Everson Museum exhibit highlights cultural stories with ceramics

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Everson Museum of Art’s new “Beyond the Blue” exhibit shines a light on audiences who may have missed visiting art exhibits during the pandemic. The exhibit is filled with ceramic pieces that burst with color. The artists in the exhibition used ceramic designs to tell cultural stories that span different eras.

In collaboration with Art Macau 2021, an international arts and culture event, “Beyond the Blue” is accessible digitally and in person until November 21. The digital exhibition allows visitors to see 3D presentations of the ceramic pieces with descriptions, information about the artist and explore the dimensions of the meaning of the works. Garth Johnson, curator of ceramics at Everson, said the digital format will give anyone in the world access to these unique pieces.

“Technology makes virtual connection possible, but it’s really the language of ceramics and the language of art that gives us lasting connection,” Johnson said.

Dorothy Hafner, an artist participating in the exhibition, is known for her creations of glass sculptures, functional objects and architectural installations. The use of glaze in his cast porcelain ceramics lends Hafner’s works functionality, said Bruce Pepich, executive director and curator of collections at the Racine Art Museum in Racine, Wisconsin.

Hafner’s work has “an exuberant use of color and design, suggesting everything from blinds to candy,” Pepich said.

Hafner was inspired by the pattern painting movement, which placed a heavy emphasis on vibrant colors and patterns that covered a full canvas. Pepich spoke of this comparison to the pattern painting movement in how Hafner used shapes, colors, and patterns to give his work a sense of joy.

Although the exhibition features ceramic works only, the featured artists also explored connections with the rest of the art world, including the fashion industry. Brian Rochefort, a Los Angeles-based mixed-media sculptor known for his glazed and layered ceramics, exhibits artwork in this Everson exhibit. His works have also been selected for a collaboration with the Parisian fashion brand Berluti and sold in Berluti boutiques in Macau.

The ceramic works in the exhibition aim to show the joy and color of life.
Katie Kiessling | Collaborating photographer

In the exhibition, each work of art represents humor, life and color. This exhibition is a representation of how ceramic art can resonate with many different audiences, which was especially important during the pandemic when people found themselves with little or no human contact, Johnson said.

The ceramic piece “Losing #422 (15 Vessels)” by Peter Pincus was a ceramic in the exhibition that shows a gradient of “rhythm and stability”, as it says in the description, juxtaposed with the vibrant colors and stripes of the rest of the work, creating a “colored noise”. This artwork has counterbalanced contrasting colors and patterns to show the complexity and variety that ceramics have to offer as a whole.

“Ceramics is a shared bond, a shared language that brings us together, even in a time when the coronavirus separates us,” Johnson said.


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