CAC Featured Artist: Dustin Yager
Dustin Yager is Clay Art Center’s Featured Artist in The Shop at CAC and on our website. His work will be available for purchase during the US exhibition, July 21st– September 15th.
Yager is originally from Wyoming, but currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to coming to New York, he worked at art centers in Chicago and Minneapolis. Yager holds a BA from Carleton College and a Master of Arts degree in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. In Brooklyn, he continues to teach and work on his Ceramics and Theory line of pottery.
Yager has been working with clay since 2004, and working exclusively with porcelain since 2007. Unlike some artists, he isn’t emotionally driven to the materials. He uses porcelain as an entry point to communicate stories and identities. “I can't say I ever “fell in love with clay" and I don't usually like to talk about clay in these emotional terms without thinking of the technical knowledge, craft skills, business and organizational tasks, safety procedures, and so on that enable us to exist as artists and organizations,” states Yager. “Sometimes I will have a little moment when I think about the therapeutic side of clay practice, or see clay do some kind of intrapersonal or emotional work with my students, but it isn't what drives me to make work.”
Yager works exclusively with porcelain, and with it he makes vessels and occasionally installations. His line, Ceramics and Theory, is about creating “unexpected objects that are empowering, flirtatious, and subversive.” His interest in creating work lies more so in being able to evoke reactions, feelings, and reflections from the viewer, with feelings ranging from frustration to camaraderie. Yager’s more conceptual pieces use imagery and drawings from pop culture sources to address current issues in a person and stream of consciousness way. His favorite pieces are his series of chalices. “They’re risky and dangerous to make, but feel the most balanced of anything to use. They're very bold to carry around and I encourage people to use them on a daily basis,” states Yager.
When asked how his work fits in with the ceramic world today, Yager says that “Parts of the "ceramic world" are coming to realize that there is significant overlap with a more expansive art world, and with the worlds of interior design, decoration, or commerce. Of course, some ceramics artists have always had those spheres as parts of their practice... I find it most useful to not think about these worlds when making work - it can find an audience and conversation after.” His background and education has been very pottery-centric and traditional, so it can be difficult for him to think of his work in a broader context.
“CAC is holdin' it down for Studio Pottery in the Hudson Valley,” he states. “They have such an amazing history of supporting clay artists in New York and beyond!” Yager’s work is currently for sale in The Shop at CAC and available on our website.