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Centering Clay Exhibition

Featuring Missouri Regional Ceramics

Exhibition: August 29 - September 27

Gallery Reception: September 16, 2:00-5:00 p.m.

 

Bede Clarke

Artist Statement:

I want to reach a point where I can't distinguish between a portrait, an eye, a bird and the figure "8", a strong black line or the recorded touch of hand on clay. All this stuff is the product of the same thing - an internal dialogue - one's desire and waking dreams going out to meet the clay. I want to get to the core of this matter and so I want to find simple, direct methods of working. Methods that allow compassion and humanity to be heard over the technical virtuosity of a clever hand and a trained eye. I want to find ways of working that respond to the only ability I have ever had, wishing the work well and silently encouraging it to "be good, be good."

Who cares if it's a pot or a sculpture, or a figure or abstract, if it's big or small, if it's flat or round or how it was fired. I'm just always trying to do the same thing - make things which say to me, "maybe there is more here than you ever imagined - can you just grow a bit taller to see it and listen a bit deeper to hear it?" It's always just ahead, just around the next corner. It can be a part of the wonderful complexity of being a human and it can also be nothing - nothing, if that's what we chose to make of it.

 

Gallery of Works:

Click on photo to enlarge

    Gino Keefe

    Artist Statement:

    My current body of work explores domesticated vessels and patterns, allowing the viewer to question the familiar and the unknown. Creating abstracted forms of utilitarian objects (specifically those found within the kitchen) triggers the viewer's memory and creates a physical and conceptual tension. My interests in objects obtained from the past focuses on human touch as well as untold stories. Working in clay allows my touch to be responsive to the material and in turn I am able to create my memory of an object that takes the viewer beyond this and into a realm that asks for placement amongst the living- past and present.

     

    Gallery of Works:

    Click on photo to enlarge

      Benjie Heu

      Artist Statement:

      Benjie Heu is currently Professor of Ceramics at Southeast Missouri State University. Benjie Heu has an MFA from Ohio University (1998) and a BFA from the University of Montevallo (1994). In between degrees, he studied at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth (1995). The ceramics of Benjie Heu expresses a personal narrative with the most outlandish adventures accounted with an eye fixed on the bare essentials. Battles against time, against the obstacles that prevent the fulfillment of desire or the repossession of something cherished but lost are themes that inspire him. Revealing truth and humor in the face of horror and the seemingly absurd is his answer. Benjie maintains an active exhibition record of solo, group, juried and invitational exhibitions. His personal interests include drinking coffee, trying new foods, listening to music, laughing out loud, reading comic books, anything Tarantino, and playing with his two rascally children.

       

      Gallery of Works:

      Click on photo to enlarge

        Jenny Reed

        Artist Statement:

        My objective is to encourage appreciation for the interconnectivity I see in beings and life processes. I am very interested in ethical reasoning and perplexed by human activity, or inactivity, and how this correlates to the rest of life. When creating work, I allow my pieces to encompass my own emotions. I hope to spark feelings of compassion, sympathy, and joy and to trigger a feeling of intimacy. I have a hopeful attitude about the future and I want to share this with my audience.

        As a ceramic artist, I am influenced by the natural world. I appreciate the material's transformation from water, air and fire, as it reminds me of my own connection with the earth. My childhood memories of working with clay are still influential today as I maintain a playful attitude with my work, both physically and conceptually.

        I have a responsibility as an artist to evaluate what impact I have on the community and environment. I try to be mindful not only of the end result, but also of the resources I use throughout the process of creating work. I am at early stages of this development and will continue to progress in hopes of working sustainably in my own art practice.

         

        Gallery of Works:

        Click on photo to enlarge

          Jeremy Jones

          Artist Statement:

          I view the human body as a social receptacle, a corporeal transportation device for ones concept of self. We carry with us our whole lives; the physical and metaphorical baggage of the body and mind signify our entire past, while the delicate and transient nature of the present continually transforms the interior and exterior spaces of the body. My figures reflect the reciprocity of inner and outer spaces as cages, voids and fissures reflect a relationship between the inside and outside. Our inner being or notion of self is intangible whereas the outer "skin" projects the physical transformation of an individual. Connected to the conscious, the body serves as a protective shell, but dually resides as a social receptacle displaying the conscious of its society; we can't be selves unless there are others. Despite our acuity or apathy, time quietly passes as we traverse through life waiting for a turn to see what is on the "other side".

           

          Gallery of Works:

          Click on photo to enlarge

            Keith Ekstamn

            Artist Statement:

            I am committed to clay as my primary art making material for many reasons. It is simultaneously one of the most fragile art media, yet also one of the most permanent and enduring. The simple, direct act of working with clay in one's hands is the polar opposite of the complex, transformative nature of finishing and firing where you have to let go of your work. I am certain that these opposing but vital characteristics are what drives me to choose this material. You get your money's worth when you work in clay.

            For the past several years my sculpture has incorporated imagery that makes reference to a diverse range of items. These are as far reaching as children's toys to weapons, architectural elements to geology, exalted objects to everyday mundane objects. Recent trips to Spain, Taiwan- the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China have made an impact in that I have procured various images from those places including such things as scholar's rocks, architecture, cultural and flora and fauna images. Although made primarily from hand-built clay, wheel thrown and simple press molded parts are used at times. The idea of mixed ceramic media has become interesting to me, so a variety of finishes and surfaces are often combined including low fire, high fire, salt, wood and luster glazes. Most pieces are assembled after firing.

             

            Gallery of Works:

            Click on photo to enlarge

              Neil Lawley

              Artist Statement:

              My interests lie in the interrelatedness of things, across cultures, languages, and objects. These objects share similarities with forms related to biological processes, anatomy, succulent plants, cloud formations, and molecular orbital diagrams, but directly represent none of them. Acknowledging contradictions, tensions, transfers of energy, moments of stasis and entropy, my ambition is to create a cohesive piece, giving the viewer a felt sense of form.

              My way of working is primarily an intuitive process; one of drawing with clay, and re-contextualizing and re-configuring the remnants of slip casting. These components once discarded, are re-purposed into sculptural objects. I am drawn to the potential that these pieces have to be combined to create new and interesting forms.

               

              Gallery of Works:

              Click on photo to enlarge

                Laura O'Donnell

                Artist Statement:

                My work uses the figure, both literal and suggested; nature; and architecture as visual reference points. I view my functional ceramics as design exercises in producing forms which then provide a surface for decoration. Currently, I am using line and decorative backgrounds to influence the mood of the figure and looking at the nuances of vision, watchfulness, and exploring relational complexities between internal and external realities, the quiet, unspoken psychological intricacies not explained by science.

                Laura currently teaches Modern Art History and Ceramics at Parkland College in Champaign, IL. Her work has been exhibited nationally and appears in Surface Design for Ceramics by Maureen Mills as well as ten of Lark's 500 Series books.

                 

                Gallery of Works:

                Click on photo to enlarge