Expatriate Ceramics

Mar 9 to Apr 22

Curated by Ursula Hargens, this exhibition will explore how place informs an artist’s body of work and highlights five artists—four Americans and one Canadian—who spent time in residence at influential ceramic centers around the world, or lived abroad for a significant time. Some of these artists launched their careers with this singular experience; others helped to build an institution’s notoriety and create opportunities for the next generation of makers; still others were part of a long lineage of experiential making in places steeped with history and making. The exhibition will showcase work created before, during, and after their experiences, demonstrating the impact of location on materials, process, culture, and concepts.

Each location provides unique opportunities for innovation and reflection. They include: Jingdezhen, China, a city that has been the epicenter of porcelain production for the past 1000 years; c.r.e.t.a. Rome, a residency program with a backdrop of Anguillara Sabazia, a Medieval town on Lake Bracciano, Italy; the Leach Pottery in St. Ives, England, founded in 1920 by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, and hailed as the birthplace of British studio pottery; Kohler Factory, a unique American residency program in the Midwest that draws artists from across the globe and affords them access to industrial processes. Work is loaded into huge kilns alongside commodes and bathtubs; and the International Ceramics Studio in Kecskemét, Hungary, a country with a history of exquisite porcelain manufacturing.

Guest artists include Derek Au, Rebecca Harvey, Jeff Oestreich, Amelié Proulx, and George Timock, with select works by two of Timock’s former students, Emily Connell and Maura Wright.

Derek Au’s current body of work springs from a renewed focus on traditional Chinese ceramic materials and techniques, including slips, brushwork, and carving. With respect for centuries-old processes, such as slip decoration, he challenges the technique to be more and creates the vessel form of an artwork by painting with slip. During his residency in Jingdezhen, China, which began in 2008, he utilized the results of his research into process and the collection of antique wares to develop an open source ceramic recipes website. Au completed his residency in China at the end of 2017 and will be a McKnight Artist Resident at Northern Clay Center from January – March, 2018.

Rebecca Harvey incorporates architectural details into her forms after launching from a study of 18th century Creamware, Japanese ceramics, and 1920’s Enamelware. She draws from “the strong but simple sense of form in these traditions” to create functional wares. Harvey received her BFA from University of the Arts, Pennsylvania, and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her international residencies include Germany, Sweden, China, and Iceland.

Jeff Oestreich is well known for his functional, stoneware, wheel-thrown, and altered pots. The minimally glazed work is fired in a soda kiln at his residence and studio near Taylors Falls, Minnesota, and evokes Art Deco themes and often incorporates jewel-like sprigs born of small mementos from friends. He received his BA from Bemidji State University, Minnesota (1969), and studied further at the University of Minnesota, as well as apprenticed at the Leach Pottery, St. Ives, England, with Bernard Leach.

Amélie Proulx explores the very properties of clay and challenges the limitations of the medium in her work. While soft, mutable clay becomes static and permanent when fired, Proulx delves into the idea that the object can slip back into a soft state through technology. She creates sculpture that represents this “slippage” in both language and nature. She received her BFA at Concordia University, Montreal (2006), and her MFA at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (2010). She has completed residencies in the US, Denmark, The Netherlands, Quebec, and Belgium, to name a few.

George Timock’s current work is inspired by his research and time in Hungary. Hungarian porcelain, with its purity and clarity, provides the canvas for examination of the influence of Eastern European architecture and culture. Opulence and decay receive equal consideration in his deeply layered and textured vessels. Timock earned his BFA (1968) and MFA (1971) at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan. He spent the summers of 2008 – 2015 at an international residency in Hungary. Timock taught for 43 years at Kansas City Art Institute; he retired in 2015.

Emily Connell’s work is rooted in her experience as a child in Catholic schools. She explores the interaction between her own body and the spiritual relevance of ritual practice. Her process happens in conscientious stages to create a permanent ceramic object out of reference books such as bibles or encyclopedias, slip, and plaster. Connell earned her BFA at Kansas City Art Institute (2012) after completing her Fine Arts Diploma at SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, SC. (2008). International residency programs include those in Hungary and Italy.

Maura Wright explores the significance and cultural relevance of adornment, including clothing and jewelry, and the evidence of stature or limitation in society that those items represent. She uses human forms in her sculptural work and incorporates her memories as well as examines “common perceptions of cultural norms”. Wright earned her BFA at Kansas City Art Institute (2013) and is currently pursuing her MFA at New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. International residency programs include travels to Hungary and Denmark.

Related Activities

These events are free and open to the public. Registration is much appreciated, as seating is limited.

X19: Guest Artist Panel Discussion with Derek Au, Jeff Oestreich, and George Timock
Thursday, March 8, 2018, at 6 pm in NCC’s library.

X20: Guest Artist Conversation and Demonstration with Derek Au and George Timock
Saturday, March 10 from 10 am - 2:30 pm

Join Au and Timock for an inside look at their making practices—from studio inspiration to technologies employed—this half-day intensive will include conversation, images, and demonstrations. We’ll take a short break for lunch (participants may bring their own or eat at a variety of restaurants in the Seward neighborhood).

Derek Au will also deliver an overview of his career as part of his McKnight Artist Residency on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at 6 pm in NCC’s library.