Sunday, September 17, 2017

BC to BC: A Survey of Contemporary Ceramics from Baja California to British Columbia

By Patricia Frischer

BC to BC: A Survey of Contemporary Ceramics from Baja California to British Columbia. is now at the San Diego Art Institute, is curated by N. American Souvenirs. I liked their website message, "We do the boring work so you don’t have to, and try to limit your experiences to what we hope you’ll enjoy as fun, recreational opportunities.
I have made a personal choice of just some of the works in the show. It is displayed really well and there is so much to check out so try to get there before it closes on Oct 20th. This exhibition has something for everyone and although the works have great content, they are also well crafted. This is the sort of balance it is nice to see at SDAI. Plus with the coffee shop and the smashing of cups and the live workshop, this space is enlivened. Top that off with some great art and it is a winner. 

Watch for local ceramic artists displayed in a pop up show including art by Irene de Watteville upstairs at the entrance. 

Many animals can knit by Irene de Wattevile

Irene de Watteville

The pottery making workshop led by renowned Mexican artist Daria Mariscal who showed you how to make pottery according to a more than 1000 year old Paipai tradition using clay Daria hand mines herself from her hometown of Santa Catarina, nestled in the Sierra de Juarez mountain range in Baja California. The clay is full of shimmering gold mica and when pit fired, the sides of your pots will burst with blue, black and silver markings


Some of the items in at the coffee station for sale by North American Souvenir

Maggie Boyd and Roy Caussy has made cups for free coffee from clay deposits found in Balboa Park. After the coffee is finished, the cup shapes will be destroyed and returned to the earth from which they came.

Smashed cups, dust to dust

Jeff Nebeker

Judy Chartrand

Morgan Peck

Clayton Bailey

Nancy Selvin

Karen Kobllitz

Ehren Tool

Jeff Irwin

Patti Warashina

Ben Jackel - surprisingly this one one of my favorite works. Ceramic pipes that looks like old iron water pipes, but in this position they seemed to galvanize the space and make you notice the sky light above.  I am actually a big fan of this space, including the dramatic staircase. 

Here is the statement by the curators of this exhibition: "Artists from the Paipai Native American Tribe in Santa Catarina, Baja California maintain the longest continuously operating pottery tradition from Baja California to British Columbia. A more than 1000 year old technique to mine, process, and sculpt clay has been passed down through the generations. Throughout the centuries, Paipai artists have innovated their functional pottery to meet the demands of neighboring tribes, colonists, and present day tourists.
This spirit of innovation has been imbibed by countless artists working with clay up and down the coast and came to a head at the middle part of the last century. The large variety and high quality of exciting artwork produced today can be squarely attributed to sculptor, Peter Voulkos (1924-2002). The voluminous and abstract clay sculptures he made in the 1950’s blurred the line between fine art and craft, inspiring his peers and generations to come that anything is possible with clay.
One of the first waves of artists to be inspired during this same time period by clay’s newfound potential and reinvent ceramics to their own pursuits was the wildly diverse school of Funk artists, of whom, Robert Arneson (1930-1992) was a central figure. Unlike the popular abstract and geometric work being made at the same time, Funk Art was often representational, humorous, and more approachable to the general public.
To innovate however, didn’t mean that artists needed to stray too far from traditional ceramics during this period of reinvention. An entirely different group of unrelated artists on the coast, who also got their start in the mid-20th century, were unfazed by clay’s designation as craft and continued making exquisite work regardless of its classification. This included the likes of Barbara Willis (1917-2011), Doyle Lane (1925-2002), Ralph Bacerra (1938-2008), Wayne Ngan (1937-), Dora de Larios (1933-), Salvador Magaña (1931-2016), and Edith Heath (1911-2005). Due to their refined ornamentation and exploration of new and historical forms, their talents helped further blur the line between fine art and craft with design.
The 34 artists you’ll see today span multiple generations and display a wide variety of ways to work with clay. Some follow in the footsteps of the artists we’ve discussed while others have sparked completely new conversations about the role of ceramics today."
N. American Souvenirs 

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