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. There is additional information about Beachfront Pottery on my web site.
The “7th Biennial Central Time Ceramics exhibit” took place from March 9 through April 17, 2020, in two galleries on the campus of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. The exhibit closed early because of the COVID-19-related shelter in place orders by the State of Illinois.
This is the entrance to the Hartmann Center, the location of one of the galleries.
This is the gallery space inside the Hartmann Center.
This the gallery space inside the Heuser Art Center Gallery, the second gallery hosting this ceramic exhibit.
The Call for Entry
The call for entry read like this: “This exhibition is open to all ceramic artists over the age of 18, who currently reside in the Central Time Zone. Central Time Zone states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin; however not all counties within these states are within the Central Time Zone. Artists who reside in areas of Canada and Mexico that are within the Central Time Zone are also eligible.”
The Ceramic Art Pieces
The COVID-19 related shelter in place order in the State of Illinois lead to the early closing of the Bradley University campus galleries. I was fortunate to make it to the campus the day before the state orders, and look at this great collection of ceramic art pieces. I apologize to those artists whose artworks I might have not photographed during my hurried visit to Bradley University.
In Part 2 I report on lidded vessels. In part 1 I reported on unlidded vessels and trays and platters. Part 3 will be about figurative sculptural pieces. Part 4 will be about abstract sculptural pieces.
Her statement reads: “Lisa Orr’s artworks for the table often refer to traditional porcelain or restaurant whitewares, but with softer forms inspired by the playful and abundant qualities of Mexican earthenware. She invented her own production process after studying clay mold fragments in antiquated factories and museums. After forming pieces in molds, on the wheel, or both, she finishes with stamps, slips, sprigs and multihued glazes. Though Lisa Orr’s colors can evoke a healthy garden in bloom, it is the strength of her form that sets her work apart: it feels muscular and strong while showing fluidity. In this way she plays both ends of the spectrum, from the dynamic and substantive to the detailed and dreamy–full of surprise. Her artwork is best presented with a freshly prepared meal.” For more of her work visit her web site.
His statement reads: “My work explores the beauty and horror of our existential uncertainties as creatures seeking meaning in a microcosm. These pots combine inspirations from historical production ceramics with contemporary studio art practices in wheel thrown and soda fired cone 11 porcelain. The work addresses design elements from 18th and 19th century European slipcast ware, but is created with the immediacy and individuality attributed to hand processes and alternative firing methods. In this dialogue between the tangible past and immediate present, the work appears both conspicuously old fashioned and relevant to contemporary concerns. It is the strong connection I feel to the chaotic and imperfect nature of soda firing and handcraft that, to me, highlights the absurdity of the endeavor of the handmade: the seemingly futile and never-ending quest for perfection and objective meaning. I embrace the errors of the hand and artifacts of the intense heat from firing because, although the pots themselves may be inanimate know-nothings, they still have something to teach us about the natural and the arcane. I place an emphasis on making ceremonial vessels that speak to the passage of time and embrace the propensity for ceramic vessels to be heirloom objects. The work seems to suggest that it bears witness to the ebb and flow of civilizations, of ideas, and of people. As vessels that exist through time as humans cannot hope to, these pots whisper to us to confront the knowledge we share of our progression towards inevitable demise and our march into obscurity. It is both a liberating comfort, and a savage terror that the dead do not return, except in stories and dreams. For more of his work visit his web site and his Instagram profile.
His statement reads: “Sean’s ceramic practice has made a diametric shift away from the utilitarian pot to the sculptural vessel. This sculptural work serves to challenge many of the prescriptions that he had learned in the making of pottery. His current work explores the creative possibilities that emerge when utility, and its methods of creation, are left at the periphery of his practice. This has led him use the formal language of pottery as a vernacular for abstraction. He is attempting to convert the innocuous utilitarian clay vessel into an arresting sculptural object. Sean’s work usurps and recontextualizes the conventions that usually give the pot its comfortability. In doing so he wishes to create a sense of tension; through the use of material, form, and surface. He has focused particularly on the physical properties that exists in clay. This focus has led to objects that exist on the cusp of material failure, in order to better understand and appreciate his medium. In addition to recontextualizing the utilitarian characteristics of clay; A focus on mixed media has emerged in the sculptures. I am looking for ways to use other materials of construction in conjunction with the ceramic sculptural work so that all materials are elevated through their interaction and contrasting natures. For more of his works visit his web site and his Instagram profile.
His statement reads: “Just what am I making? If I were decidedly effective in my artistic endeavors through action and energy I’d arrive at a sensation of elemental power. The twenty-first century in America, there are so many choices! But are these choices always clear? I seem to find myself meandering off into symbolic meaning, metaphysical speculation, technical tribulations and contemplative moods. As soon as I answer one question and solve a problem another three or five invariably show up. What I want is a smile on the face, a twinkle in the eye, a healthy glow in the gut, and maybe even a friend to confide in. If I don’t have these things, I’ve decided to make them. Allusions to specific concerns and events may be more apparent in the unfolding work as current events, personal preoccupations and political upheaval push memory, imagination, and observation into new areas. Two cats in the yard: Life still is pretty difficult if you can’t land on your feet. ” For more of his works check out his web site and his Instagram profile.
His statement reads: “My introduction and approach to ceramics comes from a utilitarian standpoint. While the idea of utility lies at the core of my making, certain elements of my work stray from the basic definition of utilitarian. The pots I make are typically meant for use on a regular basis. I intend for my pottery to be comfortable in use, while being visually appealing. It is a continual challenge trying to strike a healthy balance between utility and aesthetic. I am constantly distilling these aspects of my work and am driven by the notion that there will always be room for growth and more to learn about my practice. At this point, I am not making any huge claims through my pottery. I am focused on producing well-made and informed pots. I intend my pottery to reach and be appreciated by a wide audience, while still being appealing and appreciable by an informed audience. To see more of his work visit her web site.
The artist statement portion is not completed on his web site. To see more of his works visit his web site.