An unusual based by Michael Klapthor in "Perspectives"
Perspectives: As one of the largest shows of its kind in the Southeast, the 17th annual “Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational” presents 6,000 pieces of handmade pottery by 50 professional artists from across the state. Filling the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation’s renovated Rocket Hall to the brim, the pottery sale features both functional and decorative works, including every vessel imaginable, like mugs, bowls, plates, pitchers, teapots and vases. From Amanda Proctor’s carved animals and Michael Klapthor’s robotic characters to Adrina Richard’s heavily textured surfaces and Kaitlyn Chipps’ iridescent sheen, every artist has their own signature style that feels distinct from the next.
In addition to the overwhelming display in Rocket Gallery, OCAF has three other distinct exhibitions. On view in the Main Gallery, “Participating Potters: 2019” offers a crème de la crème crash course, presenting two top pots alongside one favorite piece from each of the artists’ collections. This is where to find some of the more unusual work, like Sandy Culp’s tiny teapots—one disguised as a cluster of blueberries in a wooden bowl, the other camouflaged as a bonsai tree growing against a mossy rock—that look like they were plucked right out of a fantasy tea party for woodland creatures. Keok Lim’s “Bag of Tulips” is so incredibly realistic that it’s hard to believe you’re actually looking at unglazed stoneware and porcelain, not a crisp brown paper bag.
On view in the Members Gallery, “New Friends, Old Friends” is dedicated to showcasing potter Glenn Dair’s architecturally influenced vessels. Dair, who received an MFA from UGA in 1975, has served as a production potter at Happy Valley Pottery nearby and director of the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center’s pottery program in Atlanta. His pieces, which often resemble pagodas, houses or boats, excel at straddling simple functionality and sculptural personality. While each vessel serves a primary purpose to contain or pour, it has the ability to also convey a narrative quality.
“The Unique Pottery of Beth Tarkington” spotlights another interesting approach to clay. Giving terra cotta its form by hand through slab, coil, mold and other sculptural techniques, Tarkington then decorates its surface by layering slips, stains, underglazes, oxides and glazes. Her painterly style is made possible through combining processes for wax-resist, texturing and painting over the course of multiple firings. Each piece suggests an interesting narrative, full of landscapes, animals, words and symbols.
Rob Sutherland, owner of Good Dirt Clay Studio, will offer a gallery talk on the closing day of “Perspectives,” Sunday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. Using various pieces as examples, he’ll cover popular pottery styles, clays, glazes and firing techniques. The afternoon also includes wheel throwing and hand building demonstrations from 1–4 p.m.
Clearing the galleries will make way for two new exhibitions that open on Friday, Oct. 4 with a reception from 6–8 p.m. “David & Goliath: OCAF’s Annual Small Works and Their Colossal Counterparts” celebrates works of nontraditional sizes, measuring either 14 inches and smaller or 36 inches and larger. Organized in conjunction, “Mini Masterpieces” is a creative fundraiser through which artists were given 3-inch-by-3-inch canvases to decorate with whatever materials and themes they chose. Both new shows will be up through Saturday, Nov. 2.
Spotlight: While the majority of the exhibitions at the Gallery at Hotel Indigo are designed to feature a variety of work by several artists at once, the recurring exhibition series “Spotlight” takes the time to provide a deeper look into the creative practices of just a few selected artists. The fourth installment, “Spotlight 2019,” harrows in on Jeanne Ann Davidson, Maggie Davis and Elizabeth McFalls.
Longtime Athenian Davidson makes small, vibrant pieces that focus on the interplay between bold primary colors and shapes. Atlanta-based artist Davis presents abstract works with vertical splotches of color that build on each other to resemble conversations held across each canvas. An art professor at Columbus State University, McFalls recently completed the year-long Artist Residency in Motherhood program, and imagery of parenthood, like a hanging mobile and alphabet blocks, permeates her mixed media pieces, which incorporate silkscreen, graphite and cut paper.
The final day to see “Spotlight 2019” is also Sept. 15. Up next at Indigo, “Fun” will present presumably entertaining pieces by Hannah Betzel, Neil Hancock, Brittainy Lauback, Katherine Miele, Jolene O’Brien, Marla Star and Kim Truesdale. The new exhibition opens on Thursday, Sept. 26 with a reception from 6–8 p.m.
Potter Rob Sutherland leads a discussion covering pottery styles, clays, glazes, techniques and details of the current exhibition, "Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational." Live demonstrations will also be held until 4 p.m. See Art Notes on p. 13.