SPOKANE, Wash. — A free public reception in February for the artists involved in the exhibition titled “Northwest Atmospheric Ceramics” at Gonzaga University’s Jundt Art Museum was canceled due to a snowstorm, and has been rescheduled. The artists’ reception will be held from 6-7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 24, followed by a free public panel presentation at 7:30 p.m. in the Jundt Auditorium. Seating is limited.
The Jundt Art Museum is showcasing clay pieces by regional ceramic artists who experiment with a variety of firing techniques. The exhibit, “Northwest Atmospheric Ceramics,” opened Jan. 21 and runs through April 2.
This invitational, curated by Gina Freuen, features work by 17 artists: Ruth Allan, Jenny Andersen, Lee Ayars, John Benn, Frank Boyden, Josh DeWeese, Gina Freuen, Terry Gieber, Robert Harrison, Sam Hoffman, Ron Linn, Ryan Mitchell, Mardis Nenno, Hiroshi Ogawa, Steve Sauer, Al Tennant, and Tara Wilson. It is sponsored in part by Quarry Tile Company.
Ruth Allan is a visual and ceramic artist whose unique sagger and raku fired work has been exhibited and collected around the world. A Washington state native, Allan teaches ceramics at Wenatchee Valley College and conducts specialty pottery workshops on her sagger firing methods. Jenny Andersen is a native of Seattle whose interest in ceramics started as a student at Cornish College of the Arts. Andersen works mostly in primitive firing techniques.
Lee Ayars is both a studio artist and ceramic art instructor at Spokane Falls Community College. Ayars is fascinated with the web of surface cracks that are the result of using the raku firing process and clear glazes. John Benn and his wife Colleen have been professional potters for 27 years and work out of a converted boat-building workshop in Puget Sound. Benn digs and uses local clays and fires using trees from his forest. Frank Boyden works in ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, and public art. He founded the “Sitka Center for Art and Ecology” in 1970 and the Margery Davis Boyden writing residency program in 1991. Boyden’s artistic practices reflect his lifelong interests in the environment and the biological sciences. He received degrees from Colorado College and Yale University.
Josh DeWeese is drawn to the beauty and mystery of high temperature ceramics and the element of chance that occurs in high-temperature firings. Gina Freuen, curator of Northwest Atmospheric Ceramics, has been a studio artist for more than 30 years. Since 1997 she has been an adjunct member of the art department faculty at Gonzaga University. Dramatic thunderstorms in Kansas and South Dakota tornadoes inspired Terry Gieber at a young age, and clay became his medium to express his interpretation of nature. Gieber is well known for his atmospheric firings and innovations with glazes and slips, and restoration. Robert Harrison does his primary work in large scale architectural sculptures. Harrison describes “space” as the primary component of his work.
Sam Hoffman’s passion for ceramics is motivated by his interest in mathematics, chemistry, and astronomy. He enjoys using the scientific method of inquiry when experimenting with materials and firings. Bob McIlhattan and Ron Linn built the first Bourry box train kiln in the Pacific Northwest, just outside Portland. Kilns are the focus in Linn’s studio.
Ryan Mitchell has been Artist-in-residence at the LH Project in Joseph, Ore., the Invited Artist at FuLe International Ceramic Art Museum, China, and adjunct professor at the University of Montana. His work has been shown nationally and internationally and is in collections in the United States and abroad. Mardis Nenno is an instructor of art at Spokane Falls Community College and has been an artist and educator for 25 years. Nenno says she is looking to find the right balance of control/no control in her firing techniques and loves the unexpected variety of marks and color shifts for which soda firing is known.
Hiroshi Ogawa started making pottery in 1959 at University of California-Santa Barbara. In 1969 he went to Japan to study Buddhism and pottery. Ogawa works from his studio in Elkton, Ore. Since 1997 Steve Sauer has managed “Santatsugama” (kiln of three dragons) that he built with Ken Lundemo in Seabeck, Wash. Known for his wood-fired ceramics, Sauer has shown throughout the Northwest. Al Tennant describes his ceramic work as an “amalgamation from a lifetime of observing nature and human form,” and says that the wood firing process promotes a sense of mystery through the surfaces achieved by heat, flame pattern, and ash.
Tara Wilson is a studio potter who lives in Montana. The rich surfaces of her vessels represent the natural world while the forms often relate to the figure.
Continuing in the Arcade Gallery until March 12 is “Chagall, Kollwitz, Miro, and Picasso.”
The museum’s exhibitions are free and open to the public from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon- 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Closed Sundays and school holidays. For more information, please contact Karen Kaiser, assistant curator for education, at (509) 313-6613 or via e-mail.