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Latest exhibit explores the craft of clay


April 05, 2016

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    In the world of Art, the media of "craft" are those most associated with utilitarian things. Glass, fibers, wood and, of course, clay touch our hands and bodies every day. But there’s a difference between something mass-produced and something unique, made with care by an artisan. This undefinable quality is on display this month at the Averitt Center in the work of six ceramics artists, who approach the clay subject from a variety of perspectives, crafting vessels, bowls and sculptures.
    Retired Georgia Southern University faculty Jane Pleak offers an overview of her works, from subtle jade-green vessels expressing delicate proportions to chunky bowls with bold decoration that seem to come from another age. Jason and Erin Hall of Alberta Pottery layer crunchy, organic glazes over altered, wheel-thrown forms, suggesting that their objects are at once modern and archeological. Some of their works may appear damaged, but never fear: They actually draw on Japanese ideas of wabi-­sabi, which is an aesthetic that respects the imperfect.
    Local artist Nia Rementales ventures further into the organic, exploiting clay's versatility to seem both hard and delicate simultaneously, crafting bowls that could be at home on a coral reef. For those of the tea party set, Lisa Bradley and Amy Roberson embrace the utilitarian in brightly hued porcelain and stoneware. The favored clay for such ware, porcelain is pure white and can be thin while being strong, and conforms to hand- and wheel-building equally as well. Bradley lays a stunning table, at home in Alice's Wonderland, full of color and polka dots, needing only a dozen or so cupcakes to complete the effect. Playful, but meticulous in craft, Bradley's forms are familiar while maintaining modern proportions. Roberson, a graduate of our own GSU ceramics department, presents a smart set of elegant tumblers, lidded vessels and mugs, in her own signature glazes.
    This invitational has something for the seasoned collector and the novice alike, and just might inspire you to enroll in one of the Averitt Center's ceramics classes and find your own way in clay!

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