Photos and reporting by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL, 62035, USA. If you enjoyed this post, then like the post, and also like my Facebook page. Check out Beachfront Pottery posts on Instagram @beachfrontpottery. There is additional information about Beachfront Pottery on my web site.
The exhibit was set up in the gallery of Webster Arts in Webster Groves, MO. The original exhibit dates that was to run throughout March of 2020 had to be changed, because of the coronavirus-related lockdowns in Webster Groves. The ingenious idea of a virtual exhibit was carried out by Webster Arts Executive Director Jeane Vogel. You can search youtube for ENCORE! and you’ll find a the main video about the works of every exhibiting artist. On top of that each artist was interviewed at the exhibit site. That collection of videos are also on youtube, just search by the artist name and ENCORE!.
The Call for Entry
This was an invitational exhibit right at the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic. ENCORE! is an exhibition that features former Webster Arts Gallery award winners. Encore includes work by Abbi Ruppert, Gena Loseto, BJ Parker, Luanne Rimel, Robert Kokenyesi, Judith Shaw and Alex Johnmeyer.
The Ceramic Art Pieces
I encourage all of you to check out ENCORE! artist videos on youtube. Neither of the other participating artists work in ceramics. BJ Parker does painting, Abbi Ruppert is a sculptor, Gena Loseto does watercolor paintings, Luanne Rimel is a fiber artist, Judith Shaw is a painter and Alex Johnmeyer is a painter.
So, here are the ceramic pieces in the exhibit. All these pieces are part of a series that I am developing into newer pieces of art. I’ll say a few words about that for each piece.
This is 20X16 inch framed piece. The flat, curved oval green modules are assembled to show intense movement of those great white sharks. The white glass with the red pigment-enhanced cracks is the sacred shelter which is in the process of being broken up. The inspiration comes from Aborigine dreamings where the entities in a dream are considered sacred, and they are protected the dreamer. Great white sharks are such sacred entities, in my opinion, and they deserve protection. This general technical approach allows meaningful ceramic art to hang on walls. There are many sacred ocean critters that will be future topics in the Unsheltered series.
This piece is about 11 inches long, and was inspired by the Dead Sea Scrolls that were found by accident, and contributed much understanding to the Scriptures. Could there be information of such magnitude hidden in the oceans? The Deep Sea Scroll series pieces picture those scrolls full of information about the oceans. The scroll shape is instantly recognizable, and has the great potential to open a conversation with the viewer. The glazing and the weathering of the surface provides avenues of experimentation.
This piece is about 9 inches tall and wide. The feeding frenzy of great white sharks is composed of a highly regulated circular swimming broken up by attacks of the prey by individual sharks. I witnessed great white sharks from a diving cage; their beauty and ease of swimming is phenomenal. This piece is a good example of modular construction. Seven modules, in this case “shark droplets”, are assembled into a bowl shape. Several technical obstacles had to be overcome to make this piece. The concept of modular construction is a versatile way to craft new designs.
The Seafloor Archaeology, ca 25th century series is represented by two pieces in this exhibit. The inspiration for this series comes from undersea archaeological finds that reveal unexpected information about long lost civilizations. Undersea archaeologists in the 27th century found unexpected objects while exploring an inundated coastal settlement from the 25th century. The ceramic items reveal a culture that lost the ability to make ceramic items, but they scavenged ceramic shards, and bolted, nailed, or otherwise connected them to make utilitarian ceramic pieces. The large bowl I is 17 inches in diameter, and the pieces are held together by corroded bolts.
The pieces that make up this bowl are connected by bicycle chain pieces.
The Ancient series was inspired by my awe of the ocean critters that have been around for hundreds of millions of years. I explore the basic characteristics that allowed these animals to survive worldwide catastrophes as well as the tribulations of daily life. Characteristics that allowed them to become one with the ocean. This pieces is about 12 inches long and 9 inches wide. The manta ray is one of those species that have become one with the oceans. These sculptures are constructed from modules of clay ropes/ribbons that I call “water ropes”. The final shape of the sculpture is achieved only after the ropes move and settle into a stable position during glaze firing. This series opens the way to explore abstracted representations of ocean critters such as sharks, whales, dolphins, octopus, and others.