Concurrence in ClayFeb 02, 2024 - Mar 02, 2024

Curatorial Statement

Exhibition Posted Online: Monday, February 5, 2024 at 10 am MT


We are thrilled to present Concurrence in Clay, featuring new work by Paul Briggs and Jabu Nala. While Paul and Jabu each have a different approach to making, both utilize the clay to create textural details on their vessels that reference historical making in new and fresh ways.

Paul Samuel Briggs was born in Beacon, NY and grew up in the Hudson Valley area of New York state.  He was one of those kids who doodled all the time, enrolled in various art classes and began working with clay as a 9th grader. Ceramics quickly became the one place where his attention was not disturbed. His affinity for pinch-forming clay developed while the art director of a summer camp in Bushkill, PA. His thinking about art objects as material shapes with meaning began as an undergraduate at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Over his circuitous life journey Paul has studied and taught education, ceramics, and theology, earning his PhD at the Pennsylvania State University and his MFA at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA.

Paul works primarily with pinch-forming and slab building processes and overall his work is about art making as inner development, broadly understood. He creates distinctive, high relief pinch-formed ceramic vessels and penetrating slab-built sculptural forms, both genres often have interior space. Paul teaches at Alfred University. He and his partner are making a life, art, ceramics, sewing, quilting, and thinking about how far away their three children live.

Jabulile Nala was born in Oyaya, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. She is a potter, creating traditional clay Zulu Beer Pots. Jabu is the Daughter of Nesta Nala, who has a worldwide reputation for her classical forms and beer pots. Her mother taught Jabu.

Jabu is a master of the uphiso form, (pots with a neck). Jabu has an established an excellent reputation for herself in the South African ceramic art world. She is recognized for her larger vessels, her banded design work and her improvisations using the inkanyezi, or star design.

Jabu makes use of two types of clay (red and grey) which are hand-dug from two areas near her home. The clay undergoes the traditional processes to produce the unique pots.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Jabu has extended her repertoire from pots for traditional uses to new shapes that use traditional forms as their starting point. She’s now pushing the limits farther by creating animal sculptures. They are the animals of the countryside she grew up in – cows, sheep, goats and ducks – executed with humor and grace.

For those interested in learning more about Zulu pottery, click to read more from “Zulu Pottery: An Essential Introduction to a Craft and Culture” with Elizabeth Perrill on Cfile