Ceramic art pieces from the 7th Central Time Ceramics exhibit. Part 3. Figurative sculptures.

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 Venue

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 3 I report on figurative sculptures. In Part 1 I reported on unlidded vessels, platters and trays; in Part 2 I reported on lidded vessels . Part 4 will be about abstract sculptural pieces.

“Grief” by Mary Wilhelm, Normal, IL


Her statement reads: “My work explores mundane objects within places of domestic space. I use personal experiences and the various agencies I place onto objects of significance  to create narrative imagery made up sculptures and onto functional work filled with humor, nostalgia, memory, and fragility. Recently, I have been interested in the idea of relationship being not as they seem; as “quid pro quo”.  To see more of her works visit her web site .





“Zero Sum Game (Ro Sham Bo)” by Jennifer Holt, Decatur, IL
“Breathe (Version 3)” by Jennifer Holt

Her statement reads: “By exploiting the fragility and translucency of porcelain, I employ the process of casting on metaphorical terms. To me, a mold creates a memory of an object, picking up the traces of its use and history. Clay has the ability to contain this memory, creating a ghost-like membrane that divides presence from absence. It is this fine line between reality and memory that my work explores.   I cast everyday objects in order to investigate their narrative qualities and potential to play off the collective memory of the viewer. When experiencing a memory we focus our energy and are transported to another place for a brief moment in time. Like the wall of a thinly cast form, these inner thoughts are separated from the outer world by a thin membrane.  As an installation artist working within the context of a particular place, I become a mediator between site and object, object and viewer, past and present. By combining cast objects and temporal situations, I offer a visual metaphor for the phenomena of time and memory while encouraging viewers to be mindful of their own physical placement in space and time. Like a drip of water, each second we experience becomes a memory. As we navigate space and time, we truly only exist in our memories.  Notions of place, time and the importance of our everyday experience are consistent themes throughout my work. Ultimately, I hope that my work is able to communicate the preciousness of time and the importance of our memories. To see more of her works visit her web site.


“660 08-Wood Guy 9-2019” by Rimas VisGirda, Champaign, IL

His statement from the Eutectic Gallery page reads: “My work is influenced by the culture I live in, the machine age, the urban environment, the media, and fad and fashion. One of my fundamental beliefs is that experience affects everything one does; sometimes immediately and sometimes not until years later. In 1981 visited the Soviet Union as a guest of the USSR Union of Artists and have been to a number of symposia in Eastern Europe during the ensuing years. I find that humanity and the human condition have also entered my work as a result of those experiences. In the past I acted as an observer; now I feel more like a participant.” I couldn’t find a dedicated online presence for him.





“Acropora Cervicornis” by Teresa Frisch, Bethalto IL

Her statement at an SIUE exhibit reads: “When a ship sinks to the bottom of the ocean it does not merely deteriorate. Over time plankton and planula attach themselves all over the ship, growing into beautiful coral reefs, creating a paradise community for all sorts of sea life. However, coral is a very fragile animal, if water temperature falls just two degrees below or above its normal temperature the coral become stressed and bleach themselves. When coral bleaches, it is shedding the pigment in its skin, which is its major food source. In other words, it begins to kill itself along with the aquatic community thriving within it.  The tides of the ocean rise and fall depending on the gravitational pull of the moon. Twice a month these pulls can be so great that they cause the tides rise and fall within 16 meters. As the tide recedes, pockets of oceanic life are left behind, called tide pools. From the outside these look like beautiful tiny ecosystems, full of corals, anemones, seaweed, and other life forms. However, after the tide goes out those creatures are trapped and as the sun goes down the seaweed stops creating oxygen in the water and the creatures not only fight for food, but also oxygen.  I think of myself as the ship, or a tide pool, and the plankton and the planula represent the way I have grown as a person through the obstacles life has thrown in my direction. My creative process consists of tedious and repetitive textures, specific coloration, and atmospheric firings. The repetitiveness is my form of meditation and the bright colors represent the life within me. The pieces are atmospherically fired, causing areas in which these bright colors bleach and dull somewhat, representing periods of overwhelming stress in my life.  I like to create oceanic life that appear to be beautiful, but with a little more knowledge can seem tragic as well. Most people can appear beautiful and self-composed, but getting to know them a little more reveals a lot more under the surface. I couldn’t find a dedicated online presence for her.


“Pharma Forma Series: Aunt Dolly” by Angela Dieffenbach, Chicago, IL

Her statement reads, in part: ” Inspired by anatomy, strange experiments, healthcare trends, and medical innovations, my work explores biology with an emphasis on medicine. Complex and compelling social issues have emerged
from modern medical practices pushing boundaries between human and animal identity, especially in
terms of transplants, animal derivative drugs, and in biologic constructions. The increase of post-natural
beings– organisms that are artificially constructed– are redefining mortality and morality. Through study
of anatomy’s history in the visual arts and sciences, I’ve become fascinated with the role that artists play
in the perception and understanding of the human vessel. As a result of modern medical practices, our
bodies are becoming increasingly transparent. This transparency not only adds to the perceived
omnipotence of medicine, but to curiosities of bodily exploration.  By referencing historic and contemporary symbols and methods, the work blurs past and present.  I reference premodern medical anatomies and juxtapose modern medical imaging. Alluding to historical medical procedures and how they relate to modern treatment, the work draws attention to irony, absurdity, and the progress of technology. I use the vulnerability of the body and its contingent relationship to the medical industry and science as an instrument of inspection and reflection. While often I exaggerate or emphasize for the sake of composition, the work is based on real experiments or practices that are often unimaginable. For more of her works visit her web site.


“Church Pocket Relics” by Meg Hawthorn, Carbondale, IL

I couldn’t find a dedicated online presence or artist statement for her.








“Old Man” by Meghan Sullivan, Appleton, WI

Her statement reads: “My current body of ceramic sculpture is heavily influenced by my research of classical Roman portraiture and its use as a narrative device of power. When I was in Rome, time was a strong presence and the evidence of previous ages was obvious. Living with the layers of history and visiting museums of antiquities raised questions as to what is chosen to be preserved, what is valued and the ramifications of these decisions on future generations. There is a need to acknowledge power structures as we frame our personal and cultural histories. Portraiture tells a story but we need to remember that the story has been altered and subverted by time.   Additionally, the idea of fragmented or false narrative is influenced by observations of the effects of dementia on my father. With this disease, the narrative thread of life has been cut and memories are not accurate. Just as our understanding of history can change with age, who we are can be fundamentally altered by the ageing process. By creating works that are then presented as artifacts and icons, the narrative of the past is changed by our present interpretations.  To see more of her works visit her web site.


“Misfits” by Troy Aiken, South Bend, IN
“Misfits” by Troy Aiken, South Bend, IN

His statement from the Art Department of Notre Dame University reads: “Troy seeks to investigate his research interests within the history of mass production and mold making within ceramics. It is an attempt to break traditional means of constructing, which allows him the ability to satisfy his curiosities with conflating the meaning, function, and decorative nature of these individual ceramic objects born from molds. Reproducing these objects from a range of histories in a contemporary setting allows them to metaphorically live “in the now” thereby becoming current. The clay articles taken from these molds come together as a single form, which exist on a plane where nonsense and meaningfulness come together. Aiken reflects on the work in terms of artifacts and or remnants of contemporary cultures left behind as they turn into amorphous objects existing through time, only to be unearthed in a possible dystopian future. For more of his works visit his Instagram profile.

“Crucible Series 57” by Kenneth Baskin, Lake Charles, LA

His statement reads: “An artifact is defined as an object that is created through human ingenuity. And that object, as artifact, is inherent within a cultural or historical context.  The investigative properties of the Artifact series are focused upon the mechanical objects or artifacts derived from the advent of the industrial revolution. Through our capacity for invention the anatomy of the machine, laying bare its individual yet integrated mechanical components, became the means of mass production and an accelerant in the performance of human tasks. This interdependence of humans and machines altered cultural conceptions and the two became intimately conjoined.  Within this current body of work I am exploring the integration of actual and abstracted machine parts into homologous interrelationships. Metaphorically, my sculptures reflect aspects of these interrelations through: balance and instability, domination and submission, tension and ease, opposition and compromise. It is through this dynamic of push and pull, give and take, that the spontaneity and structuring of these interactions takes place.  For more of his works visit his web site.


“Frog” by Chris Berti, Urbana, IL
“Box Turtle” by Chris Berti, Urbana, IL

His work is described on Tory Folliard Gallery’s artist page: “Berti’s recent work consists of human and animal figures carved from found wooden objects and old bricks.  Carving allows him to retain part of an iconic form while emphasizing the rendered image on the top portion.  On a functional level, the uncarved portion serves as a pedestal to elevate the importance of the figure; on a conceptual level the uncarved portion’s nostalgic shape adds to the ethos of the figure. The figures, often in meditative, inward, and isolated poses, synthesize with the balanced form on which they stand or rest. The warm, aged surface of the wood and brick suggest time and memory.  The carved images evolve through a gradual, subtractive process.  Berti allows a form to reveal itself slowly and subtly, much like an archaeologist exposes an artifact or fossil.   By slowly carving and paying attention to detail, these images can present themselves in unexpected ways.  Through simplification and compactness of form, intimate scale, stylization, and delicate rendering, it is Berti’s hope that his work captures a moment or imbues a sense of mystery.  To see more of his works visit his gallery page.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *