Boundless: visiting ceramic artists explore the human condition

29th October 2015
Wishing for Summer by Blake J. Williams

“Wishing for Summer” (detail) by Blake J. Williams.

By Steven Krolak

NEW ALBANY, Ind. – The Ronald L. Barr Gallery on the IU Southeast campus presents the works of ceramic artists Lauren Herzak-Bauman and Blake J. Williams in a show entitled, “Boundless” which runs from Nov. 2 to Dec. 11, 2015.

An opening reception will be held in the Barr Gallery on Mon., Nov. 2 from 5-7 p.m.. The artists will be present during the reception, and will give a gallery talk at 6 p.m. Prior to that, Herzak-Bauman will give a public artist lecture at 3 p.m. in the IU Southeast ceramics studio, Knobview Hall, room KV 035.

Blake J. Williams is associate professor of ceramics at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. Her current work focuses on the imagery of bones and flowers in order to reflect life.

From her artist statement: “I am interested in the human condition, how an individual relates to their surroundings, and what it means to interact and have relationships with other humans and animals. Making art is a continuous search for meaning.”

Of the “Bloom” series, Williams said, “Pieces in the ‘Bloom’ series explore the fullness and lightness associated with flowers using the permanence of porcelain. I am fascinated by the simple joy of flowers and how they immediately change the brain into a state of happiness and hope. My porcelain flowers mimic the fragility of actual flowers yet remain in a state of constant bloom. In Michigan, especially during the winter months, it is reassuring to remind oneself that spring will soon reappear and with it will be the green warmth of flowers.”

Lauren Herzak-Bauman is a multi-media artist working with ceramics and found materials to create sculptures, installations and public commissions. She teaches ceramics and design at Cuyahoga Community College and The Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio. She uses clay to make objects and temporal installations about mourning and loss.

From her artist statement: “Taking cracked and broken handmade porcelain objects, I layer each piece in a repetitive manner, creating crags and crevices, messes, and masses. This act mimics the emotional layering and respective cycles of bereavement. The physicality of the material becomes a metaphor for the human condition.”

Of the “Field” series, Herzak-Bauman said, “Comprised of hundreds of feet of handmade porcelain chain, the ‘Field’ series utilizes the architectural elements of the gallery to create a hovering, floating mass within the space . . . . I am curious about the relationship between the materiality of clay and my own perceptions of control, particularly how porcelain’s capabilities to warp, bend, crack and break reveal the human nature of the work and the error my hands impart.”

The Ronald L. Barr Gallery is located in the Paul W. Ogle Cultural & Community Center on the campus of IU Southeast, 4201 Grant Line Road, New Albany, Ind. For more information, please contact Brian Harper, assistant professor of fine arts at Featured image on homepage: “Field” (detail) by Lauren Herzak-Bauman.

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