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Foster Gallery Exhibit to Feature More Than 40 Artists' Take on 'Teapots'

RELEASED: Feb. 19, 2009

teapot by Joan Bruneau
teapot by Sam Chung
teapot by Ovideo Giberga
Teapots on display at the Foster Gallery Feb. 26 through March 29 include pieces by Joan Bruneau (top left), Sam Chung (top right) and Ovideo Giberga (bottom).

EAU CLAIRE — A new exhibit, "Teapots: Formal, Functional, Narrative," will open Feb. 26 and continue through March 29 in the Foster Gallery of the Haas Fine Arts Center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

An opening reception will run from 7:30-9 p.m. Feb. 26 in the gallery. The show will include 40 artists, many with national or international reputations.

"Teapots" is co-curated by Susan O'Brien, a ceramist and assistant professor of art at UW-Eau Claire, and Margaret Bohls, ceramicist and assistant professor of art at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Both are also exhibitors.

The teapot is a symbol of the complex history of culture and trade that in part created the field of contemporary ceramics, as well as a complex sculptural form, O'Brien said.

"My work is an amalgamation of classical form and the unexpected," O'Brien said. "Metaphorical interwoven layers of humor, exaggeration and subtle sarcasm allow me to be somewhat of 'the bad girl in the dining room' while expressing my vision of contemporary decorative functional ceramics."

Bohls and ceramist Sam Chung, assistant professor of ceramics at the Herberger College of the Arts, Arizona State University, will visit UW-Eau Claire during the show.

Bohls will give a curator's talk at 10 a.m. Feb. 27 in Room 101 of the Haas Fine Arts Center. Chung will give a two-day demonstration from approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 5 and 6 in Room 112 of the Haas Fine Arts Center, with time out for a lecture on his work from noon to 1 p.m. March 5 in Room 105 of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

All events are free and open to the public.

Bohls has said her current body of work combines a strong sense of interior volume with a net- or grid-like surface of textural lines that contains and shapes that volume, creating buoyant, full, yet architectural forms.

"These seemingly upholstered forms are draped with a series of rich, complex glaze surfaces, many of them crystalline, lustrous or having deep visual texture," said Bohls. "These surfaces are sometimes further adorned with sprigs, floral glaze decals or metallic lusters. Porcelain forms are often placed in or on earthenware baskets or trays. The result is a layering of disparate and complex elements that become integral. These pieces, in form and in the details of form, are created to visually communicate their use or function. Their complex shapes and rich surfaces embellish and enhance this use."

Chung's work reflects a refined elegance on a small-scale where beauty is found in utility. The visual and tactile nature of the pottery of the Koryo Dynasty in Korea and the Song Dynasty of China inspires Chung's works. Using these ideas as a basis, he goes on to create contemporary forms. Chung also is interested in the architectural potential of pots in terms of their relationship to geometric forms and ideas of containment. By introducing what he refers to as "agitating elements" into his work, Chung has developed something new from a traditional art form.

Foster Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m. Thursday and 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For more information about gallery exhibits, call Foster Gallery director Tom Wagener at 715-836-2328.



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