For Immediate Release
Nature/Culture Themes in Clay
WHERE: Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth
WHEN: June 5 – Nov 11, 2007
Panel Discussion and Opening Reception on
Tuesday, September 18, 6:00pm – 8:00pm \
Panelists: Gary Erickson, Holly Anderson Jorde,
Jim Klueg, Joellyn Rock and Peter Spooner
Guest-curated by Jim Klueg, Professor, UMD Art + Design, this exhibition presents ten ceramic artists from the U.S., Canada and England who combine narrative imagery with traditional ceramic forms, complementing the strengths of Tweed's ceramic collections.
Gary Erickson's Sacred Way - Dragon combines forms on its cone-like side reminiscent of fish scales or stylized clouds with a top swirl cloud motif similar to those in Asian art, both set off against a Chinese dragon image-a parade of style codes.
Throughout his career, Erickson's played a closer nature-abstraction game, as in his Rhythm In Blue. Bryan Hiveley's Crimson Swirl gives us brilliant scarlet organic forms that look like tropical flora-or, alternately, mutant Froot Loops-and question the point at which nature's exuberance knocks upon technology's threshold. With perhaps more restraint, Léopold Foulem's Famille Rose Flower Vase with Bouquet of Blue Irises, besides giving us a mini-lesson in the history of floral motif, reminds us that chintz patterns derive from gardens-nature artificed-heightened in intensity and concentrated in effect, anticipating Baudrillard's hyperreal by a few centuries. In I Want the Life I was Promised on TV, Scott Rench shows us a landscape of signs using a language of graphic image that puts him at the latter end of the nature/culture continuum, positing that we pay far more attention to our created than our natural environment. Paul Scott's Cumbrian Blue(s) Sellafield No: 9 is a plate in the rich transferware language of Wedgwood and Spode that takes a franker look at what culture's done to the current state of the English country landscape-if contemporary Wedgwood had any corporate nous, they'd have editioned one of Paul's designs rather than Robert Dawson's more housebroken After Willow. In recent years a number of contemporary designers and ceramists have been obviously taking notes from Paul's work; here you can appreciate the original.