Foundations of Design: Vessel as ImpetusMar 07, 2011 - Mar 25, 2011

Curatorial Statement

Six Architectural Designers. Six Potters. Interaction with and occupation of space is paramount to both groups.

It has been asserted by some, that design is separated from craft by straining it through a colander, removing any personal disclosure or kitsch. What if we set aside divisive language and come together in such a way as to broaden community? Entrusting our ideals to another group is a quiet act of bravery, which may reveal new perspectives and initiate new investigations. Even if affirmation is the only gain, a community will undoubtedly benefit and grow from the perspective of the other.

Red Lodge Clay Center asked Architectural Designers and Illustrators SJ Sheppard, Henry Sorenson, Peter Stempel, Angie Lipski, Ross Hamand and Zuzanna Karczewska to meditate upon the work of Potters Simon Levin, Jeff Oestreich, Hiroe Hanazono, Naomi Cleary, Lisa Orr and Ryan Greenheck. Each potter provided a small sampling of their wares to the architects. For three months they lived with the work and engaged it in their daily space. From the interaction the architects designed a space reflective of the experience and with the individual potter’s aesthetic or process in mind.

Sometimes a curatorial vision comes directly from day-to-day exposure, conceptual associations and the willingness to ask, “what if”? There is always, of course, a hope about the result of an experiment, no matter how unobstructed by expectations we strive to be. Each pairing generated visual and mental dialogues beyond what could have been imagined when the idea was put forth. Peter Stempel embraced Simon LevinÕs ideas about a river of fire in his use of ink. Angie Lipski celebrated the monumental and ornate with elegance and restraint matched in Ryan Greenheck’s surface and form. Ross Hamand capitalized on the subtle design Hiroe Hanazono achieves in rendering pared objects, which integrate fluidly in daily utility. Zuzanna Karczewska plays with perception of active space through a puzzle of orientation inspired by Naomi Cleary’s push and pull of positive and negative space on the surface of her forms. The question of inside and outside is born anew. SJ Sheppard explodes with jubilant detail, creating dynamic plans for a space and keeping all of our senses engaged; like the pottery of Lisa Orr, we will be in one of two places: unable to process the cacophony or reveling in the lush field of information.

Architectural Illustrator Henry Sorenson condensed the spirit of the exhibit in his statement about working with Jeff Oestreich’s vessels, declaring an effort to, “Recreat[e] a poetic architectural volume; one that could stand on its own as an artistic experience; one that could support the work in clay. A ‘vessel for a vessel’.”