For visitors with boots on the ground in Red Lodge, the virtual world of Pinterest becomes a tangible manifestation of the contemporary social networking tool cum research device. 21st Century Sketchbook is a sampling of who’s watching whom in contemporary ceramics with the ability to see direct correlations between an artist’s output and the work of their contemporaries and mentors.
The idea for 21st Century Sketchbook was inspired by a Google alert we received after Birdie Boone pinned an image from the Red Lodge Clay Center website to one of her Pinterest boards. We were surprised to find out how many artists are using the online tool to gather data for themselves and to share data with their virtual networks. Social Media puts us in touch with a mind-numbing amount of data. Social Media also makes our world much more accessible. The work gathered in this exhibition reflects an ability to sort through the detritus, bringing a self-selected collective of collaborators into one’s own studio practice.
We invited five artists who are currently using Pinterest in their studio practice. They in turn invited three artists they have “pinned”.
Birdie Boone pinned Peter Beasecker, Andrew Martin, and Joe Pintz
Mariko Paterson pinned Michael Corney, Jen Allen, and Carole Epp
Emily Schroeder Willis pinned Mark Pharis, Maren Kloppmann and Sam Chung
Ron Philbeck pinned Matthew Metz, Diana Fayt and Sandy Simon
Grace Sheese pinned Kelly King, Brian Jones, and Pattie Chalmers
Ceramic enthusiasts will be familiar with the global apprentice tradition of studio pottery. The tradition sometimes manifests as a family tree, allowing collectors, historians, and students to track methods, aesthetics, and philosophies over time and distance. As you examine the works presented within the 21st Century Sketchbook, we encourage you to track the works in a similar fashion. Can you see how social media opens an alternate perspective on concepts of apprenticeship and collaboration?