Seasoned and skilled ceramic artists from across the country are participating in an exhibition at the Parkland Art Gallery entitled “State of the Art 2011-2012: National Biennial Ceramics Invitational,” on display now through February 4.
Suze Lindsay, curator for this year’s invitational, has been a professional potter for over 20 years and is a practicing artist in North Carolina. She has been a Core fellow at the prestigious Penland School of Arts and Crafts in Penland, North Carolina, one of a few unique educational programs that focus on contemporary crafts. For this invitational show, Lindsay has selected ceramic artists with whom she crossed paths during her earlier years at Penland and during her graduate studies, whose work she has followed for the past two decades.
Participating artists include a mix of studio artists and faculty at educational institutions across the country: Margaret Bohls (faculty, Anoka Ramsey Community College, Coon Rapids, MN); Jim Brashear (associate professor, University of Alaska, Fairbanks); Kathryn Finnerty (founder of Pleasant Hill Pottery and instructor at Lane Community College in Eugene, OR); Doug Herren (studio potter, Philadelphia, PA and instructor at Swarthmore College); Maren Kloppmann (studio potter, Minneapolis, MN); Neil Patterson (studio potter and instructor at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA); Jane Shellenbarger (assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology in the School for American Craft); Jenny Lou Sherburne (studio potter, Bakersfield, NC); Janice Strawder (founder of Manayunk Pottery, Philadelphia, PA); and Holly Walker (studio potter and former director of Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Maine).
“These artists all produce work that is significantly different from one another but have overlapping explorations of their medium. Using utilitarian pottery as the reference point, some go further outside of that tradition and fabricate works that are purely conceptual pieces,” said art gallery Director Lisa Costello. “This exhibition is curated based on the interwoven connection of artists influencing one another. Institutions like Penland are organic environments where students can come together and impact the identity of one another. The school is a vital part in this connection and development.”
“It has been amazing for me to watch their work grow and develop over the last 21 years,” Lindsay said of the selected artists in her curatorial statement. “Their lifetime pursuits have made significant contributions to contemporary ceramics.” Ceramics was one of the first media taught at Penland School of Arts and Crafts, which opened its doors in 1929. Functional work remains central to Penland’s clay program, as well as classes that range in focus from sculpture, to tile mosaics, to introduction to historical sources and clay heritage. Penland’s programming is set up to serve a workshop environment; teachers and students work side by side in the studios.
“Exposure to full-time studio potters, and those working in academia, nurtured and fed our goals to become professionals in our field,” Lindsay said of her Penland experience. “Not only was I able to study with some of the most prominent ceramists in our field, but the interaction and inspiration I received from fellow students was invaluable to my personal and professional development as an artist. I was introduced to new ways of thinking about form and design, and because of shared conversations and critical feedback, I began to see and understand a wide range of formal and informal approaches to art-making, and contemporary craft.”
Parkland Art Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday; and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. The gallery will be closed from 3 p.m. December 22 through January 2 for Holiday Break and January 16 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
To find the gallery when classes are in session, we suggest using the M6 parking lot on the north corner of the campus. Enter through any door and follow the ramps uphill to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area.
Programs at the gallery are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution; for accommodation, call 217/351-2505.
For more information on the invitational, please call the gallery office at 217/351-2485 or visit the gallery web page