Made at the Clay Studio

The Clay Studio‘s current exhibition, MADE AT THE CLAY STUDIO: WORK BY GUEST ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE, 2009-2010s features traditional clay works and also work of artists pushing the medium to new places.

a clay pile of J.J. McCracken’s fruits and veggies

One of the artists who is pushing clay medium is J.J. McCracken.  Her installation/performance piece addresses an important issue affecting so much of the world: hunger.  The piece is appropriately named, Hunger, Philadelphia. In her work she addresses the hunger and food issue on a global level but also right here in Philadelphia.

I have to admit I wasn’t impressed with the clay pile of fruits and vegetables on exhibit, but after watching the performance piece and reading a bit more about the work I have changed my mind.  The performance piece is quite powerful; it is an odd experience watching clay-covered performance artists breaking off pieces of the clay fruits and veggies and actually eating them.  You can’t help but almost taste the dry, earthy clay ( I naively didn’t realize that people throughout the world consume clay for many reasons including mineral supplements and for eliminating toxins from the body).   The clay-eating performers highlight the significance of functioning potted gardens close by.   I believe the the clay produce makes an important reference to the foods our society eats, which too often are overly processed, full of preservatives and lacking any real nutritional value.  The potted gardens remind us all what real food is and, more than that, how simple it could be to incorporate gardening into our urban lives.  We could feed so much more of the world if we used our green thumbs.
Furthermore I was delighted to see this piece merge clay with performance art.  It really gives life to a sometimes stagnant medium.   Definitely check out the piece and her web-site….it’ll get you thinking.

Judythe VanAmringe
 Judythe VanAmringe’s Crosses and Bones at The Clay Studio

There is more installation work by guest resident artist, Judythe VanAmringe.   Her piece Crosses, Bones, Cherry Trees, was on exhibit this past Spring at the Eastern State Penitentiary.   She brought some of that show to The Clay Studio for the current exhibition.  You can check out a pile of bones and crosses from the Penitentiary as well as beautiful black and white photographs of the installation.

The objects are beautiful in their own right.  But the photographs capture the transformation of the objects into a compelling and haunting story conjuring up thoughts of death, lingering spirits and untold tales.

from the installation at the Eastern State Penitentiary


The rest of the work in the show was a bit more traditional including work from Michael Moore, Deborah Schwartzkopf and Edith Garcia.

Michael Moore1
Michael Moore
Deborah Schwartzkopf2
Deborah Schwartzkopf
Edith Garcia
Edith Garcia

The show runs through Sept. 12.  For more information see the Clay Studio web site.