Ceramic art pieces in the “Clearly Human, III” exhibit at the St Louis Artists’ Guild

Photos and reporting by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL, 62035, USA.  If you enjoyed this post, then give me a “like” on my Facebook page.      There is additional information about Beachfront Pottery on my web site.

The Venue

The third exhibit in the series of biennial exhibitions around the human figure took place from April 13- May 26, 2018 in the  gallery of the St Louis Artists’ Guild, in Clayton, Missouri.






The Call for Entry

The call for entry asked for “artwork focused on the human figure. Work in all media will be accepted, including (but not limited to) painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and printmaking. Both traditional and contemporary approaches to the human form are welcome.”

The Ceramic Art Pieces

This was an all-media group exhibition of artwork focused on the human figure. Clearly Human is a comprehensive look at the many ways of representing the human figure, from traditional to contemporary, realistic to fanciful, beautiful to unsettling. The exhibit presents a diverse view of humanity representing subjects varying greatly in gender, age, ethnicity, and nationality. Participating artists use the figure to explore a wide variety of themes, including definitions of beauty, perceptions of history, relationships with nature, and moments of everyday life.

As usual, I’m concentrating on the ceramic art pieces in the exhibit.

“5 Types of Boredom. Indifference , Apathy Calibrating, Reactant, Searching” by Heather Woodson, Wentzville, MO

The five figures in this assembly look very unimpressive, until you start exploring the details.  Heather writes this on her web site: “My most recent works have been focused on the perseverance of human life.  Adapting, converging and transforming continually throughout our life cycle.  The many personality traits and characteristics that we pick up along the way are what I attempt to highlight in my work.  Focusing on one specific aspect at a time.

My primary clay bodies are a premixed white stoneware and a brick red clay that I mine from my suburban backyard.  The finishes are a combination of mason stains, oxides, slips, low fire and medium fire glazes and underglazes, (some are commercial and some I mix myself).  The colors on the pit fired pieces are achieved with various organic materials that flash different colors during the firing.  My pieces are either thrown and altered or completely hand-built.”


“Human Impact” by Deborah Nickelson Smith, Springfield, Illinois

On her web site she states that “I have always been fascinated with the shapes, forms, and naturally occurring contours of rocks. These are often crafted by wind, water, thermal expansion and contraction, chemical erosion, and time. In fact,I think that these forms represent some of the most compelling sculptures on the planet.  I usually work with three or four different clays, which makes it easier to create the effect of making a cairn from random rocks. In addition to working with the kind of rock forms found along trails, I also include a variety of corals and ocean forms, as companions in the stack. Sometimes I will add a small form from wildlife, mostly birds, but occasionally fish, or small forest creatures. For surface decoration, I use primarily underglazes and matte finish glazes, as my goal is to make these forms appear to be the inadvertent sculpture of the natural world.”

On this sculpture I do see now the natural rock form in the center, and the small animal forms around the central rock.


“Prey” by Ryan Bredlau, St. Charles, MO
“Prey” by Ryan Bredlau, St. Charles, MO

Ryan’s artist statement reads: “I have always been captivated by the creation process. For me, it is a place of refuge and self-expression. There is nothing like putting my thoughts and emotions into physical form, and my material of choice is clay because it allows me an endless versatility. The heart of my work has always been centered on the human condition and, more specifically, my own condition. The creation process is a form of therapy. Through this process of making and self -discovery, I try to connect with the frustration, amusement, disgust, happiness, and pain that I feel internally and that is present in our society. My work draws heavily from the California Funk art movement, and that humor has carried over into my functional work. My pieces tend to have a whimsical playfulness to their form and function.”

You can see more of his creations at his web site














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