Ceramic artists to converge on ASU, Phoenix

<p>April is unofficially ceramics month in the Phoenix area. Everywhere you turn, there will be clay shaped to various forms, sizes and colors.</p><separator></separator><p>Not only the usual mugs and bowls, but sculptures and other artworks created by noted artists from around the world.</p><separator></separator><p>Why clay, and why Phoenix?</p><separator></separator><p>The National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts, known informally as NCECA, will hold its 43rd annual conference at the Phoenix Convention Center April 8-11 – and ASU is its unofficial host.</p><separator></separator><p>More than 5,000 educators, students, artists, avocational potters and collectors from around the world will converge on the Convention Center for those four days, and a good many of them are expected to visit the Tempe campus to see the exhibits planned for ASU galleries.</p><separator></separator><p>Susan Beiner, an assistant professor in the Herberger School of Art, and Peter Held, curator of ceramics in the ASU Art Museum’s Ceramics Research Center, have collaborated on programming for the conference, and are ASU’s “hosts.”</p><separator></separator><p>This year’s theme is “Ceramic Interface: From Dawn to Digital.”</p><separator></separator><p>“We wanted to honor both the historic ceramics traditions of the Southwest and the artists who are using modern technology,” Held said. “With each successive generation, emerging artists have forged a new voice within the ceramic idiom. Borrowing freely from different times and cultures, incorporating new technologies, materials and disciplines, they continue to expand the art’s potential.<br /><br />“Given the rich artistic traditions of native cultures of the Southwest, and the leading edge art programs that many of the area’s educational institutions offer, this conference reflects a true sense of our region.”</p><separator></separator><p>Why is ceramics such a popular art form? And why is it one of the most popular classes in the Herberger College School of Art?</p><separator></separator><p>“It’s an age-old art. It’s from the Earth, and it’s a green material,” said Beiner, who teaches ceramics. “There is a sensuous nature to it, a tactile quality. There is a connection from the hand to the brain.”</p><separator></separator><p>Beiner added that the idea of forming an object from the clay is seductive to potters. Some artists are more intrigued by the creation, while others are excited about the completion – the “baking” in the kiln.</p><separator></separator><p>“A famous potter once said that there are ‘mud people’ and there are ‘fire people,’” Beiner said.</p><separator></separator><p>Though ceramics is as old as civilization, it is changing to adopt modern ways, Held said. “Today’s students use rapid prototyping, and they are more inter-disciplinary. They use mixed-media. A lot of students are incorporating new materials and technologies.”</p><separator></separator><p> <br /><b>Highlights of “Ceramic Interface”</b></p><separator></separator><p>April 8: Keynote speech by New York Times art critic Robert Smith, “Sometimes Craft Just Means Bad Art: One Critic’s View of Contemporary Ceramics,” during evening session.</p><separator></separator><p>April 9: Distinguished Lecture, “Story Line,” by Nora Naranjo Morse, 3:30 p.m.</p><separator></separator><p>April 9: Performance by Dancing Earth, 9 p.m.</p><separator></separator><p>April 10: 17th annual Cup Sale, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cups and mugs by NCECA members for sale.</p><separator></separator><p>April 10: Annual Dance, with music by Quetzal Guerrero and his group the Warriors.</p><separator></separator><p>Six ASU students in ceramics were accepted into the NCECA 2009 Regional Student Juried Exhibition, Tempe Arts Center: <br />Graduate students: Darien Johnson, Christian Tonsgard, Shuching Chen<br />Undergraduate students: Amanda Pless, Juri Yamashita, Danielle Woods</p><separator></separator><p>Two of the graduate students whose work was accepted into the Regional Student Juried Exhibition will have their MFA Thesis exhibitions during the convention, at Harry Wood Gallery April 6-17: Darien Johnson and Christian Tonsgard.</p><separator></separator><p><b><br />ASU Exhibits:</b></p><separator></separator><p><b>“TITANS: Robert Arneson and Viola Frey,”</b> Feb. 28-April 25, ASU Art Museum“Potters on Paper: Selections from the Collection,” Feb. 21-May 31, ASU Art Museum. Reception: 5-7 p.m., April 9.</p><separator></separator><p><b>“Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser,”</b> Feb. 14-May 16, ASU Art Museum.</p><separator></separator><p><b>&quot;Large Ceramics: Selections from the Permanent Collection,”</b> ongoing, throughout the sculpture courts and the Nymphaeum, ASU Art Museum.</p><separator></separator><p>More information: <a href="http://herbergercollege.asu.edu/calendar">http://herbergercollege.asu.e…;