Artists have long used their creations as powerful vehicles to confront society with major problems of the day, expanding from paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs to installations and electronic media over the last century. Social concern has also become an area of increasing interest in contemporary craft. Nationally traveling exhibition InCiteful Clay offers an unparalleled overview of an emergent movement in contemporary ceramics dedicated to social commentary.
The engaging exhibition, on view from April 4 through May 25 at the OSU Museum of Art, incorporates a broad range of work, including a selection of 26 ceramics from artists who have mustered an age-old medium to issue provocative critiques of current social and political inequities. The premise of the exhibition is organized around five themes: war and politics; the social and human condition; gender issues; environmental concerns; and popular and material culture. The artists have conveyed their messages in styles that are aggressive, violent, disturbing, irreverent, and at times, humorous, but ever passionate. They rely on figurative imagery, narrative content, and a range of expressive avenues. Featured artists in InCiteful Clay include Akio Takamori, Toby Buonagurio, Nuala Creed, Michelle Erickson, Anne Potter, Ehren Tool, Richard Shaw, and Paula Winokur.
Traditionally ceramics have served functional and decorative purposes and have been associated with positive experiences. Visitors to this exhibition will come away with a new appreciation for the expressive capabilities of clay media to convey substantive content and to deliver the powerful critiques more routinely seen in painting and sculpture.
InCiteful Clay is curated by Judith S. Schwartz, Ph.D., professor and director of craft media in the Department of Art and Art Professions at New York University. An opening reception, featuring a guest lecture from the curator, is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the OSU Museum of Art. The lecture will begin at 6 p.m.
The exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA), which sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 communities across the country every year. M-AAA is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information is available at www.maaa.org and www.eusa.org.