With NCECA in full swing last week, there were countless exhibitions and receptions around the region. While I missed out on the Thursday set, I did try to make quite a few of the Friday ones. I had a huge list of places to stop by and check out, but it had been a busy day (which included meeting our Congressman!) so I only made it to seven exhibitions on Friday. A great number on any day, but my friend made it to I believe 24 over two days. Without further ado, these are a few of the ones that I made it to.
I knew that I wouldn’t be able to visit this space after work, but I swung by on my way down into Wakefield before. They had two exhibitions that celebrated the ceramic arts, Conanicut Clay and Both Artist & Mother.
I must have passed the Dirt Palace quite a few times driving through Olneyville and I never caught sight of it even when I WAS looking for it (numerous times). While I’m not sure who the artist was, their work in the window exhibition space pairs delicate forms with floral images and harsh words inscribed on much harsher forms.
Artist Jeannie Hulen drove her art (and her family!) out from Arkansas for NCECA and to exhibit her work at GRIN in Gibberish: Sapient Fool’s Gold. In the center of the gallery sat a tree atop a mirrored surface, surrounded by forms of line, color and fur. The tree just beckoned to be sat under, but I doubt with so many people there it would have been wise to attempt. I wish that it had been taller to better facilitate such acts of meditation, but I don’t know how it would have fit through the door if that were the case. All in all, I’m still mulling this one over, but the artist also has work at the Jamestown Arts Center (yes, it came in the same truck!).
Finishing up at Yellow Peril brought the night to an epic close with the work of two artists on display, Practice + Theory by Matt Wilt and Million Dollar Man from Jian (Jack) Lu. I was intrigued by Jack Lu’s ceramic figures that take on the forms of figures of pop culture (Edward Scissorhands, Bruce Lee…) and history (Hitler, Mao…), but the root of the work goes much deeper. It’s a commentary on the American dream and China’s role behind the scene of our post-consumer society.
Probably amongst the more unique uses of ceramics I have seen over the last few weeks, Matt Wilt’s work would seem very at home in a shop of oddities. You’re invited to set in motion very simple, yet complex machinations within the works and my traveling companion for the night said it reminded her of Joseph Cornell’s work (Thanks for the connection Mara!)
Post NCECA, I feel like I’ve learned so much more about an area of the arts that I knew very little of and through the flurry of exhibitions that this conference has brought my horizons have been completely broadened. I know that my mind won’t ever think of ceramics in the same way again and I hope that it had this same effect on others in my shoes.