National Biennial Ceramics Invitational

Tactile Poetry

February 22 through April 2, 2008

  • Curated by Lisa Orr
  • Reception: Thursday, March 6, 6-8 p.m., with Gallery Talk by Lisa Orr, at 7 p.m., gallery lounge
  • Music by The Valentine All-Stars 

Explore the compelling potency of the handmade functional ceramic object and its important role in contemporary ceramics during “State of the Art 2008” National Biennial Ceramics Invitational: Tactile Poetry, which opens Friday, February 22 and runs through April 2 at the Parkland Art Gallery.

Lisa Orr, curator of this 11th biennial exhibition, has been a professional potter for over 20 years and is a practicing artist in Texas. The emphasis of the work included in the exhibit is “Tactile Poetry.” Inviting 16 artists to participate, she states, “For this show, I selected artists whose pottery pieces have created a distinctive intersection of the artistic and the utilitarian.” She calls pottery “a unique art form because of the two simultaneous ways it relates to the human body. One, it assumes meaningful gestural form like sculpture or dance, and two, because of the way it feels when handled. It is this second quality I would like to bring into particular focus in this exhibition: Touch. How potters account for how the way a pot gives weight, texture, etc. to a hand, finger, arm, or mouth. The interaction triggers the attention of a different part of the brain.”

The invited artists are a combination of studio artists and faculty from around the country and are dedicated to the coupling of function and artistry. Participating artists include Bandana Pottery (Michael Hunt and Naomi Dalglish), Victoria Christen, Josh Copus, Bruce Dehnert, Josh DeWeese, Kowkie Durst, Sanam Emami, Willem Gebben, Jim Koudelka, Andrew Martin, Frank Martin, George McCauley, Lorna Meaden, Alleghany Meadows, Matthew Metz, and Georgette Ore. A beautiful and informative catalogue for the exhibition will also be available for sale through the Parkland Art Gallery. The catalogue contains a biography, artist statement, and images of artwork by each of the artists.

In addition to the Curator’s Talk during the reception, Orr will speak about her own artwork on Wednesday, March 5 at 6 p.m. in the ceramics studio, room S119. Orr’s artworks for the table often refer to traditional porcelain or dinner whitewares, but with softer forms inspired by the playful and abundant qualities of Mexican earthenware. She invented her own production process after studying clay mold fragments in antiquated factories and museums. After forming pieces in molds, on the wheel, or both, she finishes with stamps, slips, sprigs and multihued glazes. The lecture should be insightful to both artists and the general public.
Don Pilcher will speak about the work of Georgette Ore at 12 noon on Wednesday, March 26 in the Gallery. Pilcher is a studio potter and author. He earned a BFA at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1964 and an MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1966. He is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he taught from 1966-99. In a quote from an article featured in Ceramics Today he writes about Georgette Ore, a strong inspiration in his work. “As to a life spent in the art pottery business, she thinks that it is wonderful, but more complex and demanding than most people recognize. ‘After all’, she says, ‘you can’t really tell the difference between the theory of the post-modern narrative and a good practical joke. Maybe there is no difference. It’s just too ironic.’”