2015—InCiteful Clay

inciteful clay

Nuala Creed, Babes in Arms 1 and Babe Sleeping with Bomb Pillow, 2005, stoneware with stains, underglaze and glaze, 10 x 12 x 17 inches, courtesy the artist.

InCiteful Clay contains mature content and may not be suitable for all audiences.

The heart of this exhibition lies in its title and direct play on words, and intends to deepen your understanding of (insightful) and challenge your convictions (incite) about some of the biggest social issues of our time. For related events, visit LibraryNEWS.

Participating Artists

Jason Briggs | Toby Buonagurio | Linda Cordell | Adrianne Crane | Nuala Creed | Chad Curtis | Michelle Erickson | Verne Funk | Arthur Gonzalez | Sergei Isupov | Charles Krafft | JJ McCracken | Adelaide S. Paul | Denise Pelletier | Anne Drew Potter | Reynaldo Sanguino | Bonnie Seeman | Richard Shaw | Akio Takamori | Cheryl Tall | Tip Toland | Ehren Tool | Shalene Valenzuela | Patti Warashina | Maryann Webster | Paul Winokur

Shalene Valenzuela, Blending In: Purchasing Power II, 2012. “I incorporate imagery that addresses the theme of ‘trying to blend in’ regarding situations and attitudes determined by commercialism, popular culture, or so-called ‘gender-based’ roles”.

“InCiteful Clay offers an unparalleled overview of an emergent movement in contemporary ceramics dedicated to social commentary. Artists have long used their creations as powerful vehicles to confront society with major problems of the day, expanding from paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs to installations and electronic media over the last century. Social concern has also become an area of increasing interest in contemporary craft.

Incorporating a broad range of work, this selection of 27 ceramics looks at artists who have mustered an age-old medium to issue provocative critiques of current social and political inequities. The premise of this exhibition is organized around five themes: war and politics; the social and human condition; gender issues; environmental concerns; and popular and material culture. The artists have conveyed their messages in styles that are aggressive, violent, disturbing, irreverent, and at times, humorous, but ever passionate. They rely on figurative imagery, narrative content, and a range of expressive avenues, including caricature, parody, satire, obscenity, erotica, and the grotesque.

Charles W. Krafft, Spone™ Forgiveness Beauty Bar, 2002, Spone™ human bone china. “I came up with Forgiveness soap in Sarajevo in 1995. If one accepts the idea of forgiveness then it should cover any crime, including genocide.” Image courtesy of www.charleskrafft.com

Featured artists in the exhibition include Akio Takamori, Toby Buonagurio, Nuala Creed, Michelle Erickson, Anne Potter, Ehren Tool, Richard Shaw, and Paula Winokur. Among the specific topics they address are the social consequences of war, the impact of declining moral values on children, capital punishment, consumerism, and global warming.

Traditionally ceramics have served functional and decorative purposes and have been associated with positive experiences. Visitors to this exhibition will come away with a new appreciation for the expressive capabilities of clay media to convey substantive content and to deliver the powerful critiques more routinely seen in painting and sculpture. They will also discover the distinctive avenues of expression associated with ceramics, arising from ironic adaptations of traditional forms and functions and the cultural meanings ceramics have acquired over time.”

About the Curator

Image courtesy of www.judyschwartz.com

InCiteful Clay is curated by Judith S. Schwartz, Ph.D., an internationally recognized specialist in contemporary ceramics. A professor and director of craft media in the Department of Art and Art Professions at New York University, Schwartz recently published a groundbreaking study on this movement in ceramic art titled Confrontational Ceramics: The Artist as Social Critic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).