Ceramic art pieces in the “Current Profiles” exhibit at Craft Alliance

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 “Current Profiles” exhibit took place from January 11 through March 17, 2019 in the gallery of Craft Alliance in University City, Missouri.





The Call for Entry

This was an invitational exhibit, so there was no call for entry.  Craft Alliance has this description:

“Throughout history portraiture has been a means for creating a likeness of a person; a bellwether for emerging technologies; a magnet for material experimentation; and an exploration of social status. The ancient Greeks produced portraits of both gods and important citizens; during the Renaissance artists were commissioned to paint portraits of nobles and royals.

To this day, portraiture has both expressed the breadth of social experience and highlighted the gaps between social strata. Contemporary portraiture, more so than that of any other time, has embraced portraiture on a viral level, using it to express who we are and what we stand for.

The works in this exhibition are in some ways keeping with tradition – works depict either iconic figures from history or study a more archetypal range of emotions and identities. However, in other ways the works represented speak in a fresh voice, to the material and cultural minutia of this moment.”

The Ceramic Art Pieces

“Tea with Frida”by Sandy Kaplan, Richmond Heights, MO


On her blog she writes: “I make sculptures, vessel forms and hand built platters in terra cotta which I then paint in a range of colored glazes.  In my work the figures emerge into three-dimensional space, entering just a bit into our world.   In all of my work the individual figure and the ways of relating multiple figures express my deepest feelings toward human emotion. ”

A very elaborate teapot; nice commemoration of Frida Kahlo.





“Time is the Eternal Cycle” by Raven Halfmoon, Norman OK
“Rituals to Remember” by Raven Halfmoon, Norman, OK

On a gallery info pages she writes: “My work is an investigation of cultural identity. It seeks to clarify how we define and reference ourselves within a specific community.  My work seeks to understand why one identity is better represented and interpreted to a specific group than another identity. Is this based on the individual, the community, locality of the society, or the generation? It creates a dialogue between how we represent and view ourselves in comparison to how others characterize us. It constructs a narrative between the seen and unseen facets of identity in todays society.”  I don’t know about investigating identity, but for sure her sculptures are striking in appearance.


“Undecided” by Beverly Mayeri, San Francisco Bay area
“Contemporary Woman” by Beverly Mayeri, San Francisco Bay area

On her web site Beverly states: “Most of my work explores the personal life, our yearnings, strengths and fears, our connections to each other and to the environment.  I like to use the surface of the clay as a canvas where figures and events are painted, carved, or drawn into the clay often using patterns from nature as a backdrop.

I’m inspired by a range of ideas like the challenge and comfort of family ties and friendships,  the trials and delights of growing up and growing older, the beauty and diversity of the world and our immediate need to be better stewards of the earth. My approach is to search for a visual metaphor that expresses what I’m feeling.


“Pearl Candor” by Kelsey Duncan, Helena, MT
“Onyx” by Kelsey Duncan, Helena, MT

On his web site he states: “Utilizing the human object as my primary vehicle, I explore the resilient nature of the human experience and the complex politics of the human body. My recent work celebrates the amazing men and women that make up contemporary, small town burlesque culture. I’m drawn to the concept of performative empowerment as a means of taking control of one’s environment through the vessel of the body. I ultimately propose a more inclusive way of looking at bodies and the people they represent, some limited by a lens of perception colored by stereotypes and destructive tropes.” Very striking facial expressions; a narrative of inspirations fore each piece would be great.


“The Crown” by Kathy Bensky, St Louis, MO

On her web site Kathy writes: “Observing human nature has been a life long passion. I express these unique qualities in my Figurative and Portrait Ceramic Sculptures. My latest ceramic work is meditative in nature. Learning to be still and peaceful in the midst of life’s chaos has been an ongoing practice. As individuals we all face accepting imperfection. It takes courage to be transparent and vulnerable. As an artist I try to balance the organic components of clay with the control I have as a maker. Like life, I have a choice whether to embrace the flaws or attempt to mask the imperfections.”

I feel drawn to her sculptures because it’s a conversation to interpret the facial expressions on the pieces.




“Do Not Fight Yourself” by Ruth Reese, St Louis, MO

On her web site her statement reads: “In her  work, animal forms merge with human figures; flora grafts to fauna.  From these fantastic beings, psychological questions concerning the nature of human identity naturally emerge.  She draws inspiration from the Messein tradition and the Baroque period with its sense of theatre and exaggerated elegance while inviting diversity into her cast of characters.  Fantastic and creaturely, her sculptures live on the margin of dreams and reach between worlds.  Ruth Reese’s work is often housed in small chambers, or cabinets of curiosity, that suggest the pursuit and collection of objects bearing an inner knowledge. ”

True to her statement this piece is a great merging of the human face with nature’s motifs.




“Brainstorm” by Patti Warashina, Spokane, WA

Here is an artist with a long and illustrious career. Having her own Wikipedia page tells you that Patti has influenced countless artists along those years.  In a recent interview she said “The human figure has been an absorbing visual fascination in my work.  I use the figure in voyeuristic situations in which irony, humor, absurdities portray human behavior as a relief from society’s pressure and frustrations on mankind. At times, I use the figure in complex arrangements so that it will be seethingly alive. I like the visual stimulation of portraying human energy”.    For more check out her web site .

Besides the intriguing decoration on the neck area, there is an innovative element in this sculpture.  And that is the green light that changes intensity periodically.




“That ship sailed a long time ago” by Richard W. James, Gatlinburg, TN
“Music Made for Video” by Richard W James, Gatlinburg, TN

On his web site Richard writes:  “My work explores the discrepancy between how we, as humans, see ourselves and how we would like others to see us. I am curious about how the aggregate nature of personality and memory construction affects the sense of self, and by extension, our interaction with the world around us.   Because “an unexamined life is not worth living,” I feel the need to question the basic detritus that has coalesced into what I refer to as “myself.” I do that in my studio practice by incorporating materials and processes that I associate with the informative years of my youth, growing up within a poor, rural upbringing.

The mending of clothes and the construction of dwellings are two crafts handed down to me through my parents and grandparents’ way of life. I have chosen to integrate these hard and soft materials and construction methods into my ceramic sculptures. They have come to represent the feminine and masculine facets of my upbringing. The clay (a combination of both) has come to symbolize myself within this trifecta. In addition, I use found objects that I associate with my rural culture to represent the various bits of influence and information that have shaped my outlook. The characters in my work often fail to understand the intended purpose of the objects with which they interact. I find this misuse analogous to how past information can be misinterpreted based on present need, a type of cognitive dissonance from which we all suffer.”


“Family Portrat (The Boys)” by Richard Wehrs, Peoria, IL
“Saturn Archaeological Exhibition Specimen #2762-2b; From the “Hall of Warriors”” by Richard Wehrs, Peoria, IL

In an interview Richard states: “It’s always been fascinating to me how we humans, mortal beings that we are, strive to be remembered.  Cemetery monuments – particularly the most extravagant – are, of course, the “last hurrah” in this endeavor, but short of the grave, people turn to all kinds of things to declare their significance to the ages.  Architecture, art, music, science… whatever the field, human accomplishment defies that small voice that persists in each of us, constantly and morbidly reminding us of our individual insignificance in the face of the cosmos and eternity.”  So, after reliquaries and tea pot monuments he made a time machine to bring us these artifacts.  His narrative for Saturn Archaeology piece is as follows: “Earth scientists collected this specimen, a fragment of a much larger, multi-headed figure, from the Saturnian cave archaeologists named “The Hall of Warriors” – a wast and stunning underground structure filled with an estimated 17,000 such figures, all formed from Saturnian clay, and polychromed with various mineral and oxide washes.  The fragment is estimated to be some 450,000 years old, though it is impossible to be precise when dating non-Earth objects by conventional processes.  The discovery of the cave has confounded Earth’s scientific community, since no life has been discovered on Saturn today; the piece, brought back to Earth during the 2247-2249 expedition, serves as remarkable evidence of Saturn’s unknowable, but undeniably inhabited, past.”




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