An old world art form takes on a new shape as 16 artists collaborate to present an array of hand-crafted designs in the exhibit “2003 degrees Fahrenheit” at the GCC art gallery.
“The gallery (show) represents a piece of ceramic sculpture history in Western culture,” said Annabelle Aylmer, GCC art instructor and gallery director. The group show focuses on the specific medium of clay to illustrate a timeline in art history.
The idea of multi-generations of artists working in clay was the thesis for the exhibit, which was a collaboration between curator Patricia Ferber and her mentors, colleagues and friends.
“This show has a family atmosphere,” Ferber said. “I admire these people and their work; there are three generations interconnected in the historical helix of ceramics.”
All the artists in the gallery have either worked with or have been taught by each other. The art represented here is truly a combination of talent and instruction, which have helped to create very unique pieces.
The show is ” a fabulous and thrilling experience,” said Aylmer. “It is a collection of the founders of clay art, transforming traditional ideas into the contemporary pieces you see here.”
While the artists are not all traditional in the sense of style, they certainly showcase a variety of art.
A giant red shoe greets the visitor of the gallery with a message, ” There is no place like home.” Ferber’s largest piece — she not only curated the show, but also contributed — is reminiscent of Dorothy’s ruby slippers in “The Wizard of Oz.”
The shoe, which was sculpted using a hand-saw, has always held a special place in Patricia’s heart. They are her “main thing.” Her passion is making shoe art.
This piece, titled “Urban Goddess,” is the largest piece she has ever made and the last of her shoe collection.
The piece seems to fit just right into the show, as she began to work in the medium since high school, allowing her work and vision to expand through time.
Another artist, Joe Soldate, expresses his art through a vision that is full of fire. “Aura” is a sculpture made from stoneware, which is a high-fire clay. It is a hand with flames bursting out of the fingertips.
Soldate believes that “in art choosing the vision is what it is all about and, if you catch it, what a rush!”
His piece has managed to capture this vision as the sculpture represents the aura left behind from human contact.
“All things have an aura and even if they die their energy remains; this was the inspiration for my piece,” Soldate said.
While “Aura’s” title is strong and bold, artist Karen Sullivan chooses not to title her pieces. The absence of names helps the spectators create their own label and does not limit the bounds of their imagination.
Her specialties include working with fine porcelain, as well as elemental wood-fired pieces.
Sullivan’s imagination is the chief inspiration for her untitled piece.
The piece is a square and resembles an old jailhouse window. The piece is actually about human prosperity and the ability of the will. With opportunity and such little opposition it is easy to reach out of the box and solve any problems. ” It represents the opportunity to become free,” Sullivan said.
A group of three artists, from Otis Art Institute, Peter Voulkos, Malcolm “Mac” McClain and Paul Soldner, were responsible for the huge impact in the evolution of modern clay art.
The late Voulkos has been referred to as the godfather of firing contemporary clay pieces. “He is the original.” said Ferber.
Ferber’s artist statement included a quote that read, “Think of it Ferb…life started with just a little ball of clay.” That little ball of clay evolved into the art that is present in this gallery today.
This exhibit is the first of its kind for the art gallery, which is located on the second floor of the Library Building. The GCC gallery will present “2003 Degrees Fahrenheit” until Oct. 17.
The gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday.