‘Soft’: SJU Gallery Exhibits Four Ceramic Artists

Work of national conference participants highlights beauty of the domestic

Thursday, February 4, 2010

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 4, 2010) – An exhibition of sensuously formed ceramic pots crafted by four ceramists – “Soft” – will be shown at Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) Gallery, Feb. 22- April 3. A reception for the artists will be held Thursday, April 1, 6-8 p.m.

The exhibit is part of the 44th annual National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference, which will be held throughout Philadelphia, March 31-April 3. Titled “Independence” in honor of the host city, it features 95 exhibitions. The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, Pa., is serving as the onsite liaison and organizing body of the juried exhibitions program. For a complete list of programmed exhibitions, visit http://www.theclaystudio.org/events/nceca/exhibitions.php.

Saint Joseph’s joins many area schools, universities, museums, galleries and non-profit and alternative spaces in hosting exhibitions. The work celebrates the diversity of clay, focusing on functional objects and tableware, sculpture, installation and performance.

The artists exhibited at Saint Joseph’s University Gallery – Birdie Boone, Hiroe Hanazono, Ingrid Bathe and Gwendolyn Yoppolo – have crafted pieces emphasizing soft forms and surfaces that guide viewers past the purely utilitarian purpose clay pots traditionally serve.

Jeanne Bracy, associate gallery director, says the work is cohesive and fits the setting. “Four artists have created one fluid show of utilitarian pieces that embrace the necessity and enjoyment of nourishment and the domestic memories that are created in the process,” says Bracy.  “The visual remnants of the old house the gallery occupies complement this exhibition of 'domestic intimacy.'"

Boone, who is also curator of the exhibit, says the pieces highlight the importance of daily rituals and the emotions attached to these acts. “My functional pots are forms that convey the significance of what I call domestic intimacy and recognize the impact domestic actions have on our identities and the quality of our lives,” says Boone.

Hanazono uses simple lines and muted tones in her work, creating pieces that fit their traditional roles while provoking mindfulness from the user. “The work I make is a pedestal for food. My intention is to highlight the act of eating as a vital component of everyday life, enriching our appreciation of the food and the ambiance of the space,” says Hanazono.

In her work, Bathe also challenges viewers to be more aware. “By making objects out of a fragile and precious material –porcelain – I expect the delicate nature of the work to provoke a heightened awareness and sensitivity on the part of the viewer,” she says.

Yoppolo not only speaks through her forms, but also through the voids in her vessels. The emptiness in her bowls serves as more than just a receptacle for food. They are meant to call to mind the voids in everyday domestic life, such as “the airy absorbency of a cotton ball; the silence between words; the sleep between days,” she says.

The Saint Joseph's University Gallery is located in Boland Hall on Lapsley Lane, off of City Avenue, between 54th Street & Cardinal Avenue in Lower Merion. A campus map may be viewed at http://www.sju.edu/about/campusmap/.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Hours will be extended to 8 p.m. Mon., March 29 – Thurs. April 1. The gallery will be closed Fri., April 2. The final day of the exhibit, Sat., April 3, the gallery will be open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, call 610-660-1840, or visit http://www.sju.edu/gallery.

Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240, patricia.allen@sju.edu

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