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Juried by Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary

A sub-committee chose Lauren Skelly as the winner of TRISTATE OF MIND and was awarded a solo show in our gallery the Summer of 2016. Committee members were Glenn Adamson, Barry Harwood, David McFadden, and Jennifer Scanlan.

Participants include:
Jocelyn Armstrong, Westport CT
Ryan Blackwell - Brooklyn NY
Joel Brown - Hartsdale NY
Brooke Evans - Monroe NY
Elena Perez Guembe - Brooklyn NY
Roxanne Jackson - Ridgewood NY
Adam Knoche - New York NY
Tom Lent - Wappingers Falls NY
Kaitlyn Meeks - Stamford CT
Zachary Robinson - New York NY
Lauren Sandler - Rock Hill NY
Max Seinfeld - Danbury CT
Steven Sitrin - Martinsville NJ
Lauren Eve Skelly - East Meadow NY
Tamar Sobol - Scarsdale NY
Helena Starcevic - New York NY
Joan Zagrobelny - Newtown CT

Essay by Leslie Ferrin

For those of us who were raised in and around NY, we are forever imprinted with the idea that the center of the universe is located somewhere around Times Square and Grand Central Terminal.  While the exact epicenter changes with each decade, Manhattan is where the international, national and regional are joined in a frenzy of commerce and star making opportunity. For the last ten years the artworld ruled from Chelsea even luring the Whitney away from the Upper East side to stake out its leadership situated adjacent to the High Line where artists, art professionals and their audiences promenade and rub shoulders while surveying the bustling blue chip business below.

While New York’s important museums, mega galleries and the lure of opportunities attract and influence artists from around the world, art-making tends to take place where it can thrive. The high cost of space in NYC has always meant that while art can be seen there, and the scene is performed there, art is actually produced in the region that extends 100 miles from this vortex; and this is where the Clay Art Center comes in.  For those who have worked in ceramics at any point over the last 59 years, including myself in the 70’s, Port Chester was where young artists got their start and visiting artists could produce using inexpensive studio space, large kilns and with access to materials and a supportive community of professionals.

This exhibition, aimed at artists without commercial representation and who had not yet had a solo exhibition in NY, was a “star search”. One artist would be awarded a solo exhibition. The expectation was the opportunity to see a sampling, spot trends, maybe even identify something generic to the NY area.

The work presented during the jury process was a mash up of current trends, and not surprisingly, nothing was endemic to NY or the tristate region.  Chosen from images, the work looks like what I see when traveling in the UK, Scandinavia, Asia, Australia and throughout the USA.  These images in square format echo what is posted daily on the internet, the global town square, where images fly by, hundreds a day, organized by hashtags, shared and followed.  Instagram, Facebook, daily digital publishing produces a feeding frenzy of ideas, trends and fuels a constant sense of déjà vu. What we saw looks a lot like what is being shown in Manhattan - a melting pot of international art trends.

The resulting show presents work by 17 artists chosen from 100 entries and reveals these trends – the use of the internet as a source of information and imagery, artwork produced in collaboration with others, a distancing from traditional, skill based craft.  As a juror, I was challenged to consider this use of the internet, question who was doing original work and deciding when something veered towards derivative. I saw the power of new technologies, processes and materials and reflected on memories of the Clay Art Center when I worked there – at the time, the electric kiln was a new addition and only used to bisque, not to offer control over glaze color.

With the solo show awarded to Lauren Skelly TRISTATE OF MIND fulfilled its mission to show how NYC sunshine continues to warm and inspire those who choose to work in its light and offer a chance to be recognized for work in ceramics in 2016.

Leslie Ferrin worked at the Clay Art Center in high school and college in the 1970’s.  She is the director of Ferrin Contemporary specializing in ceramics 1950 – present.  She remembers the support Henry Okamoto gave her and when starting a career in clay and thinks he handed a torch to her when he passed in ____.

Later Event: April 3