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New Ceramics Exhibit to Open in UW-Eau Claire's Foster Gallery

RELEASED: Feb. 14, 2006

Virginia Scotchie's sculptures
bowl by Mat Metz
sculpture by Kathryn Finnerty
The works of Virginia Scotchie (top) Mat Metz (middle) and Kathryn Finnerty are among those on display in "Surface Tension," an exhibit highlighting 10 nationally acclaimed ceramic artists. The exhibit opens Feb. 23 in UW-Eau Claire's Foster Gallery.

EAU CLAIRE — "Surface Tension," an exhibit that opens Feb. 23 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Foster Gallery in the Haas Fine Arts Center, will highlight 10 nationally acclaimed ceramic artists. The exhibit will be on display until March 16.

An opening reception will be held in the gallery from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23.

The exhibit features the work of Adrian Arleo, Kate Blacklock, Vincent Burke, Kathryn Finnerty, Julia Galloway, Phyllis Kloda, Matt Metz, Jenn Reed, Virginia Scotchie and Linda Sikora.

Assistant professor of art & design Susan O'Brien, curator of the exhibit, said the drive for this exhibition is to expose viewers to a broad variety of surface treatments on ceramic works. The featured exhibitors represent studio artists as well as professors from universities across the country.

Arleo is a studio artist in Lolo, Mont. She received her master of fine arts in ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design. Her work for the exhibit focuses on the natural world and many of Arleo's pieces emphasize metamorphosis, which has been a recurring theme in her work for many years.

Blacklock is a studio artist in Providence, R.I. She received her MFA in ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design. Blacklock's work explores themes of beauty, aging and mortality by creating busts that are made from pristine porcelain, manipulated and formed in an intentionally "unpristine" way. From every angle a different story can be seen, although Blacklock said her work is intentionally ambiguous and open to interpretation.

Burke, associate professor of art at University of Texas-El Paso, received his MFA in ceramics at Louisiana State University. For the last two years, Burke has been working on an evolving series of wall mounted sculptures that explore his interest in dichotomy. Burke said his work is about the uneasy union of order and chaos, reflecting his habitual impulse to measure and reorder the environment.

Finnerty is a studio artist at Pleasant Hill Pottery in Pleasant Hill, Ore. She received her MFA in ceramics from Louisiana State University. She uses 19th century English pottery as an inspiration for her work. Her pieces are usually hand built slabs that are thrown onto the potter's wheel to create a sense of volume and containment, Finnerty said. The surface patterns are then created when she incises hand-made plaster tablets with images and designs that produce a raised-line relief when transferred to the clay.

Galloway is chair and associate professor of the School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology. She received her MFA in ceramics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Galloway is a utilitarian potter whose pieces are made out of porcelain clay. She is most interested in pottery that is joyous and that decorates living spaces with character and elegance. Galloway's main pieces are teapots, pitchers, mugs and cream and sugar sets.

Kloda, associate professor of ceramics at Ohio Wesleyan University, received her MFA in ceramics at Ohio University. Kloda's work emphasizes the construction of elaborate, embellished surfaces reflecting the pots and silverware of the craftspeople of the baroque and rococo periods. In designing her pieces, Kloda focuses on elements that are important to her, including beauty, a story or narrative, adornment and color.

Metz, a studio artist in Alfred, N.Y., received his MFA in ceramics at the University of Pennsylvania. Metz's work is influenced by eclectic sources including 19th century American furniture, other decorative arts, folk art and ceramics from Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He enjoys the play between dense intentional surface and the serendipity of atmospheric firing.

Reed is a studio artist in South Dennis, Mass. She received her MFA in ceramics at the Alfred University School of Art and Design. Her work is hand-built and painterly using clay as a canvas. In her body of work, Reed is interested in objects that are most familiar to us, such as the house and bird.

Scotchie is a professor of studio art at the University of South Carolina. She received her MFA in ceramics from Alfred University's State College of Ceramics. Scotchie's focus has been on the abstraction of personal objects given to her by family members. These items include an old pipe of her father's, a funnel from her mother's kitchen, an old bulb from the family Christmas tree and her children's toys. She said her wall work is not figurative, but there is a mask-like quality that exists because she hopes to have viewers look closer and find the beauty in humble and ordinary objects.

Sikora, associate professor of ceramics at Alfred University, received her MFA in ceramics from the University of Minnesota. Sikora's work has recently been jars and teapots. Her main interest in pottery form is for its familiarity and congeniality, as well as its ability to disappear into private and personal activities and places. Sikora said that through pottery's intelligence of color, form and stance it can also excite attention and reflect back to viewers their own imaginations.

Foster Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m. Thursday evening and 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information about gallery exhibits, call Foster Gallery director Tom Wagner at (715) 836-2328.



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