By Monica Kaufman
Since Jan. 21, the Haggerty Art Gallery at the University of Dallas has been home to tea sets and chrysalises, pitchers and Pinocchio – all part of the 2015 Regional Ceramics Competition Exhibition. This biannual exhibition is indeed a competition. The exhibition displays 59 pieces from 47 different artists all working in ceramic mediums, creating works of art from functional and elegant teacups to sculptural portrayals of ancient elephants. Ceramic artists from several states around Texas applied and were accepted into the show by its juror, Eva Kwong. Kwong, whose work is also on display, is an associate professor of ceramics at Kent State University with numerous exhibitions and honors under her belt. Kwong decided which pieces to exhibit in the show, and will also decide which piece will receive the “Art of Merit” award, and which two pieces will receive the “Best of Show” awards.
The diversity of the exhibition will allow nearly every person who walks through the Haggerty Gallery to find at least one piece he can thoroughly appreciate. Visitors can marvel over the beauty and craftsmanship of the functional ceramic pieces, such as Liz Smith’s elegant patterned “Cup Set,” with delicate flowers and lines floating across the surface of the four slender cups and their holder. Others will be drawn to the incredible detail and technique displayed in works such as Ariel Bowman’s “Big Bingo: Biggest Brute That Breathes,” a lifelike prehistoric elephant draped in intricate ornamentation. Those with a kitschy sense of humor will surely appreciate works such as the ceramic head of Pinocchio by UD graduate student Linda Gosset titled “A Very Good Man Can Be a Very Bad Boy.” Pinocchio’s hat is embellished with humorous elements, including pants on fire. Jason Kishell’s “French Kiss,” a series of ceramic mouths each saying a part of the words “french kiss” and Christy Richard’s “Timothy and Steve,” little robots that are simultaneously humorous and ominous, add humorous charm to the exhibit.
The competition brings to campus such an extensive variety of art forms such that those who visit will be exposed to types of art that they might not normally seek out. The exhibition bridges gaps between those viewers drawn mostly to technique and those intrigued by the abstract.
“[It shows] a lot of different dimensions of what ceramic art can be, whether it’s functional or just beautiful,” Gallery Manager Betsy Belcher said.
A visitor walking into the show to see seamlessly formed vases can leave with an appreciation of a pair of small robots, and a visitor seeking the unusual will also enjoy the traditional pieces. Junior art major Maria Hotovy called the show “very important” to UD’s student population, adding that it displays “a wide number of influences.”
A lecture by Kwong and the reception announcing the award winners will be held on Feb. 13. The exhibition continues through March 5.