Ceramics on Display, Durango Herald, Oct. 16, 2007


Boots Brown’s pit-fired vessels “Star Lighting,” “Super Nova,” “Fire Cloud” and “Fire Runner” appear in the David Hunt Ceramic Invitational at the Fort Lewis College Art Gallery.

Lisa Pedolsky’s work is in the foreground, and extruded porcelain lamps by Jennifer Neff are in the background.

The David Hunt Ceramic Invitational at the Fort Lewis College Art Gallery is an annual exhibition and sale of work created by Fort Lewis College alumni and regional artists.

Annual? Do we really need to see the same work by the same artists every year?

Why should anyone make the effort to attend an exhibit that features the same beautiful, bulbous, pit-fired vessels of Boots Brown; the same polka-dotted, terra-cotta works of Lisa Pedolsky; the same majolica birds, fish and animals of Leon Arledge; and more of the ho hum, traditional, functional works that round out this exhibit?

Enough, already. Give us something new.

How many times can we feature the same artist, the same work, the same show over and over and over?

The Fort Lewis College Art Gallery is part of an educational system. Their mission is to not only show the work of local, regional and student artists, but to expose these students and the public to art being created around the world. Why isn’t that happening?

Pick up Ceramics Monthly, American Style, Sculpture or any of the many art publications available, and you will find phenomenal, unique, creative work being made in stoneware, terra cotta and porcelain.

This show is an invitational. Why aren’t ceramic artists from outside the region invited to show their work? Is there anything we can do to help ratchet up the level of art exhibited at the college gallery and the Durango Arts Center, where many of these artists are also regular, frequent exhibitors?

Peter Karner’s lovely wax resist, geometric glazed vessels are available regularly at the DAC Gift Shop. Judy Brey’s “Blue Boat” was just exhibited at the DAC within the last few months. Brey’s “Horse” and “No Place Else to Be” in the David Hunt Exhibit are intriguing for their narrative elements. “Accessorized Doves” is an interesting installation. I like the black hoods over the dove’s eyes, but the birds themselves are poorly crafted and the application of metallic gold beaks to cover the yellow glaze that didn’t quite turn out right, detracts from the work. Where is the pride in craftsmanship? Where is the attention to detail?

Jennifer Neff shows something a bit different in her extruded porcelain lamps with their matte aqua glazes. Too bad she didn’t put as much effort into getting the right lampshades for the work as she did in creating the lamps. These lamps need contemporary shades, not old-fashioned pleated shades picked up at a garage sale.

There are redeeming elements to this show. Scott K. Roberts “Tea Caddy” features an elegant hint of metallic glaze, as if dusted with micaceous powder. Cole Taylor and Trevor Dunn’s large wood fired vessels are elegantly licked by fire. I particularly liked Taylor’s almost figurative vessel with its pinched in middle. Lorna Meaden’s soda-fired porcelain works are all functional, yet feature architectural flourishes like spindles and ornate cornices. Her “Lidded Jar” and “Double Spouted Sauce Boat with Ladle” are perfectly elegant.

Teapots are also a hit in this exhibit. Meaden has a wood fired teapot with a spherical side handle that begs to be picked up and poured. This contrasts nicely with her elegant porcelain teapot and a white, lidded pitcher. Pedolsky’s dot pattern and black wire wrapped handle contrast nicely with her angular shaped pot. Trevor Dunn has an earthy wood fired teapot and Peter Karner’s has a spindled lid, the shape of which is echoed in his rich jewel toned glaze.

It all leaves me thirsty and longing for a richer brew.

artsjournalist@centurytel.net Leanne Goebel is a member of the International Art Critics Association.

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