Friday, March 04, 2016

Ceramics show a precursor to weekend of sculpture


Figure by Magda Gluszek
PANAMA CITY — The new art exhibit at Gulf Coast State College, “Raconteurs,” is a collection that bridges the visual and verbal worlds. Viewers are challenged to witness how narrative impacts the creation of physical objects.

The exhibit features work by internationally recognized artists Ben Carter, Carole Epp, Magda Gluszek and Jill Foote-Hutton. As contemporary makers with the wealth of history and materials at their disposal, each artist is actively engaged in mining their daily experience to generate narratives.

“Even in our most primitive state, we see a compulsion to record our history and call forth the future through visual narrative,” said Foote-Hutton. “Recording our history anchors us as individuals while also placing us within a tribe. The narrative of our journey makes us visible to ourselves. Fables and mythologies are catalysts, expanding our definitions of self and the world we populate.”

The exhibit will run through the weekend of April 15-17, when GCSC will host its second annual Ceramics Symposium featuring Carter, Epp, Gluszek and Foote-Hutton as presenters. The theme for this year is “Word and Object.”

“This is a great opportunity for attendees to learn from a diverse group of professional artists,” said Pavel G. Amromin, assistant professor and gallery director in the Division of Visual and Performing Arts at GCSC. “Together, they will share the ways story impacts and informs their creative process, studio output and their efforts to capture the contemporary story of American Ceramics.”

Art by Carole Epp
The symposium will be in GCSC’s Amelia Tapper Center, 5230 West U.S. 98, Panama City, and will consist of interactive workshops, lectures, panel topic discussions and demonstrations.

During the artist demos, the audience will see a variety of construction methods while panelists cover topics including narrative as a leaping-off point for form and decoration; the power of the frozen moment in sculpture; the vessel as a format for stories in the round; and development of character iconography.


“I reference symbols of my native Virginian identity, such as the dogwood flower, white picket fence and whitewashed brick,” said Carter, who creates utilitarian wares that commemorate and continue family traditions. “These nostalgic decorative motifs are familiar and accessible, conveying the graciousness of Southern hospitality. Through the act of use, my forms serve a commemorative role, highlighting the cultural importance of communal dining on the family structure.”


Flask by Ben Carter
Epp’s work demonstrates celebration and query. Her frozen moment vignettes present “humanity through a subversion of our utopic projections of ourselves,” she said. Pairing religious icons, news headlines, pop culture and kitsch, she lures viewers into a mirror reflecting an uncomfortable reality. She shows how to “investigate the things that are wrong and appreciate the things that are really right.”

“Beyond the work in the exhibition, there would be a void without addressing the role of storyteller both Carole and Ben take on outside of their visual art practice,” Foote-Hutton said. “Since 2012, Ben has produced and hosted the podcast ‘Tales of a Red Clay Rambler,’ featuring interviews with artists and culture makers from around the world. Carole has hosted the blog ‘Musing About Mud’ since 2005, where she provides a platform to showcase contemporary ceramic activity.”

Gluszek employs the figure to examine a collective sense of self. Her work pushes the viewer away with uncomfortable stares and awkward postures, while simultaneously pulling the viewer in to her projected stories with a candied palette.


Symposium 2015
“The figures are experimenting with different modes of self-representation,” Gluszek said. “They alternate between appearing submissive and threatening. It is indistinguishable whether they make these alterations for a self-serving purpose or for the pleasure of the viewer.”

Foote-Hutton’s work is a contemporary exploration of the power of personal narratives and collective mythologies. She employs the concept of the Monster (or Other) to engage a conversation about the disparities of what we think and what we do, about the distance between two human beings, and the nature of lightness and darkness.

“Monsters embody empathy for our own human frailties,” Foote-Hutton said. “Their literary history makes them the perfect vehicle to coax new stories from hearts and imaginations.”
 
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  • ‘RACONTEURS’
  • Where: Amelia Center Main Gallery, Gulf Coast State College, 5230 West U.S. 98, Panama City
  • When: Opens March 7, runs through April 17; gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday
  • Admission: Free and open to the public
  • Details: GulfCoast.edu/arts
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