Sunday, January 23, 2011

ACGA Clay & Glass Exhibition Opening - January 22, 2011

A large crowd of residents, artists and friends attended the opening of the ACGA Clay and Glass National Exhibition at the City of Brea Art Gallery on January 22nd. The gallery director, Christina Hasenberg, as well as the Brea Community Services manager, Emily Keller, commented on how pleased they were with the quality of work on display and the reaction of gallery patrons to it. Many attendees were overheard to say “it’s great to see three dimensional art in the gallery” and “the quality of this work is amazing”.

Submitted by Jo Lauria, January 2011

It was both a pleasure and an honor to serve as the juror for the ACGA’s Clay and Glass National Competition. As I was reviewing the work in this competition, I felt that one of my primary judicial duties was to uphold and reaffirm the ACGA’s stated mission: to promote “high standards of craftsmanship and design in clay and glass.” This was the starting point, the bench mark, against which all entries would be evaluated. However, there were several other important factors that contributed to the decision-making process. I’d like to walk you through the “trail of thinking” that resulted in the selection of 81 exceptional objects.
More than 150 artists entered this competition and submitted over 400 works for consideration. Demographically, these artists represent twenty-eight states of the union, with a higher concentration of artists living in California (understandably as the ACGA is California-based). Clay works dominated the submissions, accounting for more than 80% of the entries. This is reflected in the final selection; a walk through the galleries will reveal that there are more works on display made of clay.

Sifting through the 400+ works brought to the surface several prevalent ideas and approaches that artists working in both fields of clay and glass found to be fertile ground. Some of the more engaging concepts and topics included: explorations of ornament and its genesis in the patterns of nature; the sculptural potential of the vessel; the emotive potency of narrative sculptures, whether stylized, abstracted or representational; the unapologetic celebration of Beauty and her twin, the Seductress of virtuosic technique; and investigations of presentation strategies--ranging from works strung on wires, scattered across walls, and perched on pillows and plinths. Overall, it was a feast for the eyes to see all the variations on a theme. As expected, the judging process was challenging as there were more worthy pieces submitted than could be accommodated in the gallery space. Ultimately it was the inventive use and deft handling of materials and techniques, combined with an imaginative approach to subject matter, which brought any one piece into focus.

I hope the selection of objects on exhibit here in the City of Brea Art Gallery—displayed beautifully in this stunning, light-filled space—provokes interest and stimulates discussion about what is current in the discourse on Craft and Makers. I think the artworks selected for the exhibition point to a very promising future for the fields of clay and glass.

The exhibition will be on view through March 4th. City of Brea Art Gallery, One Civic Center Circle, Brea CA, 714-990-7730, Wed. thru Sun., noon to 5 pm, Adults 2.00

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