The Annual Resident Exit Show is the celebration we host once a year. It is our touchstone exhibition, reminding all-who are committed to the success of Red Lodge Clay Center-why we are here. Every object we handle throughout the year, every exhibition we mount, every short-term residency is supporting an incubation period for the four Long-Term Residents.
Anyone involved in making is familiar with the cycles of change in a studio practice. More often than not the changes appear microscopic when looking in from the outside. Conversely, those changes may feel like great leaps to the maker-the single, purposeful mark that shifts an entire composition. A mark labored over and considered for months before mustering the resolve to execute.
Perry Haas began his year getting to know the kilns at Red Lodge. His first firing was less than what he hoped for, but with every new firing the maker and the tool came closer and closer to an accord. We are happy to have Perry staying on for a second year in Red Lodge, giving him the chance to build on his successes. He will be traveling to Denmark this August to participate in the 2nd Annual European Woodfire Conference at Guldagergaard, followed by the American Pottery Festival at Northern Clay Center, and he is organizing the first Woodfire Invitational and Exhibition at Red Lodge Clay Center in January 2015.
Ryan Matthew Mitchell was the resident with the most experience under his belt this year. The main question we had last summer was, “Would we have enough to offer him?” However, the long-term residency is not just for recently graduated makers, it is also for makers who are at transitional spaces in life. After living in China as the Resident Artist Director Of Da Wang Culture Highland, a center for the arts in Shenzhen, China for two years, he wished to return to Montana and re-establish himself on his home ground. Ryan’s career, much like the objects he makes straddles between extremes: east and west, beauty and decay, order and disorder. He is a large-scale maker who has the output of a prolific potter, with classical concepts underscored by his comprehension of material and process. The resultant objects are roughly delicate, evidencing a passionate struggle. Throughout the year Ryan has been and will continue to act as an advisor on the development of a new ceramic center in China, employing his ability to see the larger arc of projects to the benefit of future makers who travel to and in China.
Koral Halperin’s portfolio struck the selection committee in the spring of 2013 with his methodical construction and bawdy humor. There is always a deliberate yet quiet intention moving Koral forward in every action, in the studio and outside of it. He looks to primitive art of the island culture as much as he looks to formalists like Ken Price and Ron Nagle. Over the course of this year, the micro-step he seems to have made is to pull back on the blatant placement of his humor, embedding it in his approach to formalism. Don’t worry though, any viewer can see in his palette the sly smile is not too far below the surface. He has continued to refine his compositions, presenting his audience with a medley of visual movements in the exit show. It will be interesting to see how his work evolves next year as a resident at the Clay Studio of Missoula. He will have the opportunity to employ resources available to him in a larger community with a university system at his disposal, and the time to investigate his inquiries between order and chaos more deeply. How will the rural Red Lodge experience evidence itself against the contrasting metropolitan feel of Missoula, with both locations set against Montana’s natural majesty?
Molly Anne Bishop came to Red Lodge with a strong sense of her own voice and an amazing ability to translate said voice into smart, biting, narrated illustrations. More than one person has found the Red Lodge Clay Center Gallery to be an intimidating immersion experience of functional pottery, full of rules and expertly handled forms. Molly definitely danced with that devil a few times this year, but she always turned the intimidation into self-reflection, using it to inform her studio practice, and her work grew because of it. Working with the residents we have the privilege of seeing the birth of new ideas scratching at their minds and Molly’s studio is full of such scratching; next year she will head to Chicago as a resident at Lillstreet Art Center, where you should keep an eye on her. Those scratchings are just going to keep getting better.
Please enjoy the show and support the careers of our residents. They are the reason we are here. Providing a place for serious minded ceramic artists to grow is Red Lodge Clay Center’s legacy. We are proud to present the work of Molly Anne Bishop, Perry Haas, Koral Halperin, and Ryan Matthew Mitchell to you. Enjoy!