An annual exhibition featuring the talents of our students. This coming together of CAC’s dedicated class members will generate a lively and diverse exhibit of functional and sculptural works, creating a visual presentation of Clay Art Center’s strength in educational programming
50 Clay Art Center Artists and Invited Artists participate in our annual studio sale
Lauren Skelly was the recipient of a solo show award from our competitive exhibition, Tristate of Mind, curated by Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary and an award-committee comprised of Glenn Adamson, Barry Harwood, David McFadden, and Jennifer Scanlan.
Freshly Funk surveys my methods of making assemblage sculptures, conglomerations, installations, and figurines. I consider myself as an explorer, seeking new ways of layering, swirling, forcing, bending, breaking and reusing surfaces. A conversation between elements of nature emerges from her practice: flora, fauna, rocks, and the tooled objects made by man are called to mind. In combining them, I forge a new perspective of these elements.
There’s that sensation of falling for process, the chase of finding the unexpected and learning how it occurs. From that knowledge I attain, I make intentional decisions regarding textural surfaces, glazes, slips and clay applications, truly changing the context of the piece from a study to a solution. I respond to changes and observe balance in my work, seeking to push an uneasy tension between materials and form. Each new sculpture is a moment, something new that has been achieved or understood, taking me further into my experience with ceramics.
For Stacked & Cracked, the piece was initially a totem of processes I had come to learn in a short period of time. As much as I tried to pull away from the idea of a vessel, this form embodies as a decorative vessel. Greatly because of its bottom, which is casted from crystal candlestick holder from Goodwill. This piece is about changes, weathering, layering as a way to compact knowledge, and to mark those moments of unearthing my process.
Dedicated to the investigations of ceramics, Lauren Skelly explores surface, form and the layering of histories in her sculptures. Skelly draws from nature, industrial objects and objects tooled by man to assemble her totems of layered histories. In 2015, Skelly received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design with a concentration in Ceramics. Skelly studied at Adelphi University, from 2008-2014 where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts degrees. Lauren received the Thomas McNulty Award for Excellence in Sculpture in May 2012. Skelly has attended a variety of workshops and apprentice opportunities throughout the United States and in Italy.
In 2015 Skelly organized a show entitled, "Of Earth," featuring fifteen artists at Anchor Gallery in spring 2015 that coincided with the annual conference for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). The show explored various methods of making ceramic inspired work from foil prints of pots, to Raku fired to figurative and representational works. This July, Skelly will be exhibiting her first solo show, "Freshly Funk," at the Clay Art Center. This solo show was awarded to her by a sub committee made up of Glenn Adamson, Barry Harwood, David McFadden and Jennifer Scanlan for her work entitled, "Cracked & Stacked." The work was apart of a group show curated by Leslie Ferrin in conjunction with the Clay Art Center entitled, "Tristate of Mind." The show celebrated emerging ceramic artists within a 75-mile radium of the Clay Art Center.
Since 2008 Skelly has exhibited her work nationally at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Adelphi University, Chico Gallery, Blue Line Gallery, Nassau Community College, Celadon Gallery, Providence Art Club Gallery, Anchor Providence, Art Center and Patchogue Art Council Gallery.
Barbara Rittenburg fellow, Chris Pickett, and Artist-in-Residence, Max Seinfeld, hold their duo show, Space and Time, as their exit exhibition at Clay Art Center.
Chris Pickett Bio
Chris grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Childhood experiences filled with Lincoln Logs, improvised tree house construction and action figure forts constructed of twigs and pine needles, taught Chris to love working with his hands at an early age. These early experiences would become a significant influence on his work years later. Chris earned his BFA from the University of Tennessee in 2001. In the years that followed, Chris maintained a studio practice at his home in Chattanooga, while frequently working as a studio assistant at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. In 2008,Chris began his graduate studies at the University of Florida and was awarded his MFA in 2011.
Max Seinfeld Bio
Max received his BFA from the University of Hartford, Connecticut in 2014 and finished his postbaccalaureate studies from the State University of New York at New Paltz, New York in 2015. After completing a four month assistantship at Peters Valley School of craft in Layton, New Jersey he was accepted as a resident artist at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, New York. In addition to a formal education he works as a part time studio assistant for Doug Peltzman Pottery and will be continuing his residency for a second year at The Clay Art Center.
NY, NY: CLAY was curated by Judith Schwartz, Ph.D. to examine contemporary clay sculpture within New York City. A concurrent symposium, moderated by Schwartz, investigated clay in New York art, architecture, and design with panelists Glenn Adamson, Toby Buonagurio, James Klein and David Reid, and Susan Tunick.
New York City is in our backyard. It is the quintessential urban environment. No other city can boast such a mixture of multiple cultures, food, music, theater, dance, street life, museums, galleries, architecture, and dynamic energy. Everything co-mingles and adds to the city’s vibrant spirit. In the arts, New York has always been a magnet, drawing the best, most ambitious and diverse talent the country and the world offers. "The New York School" of painting and sculpture, beginning with Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting, Minimalism, Pop and Graffiti art - to name just a few – became a breeding ground where competing ideas, aesthetics, artists and space battled it out in the cultural cutting-edge arena.
This exhibition focuses on a sampling of artists who choose clay as a primary material for their art practice and shape the look of NY CLAY. Regional differences have and continue to play a significant role in shaping the look of American ceramics. Practical aspects of setting up a clay studio in an urban setting is often an impractical location for wood firing, Raku, salt and even gas kilns. The ceramic artist in New York City is often willing to suffer space constrictions, zoning ordinances and other constraints upon working conditions as the price to pay for living and working in a city that both feeds and nourishes the mind and spirit.
The artists in this exhibition are an eclectic representation of young, mid-career and mature artists and should be viewed as merely a sampling of those who live, work, and build their careers in our backyard. They represent an unburdened approach to a material often layered with historical precedence. They redefine the role of clay to express personal perspectives, experiences, and cultural diversity. Their knowledge and experience working with clay has freed them to explore, define and shape the material in unprecedented ways. Working in a city where ideas rule, they have pushed the material to levels of ever greater acceptance within the arts and in so doing, have reshaped our perspective about the power of this amazing material.
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.
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 ____.