Ceramic art pieces (part 3 of 5) in the 5th Central Time Ceramics exhibit at Bradley University

Photo and text by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist at Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL, USA

The 5th Central Time Ceramics art exhibit took place from February 24 to March 25, 2016 in the art galleries of Bradley University.  This is part 3 of the 5-part report about the exhibited pieces;  I’ll look at figurative sculptural pieces.    Part 1 included conventional plates/platters, and a video presentation;  Part 2 included bowls, vases and teapots; Part 4 will be about abstract sculptural pedestal pieces, and Part 5 will be about abstract sculptural wall-attached pieces.

Extreme figurative (photographic) sculptures

In this category are the sculptures that is either an exact replica of the real- life object, or  has so much detail that it could pass for a real-life object.


"From Wilard S. Ward" by Tybre Newcomer, Monmouth, IL
“From Wilard S. Ward” by Tybre Newcomer, Monmouth, IL


Ever wonder what makes someone to shape tools out of clay? Here is what Tybre said: “most of my youth was spent with a tool in my hand, fascinated with all things mechanical and structural. I found myself studying objects and wondering how they were built.”





"St Hiram MAxim Old Zombie Killer" by Marko Fields, Minneapolis, MN
“St Hiram Maxim Old Zombie Killer” by Marko Fields, Minneapolis, MN


This bottle is extemely finely sculpted  and glazed to extoll the powers of “Mojo Oil”.  In his own words: ” More than its functionality, I am enamoured of the metaphor of the vessel, particularly teapots or bottles, as they contain, serve and pour, significant activities when humans gather. Clearly, the sociology of vessels intrigues me.”  Well, this bottle is sure to gather people around!







"Safety Can-Short Handle" by Vijay Paniker, Glenview, IL
“Safety Can-Short Handle” by Vijay Paniker, Glenview, IL


These two pieces are from the Industrial Series intends to tell “stories and creates new histories through these cultural artifact art objects.”  I guess anybody who handled the real life objects has a story or two to begin the conversation.






"Liquid Wrench" by Vijay Paniker, Glenview, IL
“Liquid Wrench” by Vijay Paniker, Glenview, IL











Figurative sculptures of objects

"Dandelion Seed" by Nila Petty, Belleville, IL
“Dandelion Seed” by Nila Petty, Belleville, IL


This dandelion seed is one of many beautifully crafted very large (about 3 feet long) seed forms by Nila.  In her words: “I want my ceramic sculptures to evoke a sense of hope and joy, through beautiful forms that acknowledge both vulnerability and strength.  Clay can have a visual warmth to the surface.”  The lack of glazing truly gives this piece a warm appearance.




"Chrome Slotted Wedge" by Jill Birschbach, Evanston, IL
“Chrome Slotted Wedge” by Jill Birschbach, Evanston, IL


The origin of this piece comes from Jill’s statement. “My father fixed appliances and tinkered in his workshop in the basement. On family vacations and road trips we often visited places like dams, substations and factories – places with large mysterious machinery.  My work reflects these memories – I create objects that look like machine parts, tanks and tools. They are hypothetical machines, not performing any function, trying to capture the intrigue and awe of industrial objects.”



“Bushnell’s Urchin Two” by John Gargano, Lafayette, La



John has been fascinated, among other things, with military hardware. His creations have many fitted parts, so creating this piece has required a lot of engineering.  The surface mimics natural weathering.  The best I could research, the inspiration fort his piece is a naval mine.




"What are the Odds?" by Theresa Northway, San Antonio, TX
“What are the Odds?” by Theresa Northway, San Antonio, TX


I couldn’t find much info on this piece.  Most of  her pieces are more abstract pieces, or drawer-like pieces.  Would’ve been interesting to find out the meaning of the first card.







"Hanging Weight 3" by Lauren Duffy, Minneapolis, MN
“Hanging Weight 3” by Lauren Duffy, Minneapolis, MN

Now here is a piece where narration makes a world of difference.   From her web site: ” Can those cast away from “appropriate” society be brought into the light? These thoughts feed into the Hanging Weight Series. This series explores the effect of gravity on bodily forms made from the leavings of meat processing.   Some bodies in space are beautiful, while others are grotesque. These are, by and large, arbitrary classifications; they are completely subjective like so many truths. How do the forms of acrobats relate to the chickens hanging on hooks in factories? Many would find such a thought horrific, but I see striking similarities in form. The beautiful and the hidden… and what of the refuse of the processing, the castoffs of the hidden: entrails, feet, beaks, etc. Can they be the forms on display? Can they be the beautiful bodies hanging in space?”  Check out the rest of the series at her site!!



"Pilgrimage Marker" by Andrew Denney, St Louis, MO
“Pilgrimage Marker” by Andrew Denney, St Louis, MO

I’ve met Andrew  a few times at Craft Alliance in St. Louis, and I always saw him at a wheel throwing cups. vases.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything on the web relating to this piece.












"Domesticated" by Gina Robbins, Oak Park, IL
“Domesticated” by Gina Robbins, Oak Park, IL


On her web site this piece is listed among the “provocative” works.  I couldn’t find any further information on this piece.  One unusual component here is the layer of rock salt under the chain-linked clay forms.








"Sacred Reliquary" by Megan Sprenger, Duluth, MN
“Sacred Reliquary” by Megan Sprenger, Duluth, MN


Megan’s work spans several different styles, and, unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information on just what the sacred reliquary is about.  The bottles are shaped and decorated very nicely; some of them have outlines of maps on them.






Figurative sculptures of the human form

"A Moment of Insanity" by Meghan Sullivan, Appleton, WI
“A Moment of Insanity” by Meghan Sullivan, Appleton, WI

I included this piece within the sculptures about human form; something in the totality of this piece that cinvinced me that it’s a full human figure.  If you thought that the many colors and surface textures tell a complex story, then you’re right.  In her own words: “The significance of human existence can be found in ordinary interactions because our lives are made up of millions of small, seemingly insignificant moments. My figurative ceramic sculptures are observations of the emotional and psychological aspects of communication within these interactions.   There are layers of information in each person that color their interpretation of the world and of themselves. The sculptures dissect elements within each relationship by capturing moments within them.”




"A Moment of Insanity" by Meghan Sullivan, Appleton, WI

“A Moment of Insanity” by Meghan Sullivan, Appleton, WI




"Yellow Hearted Woman" by Lisa Marie Barber, WI
“Yellow Hearted Woman” by Lisa Marie Barber, Kenosha, WI

This is a large (4 feet tall) composition that draws the visitor close. Lisa provides only general statements, but nothing about the significance of the yellow heart.  Her statement includes: “large-scale ceramic installations where passive figures occupy dense arrangements as if centerpieces to improvised shrines.   My work comes from a mental space that values solitude, simplicity, happiness, and independence. My artworks, while often perceived as busy, complex compositions, are very simple in concept and method. At their heart, they serve as personal meditations on the ease, beauty, and wonder that can outline every day.”




"Little Green Foot" by Jacob Miller, Peoria, IL
“Little Green Foot” by Jacob Miller, Peoria, IL


I couldn’t find much about Jacob on the internet.  His name show up here and there as maker of ceramic sculpture, but nothing specific regarding this piece, or even general statements. This is a 3 feet tall piece, and the size (especially at eye level) and the bright coloration makes it interesting.  The inspiration could be something very deep, or just having fun with clay.






"Amass and Wither" by Jamie Bates Slone, Kansas City, MO
“Amass and Wither” by Jamie Bates Slone, Kansas City, MO

The title and the two-part nature of this piece naturally brings up thoughts of the temporary nature of human life.  She explains this very clearly: “The focus and significance of my work lies in the state of the human condition, the delicacy and fragility of the human construct in an emotional and physical sense.   Imagine the surface of the skin as a reflection of the disease hidden within. My surface choices are derived from high-color contrast images of cancer cells and their inherently grotesque and psychedelic appearance.”

She achieves the color by casting glazes, and spraying several layers of underglazes.


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