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Six to watch from the Clay Studio’s Marge Brown Kalodner Graduate Student Exhibition

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August 28, 2013   ·   0 Comments

Marisa Finos, The Last Word

—>Maegan visits the Clay Studio and picks six from the graduate student exhibit that stand out from the rest. –the artblog editors———————–>

The Tenth Annual Marge Brown Kalodner Graduate Student Exhibition at the Clay Studio, features work by fifteen MFA candidates from across the United States.  The main impetus for the show according to the Clay Studio  is to “identify the best emerging ceramic artists as well as to provide support and affirmation to artists just beginning their journey.” The works this year trend towards the fantastic, and all of them fit nicely together in the space.   Of the fifteen artists on display, the following six most stood out to me.

Figurative clay

Ashley Maxwell “Bask”

Ashley Maxwell, Bask

Ashley Maxwell’s Bask features a reclining female figure set in what looks to be a chunk of earth, seen from both above and below ground through a unique and enjoyable perspective.  The effect is something like a pulled tooth with the root attached; it lends a bit of surprise to the piece.  Where the head of the figure would be, there blossoms a green cloud that resembles a crystal formation.  Maxwell’s work fuses classical style and sculptural poses with the surreal, all to a visually pleasing end.

Ashley Maxwell, Daydream

Ashley Maxwell, Daydream

Daydream features a figure in a pose that references Rodin’s The Thinker, interpreted through a lively, whimsical lens.

Functional and conceptual influenced by engineering

Brooks Oliver, Wobble Vase

Brooks Oliver, Wobble Vase

Blending the line between functional and sculptural work, Brooks Oliver’s piece, Wobble Vase incorporates elements from his two-year study of engineering. Viewing the piece, it is easy to see where engineering fits in.  The vase rests precariously on an angle and asks the viewer to question the boundary between functional and ornamental, utility and beauty.  Oliver seems to think that these two things need not be mutually exclusive.  I love the contrast between mathematical precision and the soft aesthetic appeal of porcelain clay with traditional celadon glaze.

A high and low culture shake up

Robert Lugo, Bloods and Crips Salt and Pepper Shakers

Robert Lugo, Bloods and Crips Salt and Pepper Shakers

Self-described “ghetto potter” Robert Lugo blends intricately thrown and altered porcelain pottery with imagery and concepts relating to inner-city struggles.  His skillfully rendered work is both delicate and edgy.  I really enjoy the tension present in his Bloods and Crips Salt and Pepper Shakers.  Lugo uses china paint, a classic treatment, on this set; the contrast between high and low culture works really well here.

Digitally-influenced clay

Marisa Finos, The Last Word

Marisa Finos, The Last Word

Marisa Finos’ The Last Word, breaks down the movements and changes of the face as one word is spoken at a speed of 24 frames per second.   I had never given much thought to the number of expressions made when speaking a single word; seeing this process broken down into fractions of a second is staggering.  Viewing this piece, I wondered at the complexity and detail of human expression.

Marisa Finos, Linger

Marisa Finos, Linger

Finos’ other piece, Linger, left me scratching my head, but in a good way.  The doll wears a strange expression that almost seems forlorn.  Its positioning on the wall gives the impression that it is tumbling out of space, hands open. Cocooned in wooly hair, its porcelain hands, feet and face are all gently rendered.  While I don’t fully comprehend this piece, its enigmatic qualities kept me coming back for another look.

Graceful and abstract

Joshua Paul Hebbard, The Lines of the Constellations/ Are Imaginary

Joshua Paul Hebbert, The Lines of the Constellations/ Are Imaginary

The Lines of the Constellations/ Are Imaginary by Joshua Paul Hebbert is a sleek, graceful installation. His poetic title does much to inform the abstract piece.  I have often thought about the constellations and joked that the positioning of the stars little resembles the names and stories behind the constellations themselves.   Hebbert’s installation had me thinking about the tradition of storytelling that surrounds the stars, a source of great awe and mystery.  I really enjoyed how the artist reinterpreted the constellations, and wonder whether he crafted any stories of his own in the making of this piece.

Homey works stir memories

Tiffany Bailey, Collection from Home

Tiffany Bailey, Collection from Home

Informed by the topography of her childhood home in the farm state, Wisconsin, Tiffany Bailey’s sparse forms in, for example, Collection from Home mimic those of grain silos.  Her glazing resembles horizons seen from a distance, blended together in the heat of the day.  Her forms have a comforting, basic feel that I really responded to— a charming familiarity.  The work is simple yet visceral and engaging.

Tiffany Bailey, Distillations

Tiffany Bailey, Distillations

The Tenth Annual Marge Brown Kalodner Graduate Student Exhibition, on display at the Clay Studio until August 25, 2013.  All images courtesy of the Clay Studio.

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