Magdolene Dykstra

Magdolene Dykstra is a first generation Egyptian-Canadian. After studying both biology and visual arts in undergraduate studies, she received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Magdolene has participated in residencies at the Medalta Historic Clay District (Medicine Hat, Alberta) and the Watershed Center for Arts and Crafts (Newcastle, Maine). Magdolene has been awarded several grants from the Ontario Arts Council, including Project Grants and Exhibition Assistance Grants. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and is included in collections around the world. She lives in the Niagara region of Ontario where she is a passionate artist-educator, teaching at secondary and post-secondary levels.

http://magdolenedykstra.com/

A desire to understand my place in the universe drives my work. Using sculpture, installation, and drawing, my work meditates on the unfathomable multiplicity of humanity. My compositions are inspired by microbiology, finding lineage in the Romantic artists of the 19th century who used their paintings to evoke the sublime by reminding the viewer of her diminutive status in relation to grand landscapes. In contrast to macro landscapes, I site the sublime in microbial terrain. In a time of environmental endangerment, my aesthetic of cellular accumulation references the vast numbers of the human race, swarming beyond what is sustainable. I compose my work using primarily unfired clay, imparting these roiling masses with precarity to reflect on the fragility of our collective existence.

My sculpted paintings merge my interest in the foreign terrain of microbiology with an examination of what Barnett Newman called the “abstract sublime”. These works reference Abstract Expressionism in its aim to induce a strong emotional response with their compositions of unfamiliar growth. Within these works, each individual is absurdly insignificant except for its interconnectedness to everything around them. Gathered en masse, these lifeforms overwhelm the structure upon which they grow. Drawing on the ephemeral works of land artist Richard Long, my Interventions contextualize the microbial forms in the landscape. Despite the accumulating number of cells in each Intervention, they cannot withstand the elements, ultimately returning to the earth.

Just as prehistoric artists recorded their presence using pigments of the earth, I use clay to explore my relationship to the earth and the universe. Sculpture, installation, and drawing allow me to make the unseen tangible. These landscapes, both simple and complex, familiar and unfamiliar, reflect on the vast network of multiplicity that operates just beneath the surface. Using clay connects me to rituals and cultures throughout human history. I am one of many makers throughout human history who uses this material to explore my link to the rest of the universe. Instead of relying on the ability of fired clay to withstand time, I use raw clay in order to embrace ephemerality, imparting these ominous masses with precarity. Impermanence enhances preciousness. The things that don’t last demand more careful attention.


Arthur Gonzalez

Arthur Gonzalez is an internationally exhibiting artist with over fifty one-person shows in the last forty years, including eight in Manhattan, New York. He has received many awards including the Virginia Groot Foundation twice and is an unprecedented four-time recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship within a ten-year period. He is also in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art in Gifu, Japan, the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, the Oakland Museum of California and also the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. He is a tenured Professor at the California College of the Arts (formerly CCAC). Gonzalez has been an artist-in-residence in many places including University of Georgia, Athens, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Penland School of Craft, North Carolina, University of Akron in Ohio, Tainan National University in Taiwan, Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, Washington, and the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana.

http://arthurgonzalez.com/

I am a symbolist. The content of the work that I make comes from a symbolist mentality. In respect to the oldest usage of art, the work poses questions regarding the unknowns of day-to-day life. All of my work has the specific intent of conveying a personal complexity that challenges the viewer by walking into a kind of mystery through the appearance of a narrative. However, instead of narrative, per se, the subjects are more like symbols-in-action, presenting a situation that, although alludes to a narrative, is more like activated metaphors.

The current series that I am working on is called “The Fence in the Hole”. This is a series of work where I am investigating the usage of flat planes of organic shapes that co-exist with the figure. The attempt is to marry the two forms to create new compositions. The quest is to show different examples of this devise and how the flat plane becomes a stand-in for missing objects. With each piece, the dynamics between subjects and plane are different. This is a standard problem that I pose to the work: given a set of criteria, how many different answers can I discover?

Every piece that I make is unique in terms of how it begins. In the case of “The Space between the Shadow and the Floor”, the piece began with the title itself. What is in a title? Originally, this title was more like a metaphysical phrase. By itself, this title can stand alone as a line of conceptual text. I wanted to explain a space that does not really exist in nature, the imagined idea that if a shadow and the floor are actually sandwiching an invisible space that is imagined but cannot be found, then the resulting belief can be an idiom for

“faith”. Then again, the title could refer to the physical sculpture itself and the negative space between the bottom of the shadow form and the floor below.

On the other hand, the basic pose in “Broken Magic” is reminiscent of nineteenth century genre painting of the curious little girl who holds up a bug. The pose is a visual metaphor for curiosity and discovery as she contemplates an inner ear, my personal symbol for balance. The history of myth is the history of understanding reality through story and representations. Myth is a tool for the clarification of life, as is a periscope for the skies.

Adam Chau

Adam Chau is currently the Exhibitions Manager at Clay Art Center. A graduate of the Industrial Design program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his studio practice looks at hybridizing digital technology with traditional craft practices. He has published his research in Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics Art and Perception, Ceramics Technical, and Studio Potter.

http://adamchau.com/

As a biracial Asian American I have always been interested in my Asian heritage, but feel trepidation in claiming it and participating authentically in cultural acts and events because of my Caucasian blood and American upbringing. To investigate my heritage and internalized questions of birthright into traditional crafts, I have de-pixelized images of Qing dynasty vessels - essentially obliterating objects that are unquestionably Chinese and of the highest quality. Obscuring these images question what percentage of lineage must one be in order to use cultural symbols. It is a statement of how I am quite often seen in the world: not quite 100%.

Christina Erives

My work has been informed by my Mexican heritage and family traditions. My interest in creating these objects arises from my fear of these processes being lost and forgotten. Through the use of various objects I hope to render a narrative that seeks to embrace and celebrate these rituals of a new generation. I enjoy seeing these objects evolve through the use of clay just as a story of an event can change over time in the ways of telling it. Ceramics as a material has permanence; it is one of the ways we were able to learn about ancient cultures. There is beauty in these traditions and my aim is to make a mark in my time that will be preserved in the history of ceramic objects.

http://www.eriveschristina.com/

I think what has stood out to me most since entering the field of ceramics is the community of people it seems to always attract. Clay has the power to connect people from all over the world and as a material offers us so much malleability giving us the opportunity to share our individual stories in such a beautiful way as it takes on an endless possibility of color shape and form. Ceramics as material has permanence , it is one of the ways we were able to learn about ancient cultures. There is so much beauty in these traditions and my aim has been to make a mark of my time that will be preserved in the history of ceramic objects

COURTNEY M. LEONARD

Courtney M. Leonard (Shinnecock) is an artist and filmmaker, who has contributed to the Offshore Art movement. Leonard's current work embodies the multiple definitions of “breach”, an exploration and documentation of historical ties to water, whale and material sustainability. In collaboration with national and international museums, U.S. embassies, cultural institutions, and Indigenous communities in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand, Leonard's practice investigates narratives of cultural viability as a reflection of environmental record. Leonard holds an MFA in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from the College of Ceramics at Alfred University, with additional degrees from The Sheridan Center For Teaching and Learning at Brown University, and the Institute of American Indian Arts, with a concentration in Museum Studies and 3D Design.

www.courtneymleonard.com

“Breach" is an exploration of historical ties to water and whale, imposed law, and a current relationship of material sustainability. Navigation lies within visual translation, acceptance, and pursuit of process. Charting exists as a logging of record: documentation and mapping of each point where the surface breaks.

As a visual acknowledgement, my work examines the evolution of language, image, and culture through video, audio, and tangible objects. Each component, a resonating moment, documenting both social and environmental issues acknowledged through the cartography of mixed media.

Conceptual breakdown begins by choosing one English word. To many post-colonial generations, English is a language marked by colonization, imperialism, and foreign ideologies. We strengthen the dissemination of our words through an emphasis of both the tongue and the octave. The choice of medium and material is just as imperative in connecting concept, content, and signifier.

Language can be fluid if we allow each element an existence beyond a single predetermined definition; to have an open dialogue that shifts translational comfort and interpretation. By visually mapping this exploration, my work exists to question our relationship to cultural landscape and its sustainable continuity. Each title acting as a segue to an open conversation...