Workhouse Arts Center Clay International exhibition represents the depth and breadth of contemporary functional and sculptural ceramic artworks being created throughout the country. Ceramic artists Lynnette Hesser and Steve Loucks juried over 150 images to select 49 pieces of which incorporate a contemporary spirit as well as technical skill in the material. The show is an exciting opportunity to see a variety of style and technique which encompass the field of contemporary ceramic arts.
The exhibit can be seen in-person at the Workhouse Arts Center Vulcan Gallery from August 8, 2020 – October 11, 2020. The gallery is currently open Friday-Sunday, Noon – 5:oopm.
Lynnette Hesser and Steve Loucks: Jurors’ Statement
We applaud all for expressing their creative energies in the ceramic artworks that were submitted to the Workhouse Clay International 2020 Exhibition. We were honored to be asked to jury the 10th annual show of works by artists using clay as their main medium and vehicle of expression. It was both a delight and a challenge to view the images with all their diversity and broad range of ceramic techniques and endeavors. Explorations ranged from utilitarian pottery to non-metaphorical sculpture, to very personal issues expressed in both figurative and metaphorical assemblages. All were valid, visually interesting, and engaging.
Our task was to make a selection for this exhibition from a fraction of what was submitted. It was a daunting task. We did not choose artworks by an immediate gut response. Instead, as past professors of ceramics, art, and design, we used the following criteria to select those artworks that had a competent understanding of the intention within the categories of ceramic expression, excellence in its manifestation, and exemplified an evident personal passion for making objects in clay.
We viewed each submission several times both individually and together, enlarged each image to gather as much visual information about the entry as possible, and read all the information provided by the artists. We initially assessed each submission for its particular statement or purpose as an artistic expression in clay. With that in mind, we looked for uniqueness, historical references, and use of the principles of art and design. We also scrutinized the craftsmanship, execution in the making of the piece in terms of its intention with relationship to the artist’s touch, use of clay, methods of construction, glaze, and firing processes. There were several submissions that we personally really liked, but did not include for various reasons. It may have been similar to another submission that we felt was stronger, or a piece was strong in one aspect but weak in others.
We feel those selected excel in their particular genre, statement, or ceramic category. The pieces that received awards particularly pushed beyond the typical or expected boundaries with each celebrating its unique investigation, whether that was as a sculptural form, display of glaze and surface treatment, decoration, or the artist’s touch of the clay. These qualities are exemplified in the technical expertise exhibited in Ariel Bowman’s “This Thing all Things Devours”, the touch of the clay in Meg Murch’s “Kentari”, the unexpected generous scale of Snail Scott’s “Environmental Engineering”, the embellishment in both form and surface treatment of John Gargano’s “Ashetu Mind Three”, the painterly quality of Janet Burner’s “Helter Skelter”, the inviting utilitarian object by Joy Jones’ “Moon Platter”, use of glaze on Lisa Zolandz’ “Golden Orb”, and the strong use of the principles of art and design with its captivating line quality and sense of balance in Ken Baskin’s “Mechanical Movement Zip”.
Our goal, and hope, is that these artworks selected for the Workhouse Clay International 2020 Exhibition are well-received for their diversity, as visually interesting and intriguing objects that exhibit a technical competence in the making, and as inspirational works of art. We are saddened that, due to the pandemic, we will not have the opportunity to see the exhibition in person while it is on exhibit at the Workhouse. We encourage all to keep pursuing your ceramic expressions. Possibly, the criteria we used to judge by will make your work in clay stronger. To those who had work accepted, well done!
Porcelain, Cone 10 Electric fired
8 in x 8 in x 8 in
Wheel thrown porcelain bottle form. Glazed with golden crystalline glaze and fired to cone 10 in oxidation. Glazes developed by artist
Porcelain, Cone 10 Electric fired
12 in x 5 in x 5 in
Tall wheel thrown porcelain bottle. Glazed with layered iridescent glazes developed by the artist and fired to cone 10 in oxidation.
Stoneware, paperclay, brown stoneware, underglazes, oxides, fired multiple times in electric kiln up to Cone 6
16 1/4 in x 19 in x 2 in
The beauty of nature is all around us, even microscopically. Initially, the vibrant joyful yellows and oranges of the pinched and folded clay draw you in to take a closer look. On perusing the wall piece, however, dull yellows and then browns take over the visual field telling us that something is not sustainable in this environment. I use this dichotomy of color and texture as a way of calling attention to the disregard we have to our ecosystems, to our environment, and ultimately, to one another.
Casting slip, found clay, cast aluminum, crystalline glaze
14 in x 10 in x 15 in
This particular body of work uses clay at a more fundamental / elemental level. Simply “collecting” clay from particular sites lays the groundwork for commentary and critique on many different fronts. Depending on the circumstance or situation, clay itself often serves as a very telling indexical sign of climatic/ physical and social phenomena. Often over looked in this regard, clay itself doesn’t necessarily need to be deliberately fashioned to convey content or to “tell a story”.
White stoneware, Oxidation fired to Cone 6
17 1/2 in x 17 1/2 in x 12 1/2 in
Models’ faces and postures change in response to jokes and stories. They have private thoughts and endure boredom in a three hour session. This portrait reflects decisions I made in that time in response to my model, about character, beauty and emotion.
I glaze as I would paint a portrait. I select an integrated group of glazes, consider how light falls across a face and where the natural colors of the face, pale, flushed and dark exist. I spray the glazes with gusto. There are surprises when combining glazes, I aim for an integrated, readable sculpture.
Stroneware, bisque fired to Cone 06 and pit fired
12 in x 18 in x 18 in
I sculpt the human form to explore and express the human condition. The body is testimony — what we have gone through, who we are now and even what we may become. This “Chrysalis” is still developing.
Stoneware, underglaze, paint
10 in x 16 in, 16 in
Out of this same light, out of the central mind,
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.
Across the earth there are scenes of displaced and divided peoples amid rubble. The concrete block is reassembled as a dwelling where a central mind may exist
Earthenware, electric fired
15 in x 12 ½ in x 12 ½ in
Through my sculptures there are times I’m attempting to capture a moment. I am compelled to find the single gesture that captures the essential meaning of a story and speaks to the viewer on multiple levels. My inclusion of the butterflies speak to a primordial connection to the planet while the soft gradation of the skin tone is meant to suggest a moment of rebirth, grey, sickly flesh to pink, newness. This symbolism of the butterfly and of rebirth is so closely tied to the human condition, that I felt compelled to create works that represent that connection.
Earthenware, fired in oxidation to cone 04
10 in x 9 in x 9 in
If the distance between China and North America is 7723 km, then what is the distance between the previous me and the current me? If there are 12 hours between home and here, what time is it now? When a new life meets an old one, that moment draws me close. Tasting newness and oldness at the same time, I become the distance and difference; I am there, here, then, now.
Stoneware, oxidation electric fired
6 in x 4 in x 7 in each
$550 as a set
Sense: Vision/ Sight
This ongoing body of work, titled serves as an effort to communicate through subject matter involving references to animals, perception and technologies. Gestural qualities contribute to the emotional undertone connecting each piece with that same underlying influence within one’s self. The paring of references to unique animal capabilities with related current or emergent machines/ devices, imparts a sense purpose to each form. The emphasis on curiously ambiguous functions, can further rouse reflection on what it means to exist in tech dependent societies or perhaps, where it will lead us?
Soldate 60, Cone 6 firing with an additional gold luster firing
14 in x 8 in x 9 in
I am more than my parts, more than I know, and you are too. We are a conduit for expression. The job is to stay out of the way and allow our expression to come through.
Stoneware, Cone 6 electric fired
10 ¼ in x 9 in x 5 ½ in
These figures are the expression of the balance between masculine and feminine energy in each of us, and the power of alignment when these energies are in union. I’m interested in how they co-create as counter parts to one another while standing strong and whole in their separateness. I believe we are so much more than what we can comprehend with our mind, spiritual beings having a human experience, far beyond our physical vessels. I hope to invoke this innate remembrance in the viewer.
Sculpture mix, mid range bisque, low fire glaze
16 in x 12 in x 12 in
In my work I explore the elusiveness of dreams and memory joining together molded forms in unlikely combinations, transforming kitsch elements into complex pieces with a rich and relevant focus. The juxtaposition of shapes in my sculptures may at first seem haphazard, but is intentionally crafted to mimic the illusiveness of memory as it advances and recedes over time.
Stoneware, slip, shino, decals
36 in x 55 in x 10 in; Cone 10 reduction fired
These vessels are replicas of sugar molds used on American plantations to separate molasses from crystalized sugar, and directly reference how pottery was used in the production of commodities in the international slave trade. This sculpture confronts the cruelty and brutality of slavery in the Americas, and through referencing the everyday commodity of sugar, it also attempts to highlight the subtle and subconscious examples of oppression and ignorance towards minorities and people of color that continue to plague American society today.
Stoneware, wood fired
18 in x 10 in x 10 in
In this series the care and compassion I have for the animals of the world meets with my passion for functional wood-fired pottery. The awareness of various endangered species and their ability to care for one another illuminates a connection to us all.
Portraiture has been utilized throughout history for multiple reasons, with this series, portraiture communicates an emotional message to the viewer. The animals portraits in both large sculpture and on the surface of ceramic vessels are a memorial that creates a sense of family, relationship, sorrow, abandonment and strength.
Earthenware infant and white low fire clay tiles oxidation fired. Porcelain flowers, fired to cone 6. Polyester, silk organza, steel.
72 in x 72 in x 40 in
Lament has been brewing in me since freshmen year in college. Now, 20 years since, this piece is a snapshot of the last day I spent with my birth mother. In Korea, a 100 day party is the first celebration of ‘birthday’ in a Korean baby’s life. As in all my work, a lot of symbolism can be found. Choppy waters convey alarm and fear that the infant feels as she stretches her tiny hand towards an empty and ghost-like traditional Korean dress. Inside the garment, are hundreds of porcelain hydrangea flowers that are a flower of misfortune and regret.
Oxidation Fired Stoneware, Rubber Gaskets and Fasteners
25 in x 30 in x 12 in
The ideas behind my art work stem from a fascination with mechanisms and forms of the human body, artifacts and objects from the industrial world. These elements are intuitively mixed to generate universal forms that have familiarity and feel new, yet retain a link to a past existence or function. That mystery captures my interest and creates a platform for dialogue.
Porcelain, Cone 5 electric fired
5 in x 10 in x 6 in
Through process and material, I investigate the vessel and its formal elements which are considered for special celebration or in everyday use. My pervious experiences and internal dialog are a wellspring for improvisation. I mix together an emulsion of light, shadow, texture and form to answer questions surrounding utility. Musings will spring forth during the process unrestricted mostly, coming from observations and internal conversations that are filtered from the formidable history of the ceramic vessel and optimistic outcomes I find closely linked between humanity and nature.
Stoneware, Cone 6 electric fired
18 in x 24 in x 12 in
Masks can obscure, but also reveal. Do I always know which mask I wear and how it is seen by others? Is it always seen by me? And how many masks do I wear?
This piece uses contrasts (materials, color, texture) and layers to prompt the viewer to focus on the masks we present to the world and to ourselves.
Red clay, Cone 5 electric fired
13 in x 10 1/2 in x 5 in
My work is consciously constructed to facilitate human ritual and experience associated with the gathering of families and friends for special events in an ever changing society. Abstractions of prairie landscape and rural architecture become the conceptual underpinning for my approaches to painterly surfaces, glaze color, and texture. Experimentation and improvisation continue to be important to me as I am repeatedly questioning the balance between the rational and spontaneous making processes. An exploration of composition of form and surface and inside/outside relationships keep me endlessly fascinated in the context of tactility and the hand made.
White stoneware, Cone 11 wood/salt fired
12 in x 7 in diameter
This series of work is functional and meant for daily use. The wheel thrown vessel is a clean, elegant form defined by lines and curves that represent the volume contained inside. The form is kept minimal in design creating the canvas for the painted underglaze decoration. The choice of wood/salt firing incorporates the kiln and the process into the final product that allows for an outcome not completely controlled.
Stoneware, electric fired
30 in x 25 in x 10 in
Antheia is a Greek goddess associated with the renewal of plants in spring, and with the success of gardens, and life in the wetlands. She is shown with a benevolent gaze and is wearing decorative versions of plants, flowers, and root systems. It’s very appropriate that she and her surroundings are depicted with verdant shades of green and subtle rose, turquoise, and violet accents.
Frit porcelain, oxidation cone 6; overglaze firing cone 017
2 1/2 in x 5 1/4 in x 5 1/4 in
An elegant dairy at Chateau de Rambouillet, the surprise gift from Louis XVI to Marie Antoinette was meant to acknowledge her love of a rustic life. The summer house was furnished with fine porcelain from the Sevres Factory. The signature object in the porcelain collection was a cup, supposedly modeled after Marie Antoinette’s own breast, made for drinking by holding it carefully in both hands.
The lavish use of gold on the interior suggests the high value placed on porcelain in 18th century Europe. Layered imagery suggests a human intervention into the natural world.
Porcelain, oxidation fired
5 ½ in x 4 ½ in x 6 in
This series of work is about reflecting the natural world through geometrical expressionism, a space where the viewer can perceive the work in a personal way while relating on a level beyond language and rationale.
Stoneware, Cone 10 reduction fired
20 in x 6 in x 4 in
This piece is wheel thrown in sections, paddled, sculpted, decorated with slip & black wax, and fired to cone 10 in reduction. “Clay as Art” is my goal and inspiration.
Soda fired porcelain
11 in x 11 in x 7 in
The morning fog has become my early friend each day while running, sometimes making it difficult to see more than ten feet in front of me. Seasons pass and only the thicker morning dew indicates that it is summer. Layers of smog or residual smoke from wildfires thicken the air I breathe yet create a subtle haze that softens the dramatic landscape. Without judging these events, I find their visual impact important to my work. I record experiences in the glaze layer and propose my version of drama with this palate. My pieces start to glow with warmth from inside.
12 1/2 in x 16 in x 15 in
“Finding Rest” is a self portrait that captures a blissful moment of pause. A literal severed dragon’s head, this piece can be viewed cynically or optimistically. In a time where world events can leave one feeling fragmented, fantasy can provide a comfortably, if momentary, escape.
Porcelain and stoneware, Cone 6 Oxidation fired
24 in x 36 in x 11 in
The FC (Future Carcass) series examines the liminal space between control and chaos. This state is exemplified through the geometric containment of visual noise created by the randomness of the slip cast accumulation and terrazzo pattern. Throughout the making process, material control was relinquished resulting in the sense of urgency inherent in the work. A heightened sense of awareness concerning one’s lack of control in all things has been the result of the creation of this series.
Low fire white earthenware, oxidation kiln, underglaze and glaze
11 in x 11 in x 11 in
Who doesn’t love a donut?
My entry into this show reflects my admiration for this iconic American treat. The traditional donut holds a quiet, steadfast course undaunted by time or fashion, grounded in its promise of simple pleasure. Ubiquitous, affordable, an offering of donuts brings people together from all walks of life, from the fancy boardroom to the factory breakroom. I respect the power of this uncomplicated pastry to reach inside our feelings, evoke memories of our past, and deliver enjoyment into our present moment. Bypassing politics and pandemics, donuts unfailingly bring a smile to everyone’s face.
Reclaimed stoneware clay, oxidation fired
13 in x 11 in x 14 in
Personification of a real danger that has overtaken the world. Touches of an older safer time, old fashioned ice pack enables us to view a harsh new reality in a whimsical way. We each face the daily challenges on our own. There is a movie title that I think is appropriate 2020 “The Year of Living Dangerously”
Stoneware, underglazes, crystalline glaze, electric kiln fired
10 in x 14 1/2 in x 14 1/2 in
ICAN Merit Award Winner, 2020
Dar a Luz, (to give light) is a phrase used in spanish to refer to pregnancy; bringing a light into the world. I imagine this ceremonial piece in this way – family and friends ensure that floating candles remain burning during a woman’s labor with the intention of lighting a path for the infant into the world of form.
Stoneware, porcelain, underglaze, copper wire, cotton thread, wax; electric kiln fired
16 in x 23 in x 9 in
A ceremonial piece for a death ritual where a personal item or written prayer is burned in the small interior boat, symbolically sending the spirit of the loved one skyward on a river of smoke. Two guardian crows hold porcelain lanterns.
Soda fired white stoneware
15 in x 19 in x 6 in
Within this current body of work I am exploring the integration of actual and abstracted machine parts into homologous interrelationships. Metaphorically, my sculptures reflect aspects of these interrelations through: balance and instability, domination and submission, tension and ease, opposition and compromise. It is through this dynamic of push and pull, give and take, that the spontaneity and structuring of these interactions takes place.
Soda fired white stoneware
16 in x 26 in x 6 in
Porcelain, oxidation fired
4 in x 9 in x 7 1/2 in
In this work specifically, it was my interest to combine water lines from my own home along with fragments from reclaimed chunks of nature in order to show the cyclical order of one action to another. In creating this work I was interested in processing my own role within the larger whole. It is my hope that the work created is both something visually interesting and texturally compelling; something that would prompt someone to look, but eventually draw them to touch the work and question why certain decisions were made.
Stoneware and porcelain, electric kiln fired
17 in x 13 in x 13 in
Resilient represents nature’s resilience to withstand humanity’s imposition upon the earth’s domain.
Porcelain, wood fired
11 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in
These vessels utilize a formal vocabulary that derives from my fascination with smooth, rounded stones from Lake Ontario. In a practical sense, these stones serve as press molds. But they are also symbolic repositories for my attachment to the natural environment and the marvel of natural processes that refined rock into these beautiful shapes. Flow is the connecting concept between these stones and the atmospheric firings that activate the surface of these vessels. I equate the flow of water over the rocks in the lake with the circulation of flame, vapor, and ash around the vessels during firings.
Stoneware, electric kiln fired in oxidation to cone 6
11 1/2 in x 11 1/2 in x 11 in
I am guided by the interaction of volume and line. The irregular, apparently random, constructions result from slight modifications introduced at the base of each vessel during the initial phase of my hand-building process. From these base variances, a uniquely organic – yet “predetermined” – shape emerges.
As my constructions begin closing along the top of each vessel, I introduce a more deliberate edge or line as I finish the piece. The tension and dialogue this edge creates between line and volume in each work tells a story. My surface treatment aims to further complement the work’s narrative contour.
Multi-fired in gas and electric kilns
15 in x 14 in x 14 in
This piece is about the end nearing for my mom battling Lung Cancer. The eye bolt represents her and everything else is the struggle and battle from outside and within. With the eventual wearing down and fragility of life becoming more evident.
Raku clay, Cone 6 oxidation fired
20 in x 16 in x 5 ½ in
My work strives to evoke mystery and ambiguity using abstract forms that straddle the boundaries between the human, the animal, and the imagined. Within narrative compositions of these forms, I intend to connect the world of our subconscious with our perceptions of everyday reality.
I invite viewers to enter these environments and discover something within themselves—perhaps a feeling not often acknowledged, or an experience long forgotten. By suggesting a presence that exists beyond our everyday world—and probing the private world within each of us—my work intends to communicate both innocence and unease.
Coil built stoneware, glaze, electrically fired to Cone 5
48 in x 12 in x 12 in
Germination and regeneration; hybridity and humanity. Our presence has reconstructed the world we inhabit. Will it be transformed yet again?
Standard ceramics cone 6 clay, electric fired
9 in x 10 ½ in x 8 ¼
My work seeks meaning from the seemingly trivial and overlooked moments of everyday life. I am fascinated by the way that combining familiar and surreal aspects can cause a shift in an artwork’s meaning, as well as the way in which the viewer can enter into the work based on their own subjective reality.
My visual language is derived from the simplicity and playfulness of the illustrations found in children’s books and single panel comics. I integrate this minimalist aesthetic with nuances of humor to bring lightheartedness to the foibles, anxieties, banalities, and joy found in everyday life.
Stoneware, electric kiln fired to cone 9
6 1/2 in x 10 in x 10 in
For vessels like the “Sunflower,” I create the textures by deeply impressing patterns into thrown cylinders. Then, working from the inside only, I expand the cylinder to create the final form. This technique allows the pattern to evolve as the clay twists and expands. As the pattern adjusts to the shape and function of the vessel, it becomes reflective of nature’s adaptation to form.
I create classic forms with surface textures that give the work energy and vitality. I seek to create patterns and textures that explore the organic interplay between order and randomness as found in nature.
Cone 6 Stoneware, Oxidation Fired, Slow Cooled
8 in x 17 in x 17 in
I am interested in graceful, whimsical forms and I see the vessel as a dimensional canvas that is meant to be decorated. The carving grows like a doodle, each shape connecting to another like relationships and events, one affecting the other in different ways. The movement of the carving draws me in and I get lost in its intricacies. Through my efforts to create forms that are decorated with intertwined carving and textures, these pieces have emerged as a reflection of my desire for beauty in the midst of tumultuous, chaotic everyday life.
White stoneware, electric kiln fired to cone 5
12 1/2 in x 6 in x 6 in
Through a series of figurative sculptures, I offer an alternative interpretation of how our world was created. These narratives, inspired by Pre-Columbian and ancient myths, religion, and modern science, indulge my yearning for myth, ritual, and spirituality.
Like the clay they are made of, these characters become brittle, strong, and ultimately immortal as statuettes on altars of my imagination.
My work explores ideas of creation through transformation and blurs the line between creator and creation.
Glyptria roams in space, among celestial bodies, collecting particles and attaching them to herself. She sculpts them into all the beings that populate the earth.
Earthenware, oxidation fired
15 in x 17 in x 12 in
I make sculptures of prehistoric animals that represent the wonder to be found in natural history. The Timekeepers presents these extinct creatures as decorative objects inspired by 18th century French mantle clocks. This period in history represents the age before the discovery of fossils that changed our perception of time and our relationship to nature. The clocks tick backwards presenting a challenge to the viewer’s expectations and understanding of time.