Layers of Being PSAD 2021 Ceramics Invitational Abigale Brading Syd Carpenter Pattie Chalmers Jonathan Christensen Lavinia Hanachiuc Lindsey Heiden Rob Lorenz Mac Star McCusker Joann Quiñones Soe Yu Nwe John Utgaard Bill Ford Gallery•January 28-April 14, 2021 Curated by Anne Beyer
Layers of Being
Abigale Brading Abigale Brading is a sculptor that combines symbolic architectural elements with mythological themes to move viewers into an awareness of contemporary social issues. Brading uses her personal history as a starting reference within her work to talk about broader attitudes surrounding religion and its role in a progressive society. She defines her artistic practice as taking a series of risks both on a personal level and in testing the limits of the materials. A first-generation college student, she received her Bachelor of Arts in 2011 from Morehead State University, Kentucky, where she studied ceramics and sculpture. She spent two years developing her artistic voice as a post-baccalaureate in the Ceramics Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In 2017, she completed her Master of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics at Indiana University - Bloomington. Recent accomplishments include being accepted into the NCECA 2017 National Juried Student Exhibition. Her work has also been featured in Red Lodge, Montana in the Red Lodge Clay Center’s biennial Juried National exhibition in 2015. She plans to pursue a career in the education field to promote higher learning, while also maintaining her love for working in the studio.
We are all enriched through sharing personal experiences. In the midst of a pandemic, in a divided nation, it is important to recognize the continued need for advancements of empathy and understanding. Progress is needed to insure an equal playing field within our society. It is important to continue to make strides toward achieving civil justice; to get to the truth, layers need to be pulled away and examined. Layers of Being celebrates diversity in thought within the ceramic community and features ceramic sculptures from artists of different walks of life. This exhibition allows a pause for reflection on who we are as individuals and explores the vast topic of being and shared human experience. When we allow ourselves to empathize, we can get closer to seeing into the lives of others and think about how our collected experiences construct the identity of the larger society, that which connects us all. Anne Beyer Artist & Educator
I Can’t Even Save Myself, Stoneware, Terra Sigillata, Iron Oxide Stain, Soda Wash, 24” x 24” x 6” 2017 (cover) Anne Beyer Balance 24” x 18” x 8” Wood Fired Stoneware and 3D Printed Plastic 2019
Confine, Stoneware, Terra Sigillata, Iron Oxide Stain, Soda Wash 24” x 18” x 8” 2016 (above) Subjugate, Stoneware, Terra Sigillata, Iron Oxide Stain, Soda Wash 20” x 15” x 6” 2016
My sculptures challenge beliefs that restrict social progress and personal growth. Each convey free thinking and bring awareness to gender, religious, and inherited inequalities within social structures. I create narratives that provide insight into struggles seen through a humanist lens, and I tap into the notion of empathy that is understood at its peak when shown and experienced through the modeling of behaviors and detailed visual components. Through the malleable nature of clay, I link symbolic architectural structures and anthropomorphic figures together to portray a sense of burden and weight that is tied to individual experiences with indoctrinated principles. My work invites the viewer to look for the human connections behind each cause and its effect. The focus of each theme revolves around a non-typical female form. Her albino, doe-like features are an allegory veiled in philosophies of transcendence, wholeness, and compassion. Her development alludes to a boundless being who has achieved a higher state of existence that is raw and unapologetic. The nature of the architectural elements speaks about control, confinement, personal burdens, systems of power, and dogma. At the backbone of my artistic practice is the desire to remind that we should strive to live in a pluralistic society, where people are free to hold various beliefs but are tolerant of other’s philosophies, even when they are diametrically different than our own.
Syd Carpenter’s work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Atlantic Richfield Corporation, Nabisco Brands, University of Illinois, Art in General, New York, Philadelphia Convention Center, Bell Atlantic Corporation, Erie Museum of Art, Canton Ohio Museum of Art, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, Jingdezhen, China, and in numerous private collections.
Pattie Chalmers received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the University of Manitoba in Canada and her Master of fine Arts in ceramics in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota. She has exhibited in group exhibitions on five continents, in six countries and thirty-two states and over the past ten years has had work in over ninety exhibitions. Chalmers is a Professor and the head of ceramics at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale--she admits that she might be slightly compulsive and that she definitely likes to laugh at her own jokes.
Artist Statement “A Mind of It’s Own” refers to my interest in creating forms that do not appear stationary. Clay forms are often seen as fragile and therefore must be protected. Because of that perceived fragility, they are, out of necessity configured for stability. This form was made in contradiction to that perception. The form is in motion. It is animated and its configuration is temporary. Turn away and it will have changed. The title also implies the form is autonomous and along with that the viewer and the object are on equal terms.The contrasting surface, (one side completely different from the other), is also a confirmation of an evolving condition. You can’t know this piece from one view. It requires the viewer to move and engage the form from multiple locations.
My work can be separated into three main types: figures/tableaux, objects/collections, and pottery. These three categories, although visually distinct, are for me linked by a connection in each to narrative. I am inherently a storyteller and through my work, I try to map experience as a way to gain a better understanding of others and myself. Figures/Tableaux The ceramic figures I make evolved from images I carved on vessels, when I removed them from their drawn environments and placed them next to each other I found unplanned narratives emerged. These chance stories join with my own experiences into semi-fictional vignettes. I often arrange landscapes of characters on stage-like platforms creating images that resonate as familiar while maintaining the inherent oddness of a dream. Finding meanings within the arrangements can provide the frustration and the satisfaction of deciphering a challenging puzzle for both myself and the viewer.
Brownie and Stone Tea, Mixed Media, 16.5” x 11.5” x 7.5” 2018
Mind of Its Own, Ceramic, 24” x 14” x 12” 2006-2019
Jonathan Christensen Caballero
Jonathan Christensen Caballero is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Utah. He received his Associate inScience degree in art from Snow College, His Bachelor in Fine Arts in ceramics and sculpture from Utah State University and his Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from Indiana University. He has exhibited nationally and internationally in venues such as the Clay Center of New Orleans in Louisiana, Standard Ceramic Supply in Pennsylvania, Carbondale Clay Center in Colorado, and Tsukuba Museum of Art in Japan. Jonathan recently moved to Lawrence, Kansas, and became the Interdisciplinary Ceramic Research Center Artist in Residence at University of Kansas. His work was featured on the cover of Ceramics Monthly’s September 2020 issue and he is a recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. His work focuses on the human figure and advocates for the Latin American labor community.
Lavinia Hanachiuc is a jar of plum jam, a born ceramic, and a snow shovel, which is Romanian. Hanachiuc is photography from the highly competitive Bucharest University of Fine Arts, especially in the neon light of post-communist production pottery. Pottery originates from superstition, and superstition from Lavinia Hanachiuc. Hanachiuc is embroidery, is Ann Arbor, is a husky, is her daughter, is a paper-mache mask of unusual size, is a shadow cast by a melange of miniature monkeys. Monkeys, in their various modalities of art speak, from within a velvet bag, produce Lavinia Hanachiuc, ceramically. bio by Katie Farris
Artist Statement My art is based on my personal identity, which was formed both by watching my parents support the family through labor jobs as well as by my mother, who emigrated from Panama. My artwork narrates enduring questions of identity through the use of the human figure, pre-Columbian iconography, and mixed-media sculpture. The cost of participation in our society can then lead to questions of inclusion versus exclusion. Who benefits from the American dream? Who is allowed representation, visibility and to feel sense of belonging? The figures reveal people who contribute to society by enduring labors which often sacrifice their health and safety. My figurative sculpture critiques the oppression of Latin American laborers and advocates for my community’s representation by revealing both the plight of the proletariat as well as the resilience of immigrants.
Golden Child/Niño Dorado, Earthenware, Secondhand Fiber, Metal, Wood 27” x 26” x 15” 2020 Forest Architecture, Porcelain, 9” X 3” X 3” 2020 (above) A Cage of Bones, Porcelain, 12” x 6” x 4” 2020
Lindsey Heiden grew up in Illinois but spent time living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan before attending graduate school. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Western Illinois University in 2007. In the years between earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and starting graduate school, Heiden traveled throughout the United States participating in residency programs and studio assistantships. Her work deals with story telling through highly decorative and narrative sculptures focusing on genetics. Exhibitions of her work include North Of The 45th Parallel in 2015, and North of the 45th Upper Midwest Juried Exhibition in 2015, both at the DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University.
Rob Lorenz has been working in clay since 2001 when he was required to take a ceramics class while pursuing a degree in art education. In 2007 Rob received his BFA in ceramics from Southeast Missouri State University. In 2013 he started his masters studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, graduating with his MFA in May, 2016.
Artist Statement Most of my work can be traced back to three main points of origin: folk pottery of the southeast United States, the dada movement of the early 1900s, and nostalgia for my own personal history. I have always been drawn to functional items. Thus the simple, functional clay forms made in the folk pottery tradition have always been a source of reference when making my own work. Even before I had the proper historical knowledge and terminology to talk about them, I was emulating the jugs, jars, pitchers, and myriad other shapes made by the various families throughout the southeast region.
Artist Statement The animals that appear modified in my work are not chosen at random, but represent what I see or feel on a daily basis. For instance, the rabbits that I watch every morning and night at the bird feeder in my backyard, or turkey vultures that remind me of my childhood home, sitting on my parents back deck during a hot summer afternoon. I then manifest these feelings and at times nostalgia, using animal characteristics which results in hybrid creatures that tell a visual story. Some of the features that I use are physical characteristics of the animals while others are based on behavioral characteristics. These hybrid creatures are not fleeting, but are recurring characters throughout my studio practice, their stories unfold on the shelves of my studio. I have a tendency to become obsessed with a particular animal and will exhaust various ways of representation through painting, sculpting, writing tales, researching, and using the animal as a base for hybrid creatures. Sometimes spending years rendering one species. The use of mixed media plays an important role just like the use of various animal traits. By using a mix of materials I am able to further develop a more personal story for each piece. These materials range from hog hair, clay, plastic grass, and my cat’s whiskers, to name a few. I collect found objects and materials creating a library of tools that I am able to use when the piece I am working on calls for it. This constant mixing of materials and animal forms, keeps me engaged and pushes my creative bounds.
When this vicarious nostalgia for the folk pottery culture is combined with the genuine nostalgia for my own family and home, the result is a range of more personalized functional forms and materials that appear soaked in the past without imitating it directly. Traditionally fatter jugs get stretched and narrowed to resemble two liter bottles of Super Chill soda. Bottle necks get stretched to look like the long flexible nipple of a calf bottle. And pieces of wood and metal scavenged from the falling barn get reused as display bases and embellishments for the pots.
Becoming a Rabbit, Earthenware, Glaze, Underglaze, Enamel Paint, Acrylic Paint, Fake Grass, Yarn, Hog Hair, Glue, Found Plastic, 5.5” x 9.25” x 13.25” 2020
You Can’t Cheer Up the Devil, Cone-10 Wood Fired Stoneware, 16” x 9” 2020
While the pottery forms themselves knit together the threads of folk pottery and my personal history, the text applied to the pots introduces the more “contemporary” ideas of dada and “fine” art. Writing on pots has strong ties to the folk pottery tradition. While these historic examples seem legitimate, in my own work such an overt addition of content feels inauthentic and appears to be trying too hard to be taken seriously. This inauthentic feeling is cut, however, through the use of dada’s found objects and the surrealist literary technique of automatic writing. Items found at random serve as the catalyst for the stream of consciousness phrases and verses. The text has no meaning; it is utter nonsense. But this nonsense does serve to subvert the seriousness of “fine” art, and begins to remove the importance of myself as the artist. (abbreviated for space)
Mac Star McCusker
Joann Qui˜ones Quinones Joann Quiñones earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in studio art form Indiana University, Bloomington in 2019, after having earned a Doctorate in English from the University of Iowa, Iowa City in 2003. Recognition for her sculpture in 2020 includes an Honorable Mention from the James Renwick Alliance’s Chrysalis Award; Finalist in the Manifest Grand Jury Prize; and Emerging Artist from Ceramics Monthly magazine, as well as Award Nominee from the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, and the Surface Design Association’s Outstanding Student Award in 2019. Exhibitions in 2020 alone include Paper Pavillions, Columbus, Indiana; Southern Miss Ceramics National, University of Southern Mississippi; and The Space Between History and Hope, LH Norton Jr. Gallery, San Joaquin Delta College, among others.
Mac Star McCusker earned His Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics, Magna cum Laude, from Georgia State University, Atlanta, in 2009, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Armstrong Atlantic State University’s Honors Program, Savannah, in 2002. Recognition for his work includes Emerging Artist for Musing About Mud, 2014; Artist of the Month, Handbuilders Monthly, 2016; Best of Show, Sweet and Slippery Slope, Clay Arts Vegas, 2016; and Emerging Artist, Ceramics Monthly, 2018. Recent exhibitions include 100 Women, 100 Years, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia; It’s Still Political: Gender, Sexuality, Identity, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis; and Transcendent: The T is Not Silent, a solo exhibition at Iridian Gallery in conjuction with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, in Richmond, Virginia. Artist Statement I am a Ceramic Artist. My work is hand sculpted, wheel thrown, and slab constructed. I work with many different clay bodies including stoneware and raku. Pieces are fired in raku, gas reduction, or electric kilns. The content of my work regularly involves social commentary. My work spotlights the policing of gender, Bathroom Bills, anti-discrimination laws, and issues addressing the LBGTQ community. I build the figures in my work from a solid piece of clay. When the clay is leather hard the figure is cut apart, hollowed, then carefully put back together before the details are added. Being vigorous in socially motivated ceramics projects is an important part of the role I play as an art activist and enables me to engage others in needed conversations about contemporary issues including gender identity, sexuality, class, and prejudices. My current body of work addresses the issues concerning the LGBTQIA community, the rescinding of rights by the Trump administration and the bathroom laws sweeping the nation that threatens the safety of transgender individuals. I am documenting my own experiences and struggles through sculpture and narrative vessels. Living and working in North Carolina has forced me to address things affecting my community making me the subject of my own work. I have become, for better or worse, visible and vulnerable through making and creating ceramic sculptures. I am generating a dialogue about my life, my own narrative, political and social concerns, and through that process I am educating others.
El Mito del Regreso (The Myth of the Return) Sculpture, 144” x 48” x 72” 2019
Dressed in My Best Defenses, Stoneware, Oxides, Cone-6, 12” x 24” x 15” 2019
Artist Statement I juxtapose objects for the home with the archival in order to ask the viewer to think about how narratives of the domestic, family, and womanhood are complicated by a history of slavery, stolen labor, and racism in the U.S. I work with all materials, but consider ceramics and textiles to be foundational to my process and thinking. I use found objects to bring a sense of history into my work. I use magazines, newspapers, and photographs - all kinds of ephemera - to document our human vulnerability to the passage of time. By layering, twisting, stitching, cutting and joining, I make sculptures, relics, assemblages, and shrines as visual metaphors of relationships. I focus on those moments of conflict and intimacy that bring us joy and pain, and those circumstances we inadvertently find ourselves in due to our histories. By creating installations and sculptures that ask for audience participation, my work highlights how our ideas of race, gender, class, and sexuality are highly ritualized, and often unexamined. My work is an invitation to remember, examine, and engage in meaningful dialogue.
Soe Yu Nwe
John Utgaard John Utgaard grew up in Carbondale, Illinois, and became interested in Ceramics while in high school. He studied ceramics at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, the Kansas City Art Institute, and at Alfred University, where he received his MFA in 1999. In addition to having been an artist-in-residence at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana, Utgaard taught at the University of Texas at Austin; Penn State University; and currently teaches in the ceramics area of Murray State’s Department of Art and Design.
Soe Yu Nwe is an artist from Myanmar. After earning an MFA degree in Ceramics at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2015, Soe has been participating in numerous residencies in the United States and across Asia. Her experience of living cross-culturally has inspired her to reflect upon her own identity through making, conceiving it as a fluid, fragile and fragmented entity. Through transfiguration of her emotional landscape by poetically depicting nature and body in parts, she ponders the complexities of individual identity in this rapidly changing globalized society. Her exhibitions includes the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Australia), 2018 Dhaka Art Summit (Bangladesh), The New Taipei City Yingge Ceramic Museum (Taiwan), Yavuz Gallery (Singapore), ZieherSmith in Chelsea, New York (USA), and The National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta (Indonesia). Recently, Soe has become an invited member of IAC (International Academy of Ceramics) as the first member from Myanmar. Her work has been acquired by the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia. Soe was named in Forbes 30 Under 30: Art & Style 2019.
Artist Statement I have always had vivid dreams, and though I have never been a religious or superstitious person, I have always believed that my dreams had significance. The fact that there are large parts of myself that I can’t experience in waking life is deeply fascinating and disturbing to me, and it motivates much of my work as an artist. I think of the things I make as geological, biological and psychological relics, as if my mind were a site of excavation. Wet clay records the work of our hands and reflects the softness of our bodies as well as the plasticity of our thoughts. When we fire it, it becomes like a fossil—hard, dead and stony, but with the evidence of a time when it was soft and alive in someone’s hands. I am attracted to how clay can speak of our living bodies but at the same time of our mortality and of the span of geologic time.
Artist Statement In my work, I explore different ways of expressing my experience of alienation, confusion and pain as a cultural outsider by creating narrative spaces that explore the lines between insides and outsides. Playing on the idea of the body being the house that shelters the spirit, I create work that is symbolic of the self. I instill the metaphorical sculptural self with a sense of organicity and intricacy by gesturing the body- the viscera and skeletal, morphing into the botanical to express the vitality, delicacy, and injury of the spirit inhabiting and animating the forms. As a third generation Chinese immigrant in Myanmar, I seek inspirations from cultural practices of ethnic Chinese and the local Burmese. Local animistic beliefs, folklores and mythologies inspire the imagery in my work. I am particularly interested in the female figures in Buddhist mythologies. In my most recent body of work, I explored creating hybrid bodies using imagery of Naga Maedaw, a dragon queen in Buddha’s birth stories, Jataka Tales.
Nurturing Hands, Porcelain, Glaze, Oxides 7.5” x 5.5” x 6” 2017
One Possible Theory, Glazed Earthenware, 5” x 20” x 15” 2015
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Paducah School of Art and Design 2021 Ceramics Invitational