Incite Insight with Clay

Planning on visiting the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery between Wednesday, Jan. 28 and March 15? You might want to take a deep breath before entering. The exhibit inside, called InCiteful Clay, isn’t for everyone.

Michelle Erickson, Paradise Lost, 2008

Michelle Erickson, Paradise Lost, 2008, cast and hand-built porcelain with metallic and enamel underglaze and decal transfers, 18 x 24 x 6 inches, courtesy the artist.

InCiteful Clay features pieces by 26 national artists and all of them are ceramics (hence the name of the exhibit).

What is the point of such works? Zan Popp, Curator of Exhibitions at the Gallery, says: “The work in this exhibit brings contemporary social/societal issues to life, in clay. These artists are depicting their interpretation/emotional responses to these issues.”

Adrianne Crane, Artillery Field, 2005

Adrianne Crane, Artillery Field, 2005, slipcast and glazed ceramic, each flower, 10 x 10 x 10 inches, courtesy the artist.

Many of the pieces are metaphorical, which makes things interesting. Because the artist’s interpretation is not stated plainly, it is up to the viewer to examine the piece and try to see what the artist intended to say. Popp says, “It is an exhibit that will take you out of your comfort zone and by doing so, you are almost forced to see other interpretations then your own.”

Topeka, as a community, is about to gain a rare opportunity to examine cultural issues through the lens of art.

Kansas is often known as a flyover state, but this time the art is landing here — and with a bang. Just as a piece of clay can be molded and shaped by the things around it, so can the human mind. Be sure to see the exhibit before putting that clay in the kiln.

A program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance with the Kansas Arts Commission and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Please be advised the artwork on display may contain themes and imagery of an explicit nature, and may not be appropriate for all viewing audiences.

Zoe Brown is the Editorial Assistant intern at the library. She is also a senior at Washburn University, where she is pursuing degrees in Contemporary Journalism and Psychology.