October 7 – November 4th 2017
Artist’s Reception: Saturday, October 14th, 4-7 pm
Gallery Hours: Saturdays 12-5 pm or by appointment
Betsy Levine is a potter in the rolling hills of Liberty, Maine. She makes functional pots as well as evocative vessels in high-fire stoneware and porcelain. Most of the pots are fired in the gas fueled soda kiln on her property. Twice a year she fires work in a week-long wood burning kiln with a group of potters. Betsy participates in many regional and national shows and opens her studio at Prescott Hill Pottery to visitors several times a year.
Bruce Dehnert is an independent artist and currently serves as the department head for ceramics at Peter’s Valley School of Craft in Layton, NJ.
In her 1939 essay “The Art of Biography,” Virginia Wolf compared the biographer to that of a miner’s canary, venturing depths and documenting conditions and place, in a tangential manner in which the viewer/reader is then able to follow in the footsteps of the maker. Art, for me, functions as a journalistic device in which we are able to relish the visual stories that are based on subjective reasoning.
I often invent glaze formulae that will explain something of these firing processes and their effect on materials that melt, crystallize, fuse, drip, or remain stable. I am curious about which elements become obscured and which do not. This surely has something to do with the power of nature to create and destroy, and my approximation, as an artist, of these behaviors in order to elicit an aesthetic experience.
I am always searching for the core reason of why ceramics is so important to me. What is the reason behind this committment? What is the nature of containment? What is my personal concept of beauty, and why are pottery forms specificly so precious to me?
Holding, protecting, preserving, presenting: containment. It keeps us safe and alive. Containment can be seen on a vast or intimate scale. It can be imagined in the immense layer of atmosphere around our planet. It can consist of the fragile covering of a cell. Both nature and culture have devised intriguing methods to preserve what is precious.
In nature, pods, wombs, shells, and seeds are the ultimate pots. Their form derives from the contents within, and this ‘contained’ determines the exterior form. Nature holds its most important commodities safe in the world’s most beautiful and functional containers!
In culture, the potters of classical Greece devised a form known as a loutrophoros, a ceremonial vase for water. The loutrophoros is like an attenuated amphora. It is one of the most long-lived shapes in attic vase making, which speaks to the importance and continuity of the rituals in which it was used. A loutrophoros would contain water for a woman’s nuptual bath. Unlike any other Greek painting on pots, images from the loutrophoros depict the lives of women during the classical period between 430 and 420 BCE. We are given a rare glimpse into the realities of brides, women in domestic settings, and women at their leisure. These pots are for me both holders of the essential element of water and also keepers of the symbols of the woman as a life bearer. Most interesting to me is the fact that they served both as ceremonial wedding vessels and grave markers for women who died unmarried.
How do such diverse sources as seedpods and classical Greek terracotta converge into a body of contemporary ceramic work? I throw and press my terracotta into geometric forms, then collage them, keeping my sources in the back of my mind while pushing the relationships forward into being. Pitchers, trays, jars, and bowls are spliced from the study. The highest goal of the work is to infuse joy and celebration into our daily rituals of protection and regeneration at table.
Jenny Swanson was born in Boston to parents in science and medicine, her mother from India. Growing up in Seattle, Washington, she discovered ceramics in high school. After studying ceramics and drawing at Bennington College, she received her MFA in ceramics at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1984.
Jenny lives in a handmade house in rural New Hampshire with photographer husband Ted Degener. She teaches ceramics at Dartmouth College, where she is Director of the Davidson Ceramic Studio.
Julie Crosby is a full time studio potter residing in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. She began working in clay as a student at the Hartford Art School, where she earned her BFA in ceramics in 1995. Opportunities to continue her clay education in the form of artist-in-residencies, workshops, kiln building and teaching brought her around the country, until she made Upstate New York her home in 2001. Julie owned and operated a pottery studio and wood kiln in Harpursville New York until 2004. In 2007 she was awarded an artist fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). With funds from the award, she built her Bourry Box wood/salt kiln, which she fires two-three times per year. Julie learned how to build kilns while working with Lisa Stinson in 1998 at Louisiana Tech University. She continues to build and design kilns for studio potters across the country. Julie’s work has been included in many national juried and invitational exhibitions, select private collections and various publications, including Ceramics Monthly, The Studio Potter and The Log Book. Julie has exhibited at the Smithsonian Craft Show, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and the Craft Shows at Chautauqua, where she received the Award for Excellence in 2014. Julie has been a member of Handwork Cooperative in Ithaca, NY since October of 2013.
Karen Koblitz is a Los Angeles based artist and an Associate Professor Emerita at the University of Southern California where she was head of the ceramics area.
Her ceramic work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions including a one women exhibition, Patterns of Influence (2004), at the All Russian Museum of Decorative, Applied and Folk Arts, Moscow, Russia. Solo Shows at the L2kontemporary Gallery in Los Angeles, Earth Tones (2009) and Facing East (2007) featured work from her travels to Azerbaijan. In March 2018 her work will be featured in a mid-career solo exhibition at El Camino College in Torrance, California.
I have reached a place in my career where my life and work are indistinguishable. The acts of gardening, teaching, hand feeding my chickens and eating my husband’s incredible cooking from my favorite bowl inform me and my potter’s soul continuously.
My visual inspirations, however, are those of popular culture. I love all the color, plasma and neon of modern life. My goal is to unite the images of this raucous reality with the ancient traditions of my chosen craft.
My ceramic works are informed directly by my love for natural objects coupled with a passion for utilitarian form. Natural shapes, textures, patterns and symbols find their way into my work. My current works have evolved from my search for place and the placement of specific objects within a defined domestic environment. The dialogue between an object, nature and its environment is what I look to capture through my utilitarian ceramic work. Through my surface patterns I am exploring the ways in which the nature evolves through the seasons; abstracting natural and man-made cycles of a farmer’s field, rolling hillsides and the fertile landscape that surrounds us.
My goal is to create utilitarian pots for every day use; simple forms that speak primarily about functionality and the intimacy gained through daily use. The life and measure of a good pot becomes complete when it is used and so I strive to make work not only for the shelf but for the table to enhance the day-to-day ritual of dining.
For Nermin Kura, the question of the occurrence of life, and its embodiment is a matter of great wonder. How is it that the transformation of energy into animate matter always occurs within a membrane, a seed, or a vessel of some sort? Could life exist without being embodied? Just as fascinating for her in their similarity to biological receptacles, are art works, vessels of meaning that cultures create for themselves to hold the thoughts and feelings that help make sense of existence. Could cultures survive without them?
Professor Kura teaches art and architectural history courses in the School of Architecture Art and Historic Preservation as well as aesthetics in the Core Program of Roger Williams University. She is also a visual artist who shows internationally. In her photography and ceramics, Nermin Kura uses forms from the biosphere such as pods and eggshells as a metaphor for the abode of life. She explores concepts of embodiment, fullness, inner pressures and the mysteries of life sustaining enclosures.