Review: Ceramicists fired up at innovative show


FEET OF CLAY— (top) Brenda Glad presents her sculpture“Window to the Perplexed,” (r) Zaide Diaz’ “The Hippie Van,” (above) Julie Mosele Green’s “Three Feet.”
Photo by Karen Tome

Ceramics students made an unspoken but clear declaration at the fall Clay Club Art Exhibition, Southwestern College has entered the post-pot era.

Pottery was hard to find at the compelling, if inconsistent exhibit. Courage and creativity, though, were in abundance.
Brenda Glad’s conceptual piece “Window to the Perplexed” peers into a lost time in history.  She mined an ancient Mesoamerican ruin for inspiration for her piece in the shape of a women’s body. Her panorama featured a small hole in the women’s body that acts as a window showing small chairs, built-in rooms, knick-knacks, and a compass secured behind broken wooden bars. Although not the most aesthetically appealing work, the piece contained incredibly crafted details and was a testament to the artist’s skill.
“The Darkness Inside” by Leo is a cracked dark grey round work resembling an egg with a hole revealing a white mouse figurine hanging from the top.  Obscure and innovative, it left viewers questioning what darkness is. Color used in the piece was literal, but the big issue was either suicide or the mass slaughter of animals. Like good conceptual art, this piece can be interpreted in numerous ways causing viewers to think.

Julie Mosele Green’s “Three Feet” contorts the image of feet into an oddly intriguing work of art. Complex and unexpected, “Three Feet” is daring and memorable.

“Origins” by Myra Jurado was bizarre and did not fit with the rest of the innovative and professional pieces. It features female fallopian tubes connected to the labia’s outer and inner layers. While the concept of acknowledging our origins started off as a good idea, the end result was awkward and strange.

One of the more charming pieces in the exhibit was “Dreamer” by Wendy Ontiveros. Energetic and adorable clay characters wearing bug-like suits of a yellow caterpillar and black butterfly were beautifully designed. They have potential to be characters in a colorful children’s book. Reminiscent of “Alice in Wonderland” characters, the piece is delightful to look at.

Humorous “Monkey Games” by Patty Palenschat depicts two monkeys, one playfully holding the tail of the other, while the other is filling out a crossword puzzle with the words “games,” “apes” and “monkeys” connected.  Their startled expressions felt authentic as if we the audience truly caught these primates in a moment of sheer amusement. Clever, well crafted and original, the piece stands out.

Not all pieces were showstoppers. A teapot, mug, jar, pitcher and a tea set remained in the typical spectrum of clay pottery. Despite their clean finish and professional appearance, these pieces were overshadowed by the more innovative pieces.

Professor of Ceramics John Lewis has clearly challenged his students to reach for a higher level. SWC’s Clay Club raised the standard for college art shows to follow.


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