Juried National VSep 06, 2019 - Sep 29, 2019

Curatorial Statement

Gallery Closing Reception: Friday, September 27, 2019 from 5-7 pm MT

Exhibition Posted Online: Monday, September 9, 2019 by 10 am MT

Red Lodge Clay Center’s biennial Juried National V extends our mission by showcasing current relevant and diverse practices in the field of ceramics. This exhibition provides a spotlight on the breadth of work currently being made that utilizes clay as a featured material. It is our hope that the Juried National will bridge emergent and established makers, and will include some of the best utilitarian, sculptural, traditional and/or experimental work being created today.

Juror: Mike Helke
Mike Helke grew up in Minnesota’s St. Croix Valley, where he still resides and maintains a studio. In addition, Helke is an assistant professor of art/ceramics at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He received his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, NY.

2019 Juror Statement
Special thanks to Red Lodge Clay Center for inviting me to jury their Juried National V exhibition! I very much enjoyed the opportunity to review work samples of the 187 applicants from across the country. The broad range of works expressed a myriad of discussions presently happening in the field of ceramics throughout the United States in institutions including but not limited to: academia, art centers, community workspaces, and independent studios. Submissions included works biased in sculpture, utility, installation, performance, and video.  Many of the works crossed multiple genres, reflecting the diverse, objective, and eclectic state of our field. I would have loved to include so many more of the submitted works, but of course I had to be mindful of size and space accommodations for the Red Lodge gallery. Ultimately, I selected 41 of the artists for this year’s exhibition.

Our field has access to an abundance of instructional, media-based resources; upon viewing the range of submissions, it was easy to recognize the way these sources are impacting our making culture. Like a collage, many of the submissions reflect an intriguing assortment of aesthetic and process-based influences that these sources and moguls supply. Please understand that I am not making this statement pejoratively or with any dogmatic or authoritarian motive.  Rather, this is an observation about the way many current makers are being educated and socialized, and how this impacts what they make.  Despite the prevalence of media influences, or perhaps in spite of them, there remain makers who are readapting and evolving their works in the same way so many before them have done since the industrial revolution.  These works have maintained a sensitivity to the following.

  • An overt and thoughtful use of self-expression and innovation—the basic components of creativity.
  • A regard for and sensitivity to regional aesthetic(s) and cultural styles, and/or the concept of cultural appropriation.
  • An admission to preconceived making methods, standards, and ideologies; and an effort to adapt their relevance to the needs and bias of their existing culture.
  • An awareness of non-clay art and craft media.
  • An understanding of clay’s history and historical relevance.
  • An adaptation of new technologies.

As the juror, I made a decision to accept works that more directly identified with this continuum and broader context for making. In my opinion, the six elements listed above are the fundamental components that link together the ceramic works that have been able to re-adapt, evolve, and sustain post-industrial clay creation as we know it.  Combined, these elements are the framework under which I juried the Clay National V.  From the pool of 187 applicants, the selected 50 works by 41 artists are those that I feel best fit the above criteria. -Mike Helke


Merit Awards (to be selected at the exhibition Closing Reception, September 27, 2019)

  • Juror’s Choice Award: $1000 – Victoria Christen
  • Director’s Choice Award: $500 – Kate Maury
  • Gallery Curator’s Choice Award: $300 – Vince Palacios

Participating artists include: Mariah Addis, Casey Beck, Aaron Becker, Shannon Blakey, Hannah Lee Cameron, Victoria Christen, Andrea Leila Denecke, Justin Donofrio, Emily Duke, Ruth Easterbrook, Amy Evans, Emily Gordon, Seth Green, Sarah Heinsbergen, Sarah House, Adam Jennett, Chris Kelsey, Kristen Kieffer, Bri Larson, Clay Leonard, Keok Lim, Lily Lund, Paul Maloney, Kate Maury, Danielle O’Malley, Helen Otterson, Vince Palacios, Sarah Petty, Brenda Quinn, Tyler Quintin, Jesus Sanchez, Randy Schutt, Sean Scott, Tanner Severson, Joe Singewald, Priya Thoresen, Lars Voltz, Jinsik Yoo, and Adam Yungbluth.