. She was trained as a painter and her strength in painting comes through on her cups. They are like a little piece of art. Ronan is just a master of color theory and I love the way he puts color together. Drawing, stencils and decals really don't do that much for me personally although they were really fun to look at in this show. It's like going to an art gallery. You don't necessarily won't those paintings on your walls at home but you feel something when you see them in the gallery.
All in all a great show. Tomorrow, some wood fired quieter pots.....

14 comments:

Patricia Griffin Ceramics said...

Sooooo inspiring! Wish I could see this show in person. Tracey, thanks so much for sharing it!

Tracey Broome said...

my pleasure!

Michèle Hastings said...

it certainly is a great show in a wonderful space. jeff and i had a hard time connecting the artists with their mentors in the show as well... we finally figured out that the postcard lists them side by side.
we are wood fire & shino lovers, most of our own collection reflects that, although we did end up purchasing one of Leah Leitson's button cups at the show. too bad we have to wait until the end of August to take it home!
I love Dean and Martin too. We have a few of their pots and use them everyday.
Glad you took your camera, because we forgot ours... and so sorry we didn't connect!

Tracey Broome said...

I know Michele! I wish I had known ahead of time that you would be there, we could have made a plan to meet. I just have to come down to your shop one of these days! Ahhh, the postcard, I didn't see that either! Too much going on!

peggy koenig said...

My thanks as well for sharing this event with the world. So much wonderful work to be inspired by. I also really appreciate your critique of form and decoration.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Peegy, this is an easy shoe to "critique" everything looked so nice:)

cindy shake said...

Holy cats look at all that COLOR and TEXTURE!! WOW so inspiring... makes me ready to be BRAVE and try new STUFF :))

Peter said...

Really interesting posts Tracey, and thank you so much for showing all the work that you have and for your thoughts. White, pink, yellow slip on red clay can end up looking like cup cake decoration, and I do have times when I get a bit gloomy about it... more than a bit..., especially when I think of the quiet joy of handling wood fired pots that may have been fired for days and days in order to get their particular subtle shades of brown and green... but other times a clashing, dazzling array of cheerful colour and texture does cheer me up! I like the interesting texture and colour combinations on the work that I think must be Ronan's.

Susan Wells said...

Thanks for the pics and review Tracey!! I do hope to get there myself!

Amy said...

Hmm- how interesting. I tend to be drawn to the pots with less surface design too- the wood fired ones- or the ones as you mentioned. We're all so different. If I had the resources to be a wood-fired potter, I think I'd probably do that! Your post is good food for thought.

handstories said...

thanks for the show! it is fun to see all the color and creativity that is out there. i gravitate towards the browns and blues, but am so glad for an eyeful of rainbow now & then.

Michèle Hastings said...

oops... the cup we bought was made by Liz Zlot Summerfield... so many wonderful pots I got confused!

... and Tracey, next time you are in the 'grove stop in.

Ron said...

It was good to see you at the show Tracey. Thanks for this great blog post. I was a bit overwhelmed by it all too. I'm going to be there again in Aug to do a demo so I'm happy that I'll get to see the pots again. I hope folks will go see it. It's certainly one of the best shows to be put together in some time here in NC.

Mr. Young said...

Speaking for all of us who could not attend, I thank you for your great coverage of this event. I am so glad there are bloggers out there who keep us isolated potters enthused, inspired, and informed. Again, many thanks!
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