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Creations in Clay: Contemporary New England Ceramics

July 2 - September 6, 2004


Clay can form an elegant, functional vessel or an abstract sculpture. It can be shaped into figures that are organic and natural, or it can adopt elements from the cultural to the historical. In all these incarnations and more, the Currier celebrates the dynamic field of ceramics and its rising prominence in regional, contemporary art with the exhibition, Creations in Clay: Contemporary New England Ceramics, from July 2 through September 6, 2004. (right: Chris Gustin, Vessel, 2000)

Thirty-five established, mid-career and emerging New England artists were selected for the show, which is among the first to examine the potters from this region. Gerry Williams, master potter, founding editor of Studio Potter magazine, and New Hampshire's first Artist Laureate, is the consulting curator for this exhibition.

Creations in Clay features a variety of approaches and techniques. Some of the works, such as those by Mark Shapiro and Karen Karnes, are distinctive variations on traditional forms like teapots and vessels. Other artists, like Chris Gustin, Malcolm Wright, and Ray Chen, use clay to create abstract, sculptural works. Some of these works' visual impact comes from their large size, and this exhibition features at least two ceramics installations. "I want my work to provoke image to the viewer, to suggest something that is just on the other side of consciousness," says Chris Gustin.

Other ceramic artists depart from traditional pottery by using organic and natural forms. These predominate in the work of Paul Heroux, Nermin Kura and Al Jaeger. Jaeger, for example, attributes his inspiration and his affinity for unglazed pieces to the New Hampshire landscape, including his own garden. Still other artists, such as Abby Huntoon, Jeanée Redmond and Mary Lou Alberetti, incorporate cultural and historical elements into their work. Alberetti's works are noted for their evocations of ancient structures, and reflect the architecture of Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, where she has lived, taught and studied.

In New Hampshire, ceramics as an art form was boosted by the formation of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen in 1932, when major artists like Edwin and Mary Scheier and Vivika and Otto Heino came to the state to work as studio potters. The Currier's commitment to the field of ceramics has grown out of its 60-year relationship with the Scheiers, and the museum has expanded this legacy by continuing to collect and exhibit important ceramic art.


Artists in the Show

From Connecticut: Mary Lou Alberetti of New Fairfield; Hayne Bayless of Ivoryton; Elizabeth MacDonald of Bridgewater; Stephen Rodriguez of New Haven; and Lisa Wolkow of Madison. From Maine: Ray Chen of Portland; Lynn Duryea of Deer Isle; Paul Heroux of New Gloucester; and Abby Huntoon and Sharon Townshend of South Portland. From Massachusetts: Mary Barringer of Shelburne Falls; Angela Fina of Amherst; Chris Gustin of South Dartmouth; Thomas Hoadley of Lanesborough;, H. Gen Kozuru of Topsfield; James Lawton of Dartmouth; Warren Mather of Weston; Jeanée Redmond of Cambridge; Nancy Selvage of Weston; and Mark Shapiro of Worthington. From New Hampshire: Jeff Brown of Northwood, Donald Campbell and Jon Keenan of Elkins; Al Jaeger of Deerfield; Jane Kaufmann of Durham; and Eric O'Leary of Meriden. From Rhode Island: Christina Bertoni of Pascoag; Harriet Brisson of South Kingstown; Nermin Kura of Providence; Jay Lacouture of Carolina; and Nick Sevigney of Newport. From Vermont: Robert Compton of Bristol; Karen Karnes of Morgan; Ken Pick of Putney; and Malcolm Wright of Marlboro. (right: Paul Heroux, Vessel, 2002)


Gallery Talks, A Demonstration, and More

The Currier has planned a variety of special events in conjunction with Creations in Clay. Every Saturday in July and August, the museum will show the film Four Hands One Heart at 2:00pm in the auditorium. This award-winning film documents the lives of Ed and Mary Scheier, leaders of the American studio pottery movement.

On Sunday, July 11, the Currier invites all visitors to "Meet the Master Potters" for a demonstration. From 1:30 to 3:30pm, the museum court becomes the studio of Jon Keenan and Al Jaeger, who will share their views on the creative process, materials and techniques.

Two gallery talks are scheduled in August. On Sunday, August 1, beginning at 2:00pm, consulting curator and master potter Gerry Williams shares his insight into featured artists and their techniques. On Thursday, August 19, at 6:00pm, the Currier's associate curator Kurt Sundstrom offers a personal perspective on collecting contemporary ceramics in an evening gallery talk entitled, "The Collector's Eye: Contemporary New England Ceramics." A wine and cheese reception precedes the talk at 5:30pm.


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Copyright 2003, 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.