Out of the Ashes:

Notre Dame Ceramic Art Symposium

April 1 — June 18, 2017 | Warner Gallery

Photo credit: Brandon Schwartz

For one week in October 2016 fourteen ceramic artists worked together in the Notre Dame ceramic studios.  In addition to making their own signature ceramic artworks, the artists interacted and collaborated with each other.

Sometimes collaboration occurs in the making of objects or through the sharing of glazes.  In the case of wood firing, there is no escaping collaboration.  Philosophically, the artists collaborate with the kiln, wood, and the ancient process.  Practically, they collaborate by putting their artworks within another artist’s kiln and by allowing others to fire their work.  Whether the artist wishes to acknowledge it or not, work realized through wood firing is never the product of one’s sole sensibility.

Photo credit: Brandon Schwartz

These artworks were fired within the Notre Dame anagama kiln, which is located at the Michigan studio of ND Professor of Art William Kremer.  In most situations, the preparation for a wood firing is more time consuming than the actual firing. This can require several days or weeks to cut, split, and prepare the wood for its use as fuel. The firing process lends itself to an amazing happening of sorts.  Aside from the tangible goals––accumulation of melting ash and temperatures reaching nearly 2400 degrees Fahrenheit––there is typically a rich range of creative interaction between the artists from firing strategies to aesthetic/conceptual discourse. The end result is a smattering of earthen tones and a ubiquitous patina over the work.

 Selected works created during the symposium and fired within the Notre Dame anagama kiln are the focus of this exhibition.

The fourteen participating artists are Bede Clarke; Keith Ekstam; Dale Huffman; Howard Koerth; Bill Kremer; Dick Lehman; Tony Marsh; Scott Meyer; Tom Meunick; Dan Molyneux; Lindsay Oesteritter; Ann-Charlotte Ohlsson; Dennis Sipiorski; and Zach Tate. The artists generously lent their artworks to this exhibition and all artworks are stoneware, except where noted on the object label.

 The symposium was made possible in part by support from the Henkels Lecture Fund, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame. The exhibition at the South Bend Museum of Art is an expanded installation of the work that was recently on view at the Snite Museum of Art, including additional works, documentation of the firing process, and educational materials.

 

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