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Stunning Ceramics at Scripps

Feb 6, 2017

IMG_4761We would like to thank Rosey Bell, realtor with Coldwell Banker, for this lead, which prompted us to undertake a spur-of-the-moment midday trip to see the Scripps College 73rd Ceramic Annual exhibit.

From Pasadena to exit 25B in Claremont, it was a quick half hour drive, which provided a constant backdrop of snowcapped mountains defying the open driver’s side window and balmy weather. We found parking on campus (delightfully free), right in front of the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery.

The gallery is small and intimate with a warm wood floor and white walls. Looking at the space as a whole, it seems empty as none of the works of art are oversized. Yet the magnitude of the craftsmanship, skill, and artistry, the wondrous detail, and the blatantly different styles makes this an exhibit to behold. We meandered, captivated by every artist, and departed feeling enriched and buoyant.

 

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Diego Romero’s three works greet visitors; an intriguing combination of the religious, mythology, and 21st century male bonding…

 

Diego Romero, Saints and Sinners, 2016; courtesy of the Robert Nichols Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Diego Romero, Saints and Sinners, 2016; courtesy of the Robert Nichols Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

 

Diego Romero, Manscape, 2014; courtesy of the Robert Nichols Gallery, Sant Fe, New Mexico

Diego Romero, Manscape, 2014; courtesy of the Robert Nichols Gallery, Sant Fe, New Mexico

 

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In selecting the 73rd Scripps Annual artist, I sought ceramic heroes from across the United States who are masters in their fields, whose achievements have inspired us and whose accomplishments have left us in awe. I looked for artists who showed an absolute fearlessness of the technical challenges associated with pushing the limits, and who rejected anything less than the highest of standards for their work. These artists are not typical in today’s restless world of instant gratification; instead, they are willing to labor for months, with exacting precision, to keep the spirit of each piece alive.
—Joan Takayama-Ogawa, curatorial statement

 

Michael Sherrill, Flourish Rhododendron, 2008

Michael Sherrill, Flourish Rhododendron, 2008

 

Michael Sherrill grew up in western North Carolina the Appalachian Mountains, the “backdrop” for his youth and training have had a profound effect on his work. Sherrill’s “heightened representations,” according to Jo Lauria, writing for the exhibit catalog “are hyperreal, intensely observed studies, amplified by chromatic saturation; they are the  marriage of nature and the artist’s intervention.”

 

Michael Sherrill, Flourish Rhododendron (detail), 2008

Michael Sherrill, Flourish Rhododendron (detail), 2008

 

Jeff Oestrich, Come Dancing with Me Cup, 2016

Jeff Oestreich, Come Dancing with Me Cup, 2016

 

Lauria writes, “Oestreich has developed his glazes in direct response to the colors he experiences in his surroundings: dark greens of the pine tree forest, ochre hues from the wheat fields, and ‘a turquoise grey of the sky as a storm sweeps across the fields.’ ”

Some pieces in the show reflect a politically liberal, some would say “left”, viewpoint, especially those by artists W. A. Ehren Tool, Mara Superior, and Chris Antemann. Antemann also has two large pieces, Garden of Delight and An Occasional Craving, which are whimsical, probing, and clothing optional.

 

Foreground: Chris Antemann, Garden of Delight, 2016; courtesy of Jordan Schnitzer, Portland, Oregon

Foreground: Chris Antemann, Garden of Delight, 2016; courtesy of Jordan Schnitzer, Portland, Oregon

 

Chris Antemann, Garden of Delight (detail), 2016; courtesy of Jordan Schnitzer, Portland, Oregon

Chris Antemann, Garden of Delight (detail), 2016; courtesy of Jordan Schnitzer, Portland, Oregon

 

“Antemann’s work is a mirror reflecting forward, not backward: she skillfully blends historical attitudes of genre roles with 21st century gender politics to whiplash effect,” writes Lauria.

 

Chris Antemann, An Occasional Craving (detail), 2011; courtesy of Arlene and Harold Schnitzer, Portland, Oregon

Chris Antemann, An Occasional Craving (detail), 2011; courtesy of Arlene and Harold Schnitzer, Portland, Oregon

 

Chris Antemann, An Occasional Craving (detail), 2011; courtesy of Arlene and Harold Schnitzer, Portland, Oregon

Chris Antemann, An Occasional Craving (detail), 2011; courtesy of Arlene and Harold Schnitzer, Portland, Oregon

 

The theme for the exhibit is “a sense of place,” which Takayama-Ogawa admits is not a new idea. But she believes the artists’ work reflect their “connection to a rural landscape” and the concept “takes on a fresh and important role in the face of globalization, personal mobility, and virtual worlds.”

 

Mara Superior, Smart Planet: Homage to Science (detail), 2009; courtesy of Ferrin Contemporary

Mara Superior, Smart Planet: Homage to Science, 2009; courtesy of Ferrin Contemporary

 

Throughout her career, Mara Superior has created series bound by a central theme, what Lauria describes as “painted vignettes and descriptive text, creating documents akin to an illustrated haiku.”

 

Mara Superior, Obama White House (detail), 2010; courtesy of Ferrin Contemporary

Mara Superior, Obama White House (detail), 2010; courtesy of Ferrin Contemporary

 

Red Weldon Sandlin’s works come from the tradition of storytelling and “magical… tales.”

“Sandlin’s sense of place originates from the pages between book covers,” writes Lauria.

 

Red Weldon Sandlin, The Chinese QuinTeapots (detail), 2003; courtesy of the Sonny & Gloria Kamm/Kamm Teapot Foundation

Red Weldon Sandlin, The Chinese QuinTeapots (detail), 2003; courtesy of the Sonny & Gloria Kamm/Kamm Teapot Foundation

 

Red Weldon Sandlin, The Chinese QuinTeapots (detail), 2003; courtesy of the Sonny & Gloria Kamm/Kamm Teapot Foundation

Red Weldon Sandlin, The Chinese QuinTeapots (detail), 2003; courtesy of the Sonny & Gloria Kamm/Kamm Teapot Foundation

 

Whether you are an art viewer who likes to delve into meaning and substance or one who is satiated by what one’s eyes see before them, Scripps’ 73rd Ceramic Annual is an experience to relish and treasure.

 

Scripps College 73rd Ceramic Annual
Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery
Through April 9, 2017
251 E. 11 St., Claremont 91711
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
Cost: Free
Find complete details at ScrippsCollege.edu

 

Red Weldon Sandlin, My, What a Big Spout You Have, 2003; courtesy of the Sonny & Gloria Kamm/Kamm Teapot Foundation

Red Weldon Sandlin, My, What a Big Spout You Have, 2003; courtesy of the Sonny & Gloria Kamm/Kamm Teapot Foundation

 

Red Weldon Sandlin, My, What a Big Spout You Have, 2003; courtesy of the Sonny & Gloria Kamm/Kamm Teapot Foundation

Red Weldon Sandlin, My, What a Big Spout You Have, 2003; courtesy of the Sonny & Gloria Kamm/Kamm Teapot Foundation

 

Background: W. A. Ehren Tool, 400, of Thousands, 2016. Foreground: Anna Silver, Plate #10, 2016

Background: W. A. Ehren Tool, 400, of Thousands, 2016. Foreground: Anna Silver, Plate #10, 2016

 

W. A. Ehren Tool, 400, of Thousands (detail), 2016

W. A. Ehren Tool, 400, of Thousands (detail), 2016

 

W. A. Ehren Tool, 400, of Thousands, 2016

W. A. Ehren Tool, 400, of Thousands, 2016

 

Ehren Tool was a Marin veteran in the first Gulf War in 1991. Once his tour of duty was completed, he used the G. I. Bill to fund his study of art and ceramics, attending USC and UC Berkeley for his undergraduate and graduate degrees.

“The cups in this show,” Tool states, “were made in America, but have images from my war in the Middle East, my father’s in Vietnam, and my grandfather’s war in the Pacific. We all carry our stories and they echo on.”

 

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W. A. Ehren Tool, 400, of Thousands, 2016

 

W. A. Ehren Tool, 400, of Thousands, 2016

W. A. Ehren Tool, 400, of Thousands, 2016

 

Porntip Sangvanich, Untitled #8 (detail), 2016

Porntip Sangvanich, Untitled #8 (detail), 2016

 

Sangvanich was born and raised in Thailand. Wishing for a “progressive approach,” she came to Los Angeles in 1982 to attend Otis College of Art and Design.

Jo Lauria writes: “Sangvanich carried with her the Thai sensibility of color and pattern—saturated, rich colors that endured in the perpetual sunshine, and complex dynamic patterns that evolved from centers of sophisticated textile design.”

 

Porntip Sangvanich, Untitled #8 (detail), 2016

Porntip Sangvanich, Untitled #8 (detail), 2016

 

Mara Superior, Obama White House, 2010; courtesy of Ferrin Contemporary

Mara Superior, Obama White House, 2010; courtesy of Ferrin Contemporary

 

Michael Sherrill, Heavy with Love, 2003

Michael Sherrill, Heavy with Love, 2003

 

Michael Sherrill, Heavy with Love, 2003

Michael Sherrill, Heavy with Love, 2003

 

 




5 Responses for “Stunning Ceramics at Scripps”

  1. Red Weldon Sandlin says:

    Lovely article and thank you for all the photos…one thing..I think you may have transposed something. from Diego..I am not from a publeo and my name is Sandlin, not Sandman…I am also a she…not a he.
    Other than that it is wonderful and thank you.

    The Scripps Catalog got something wrong too . I grew up in Kentucky not Georgia. I live in Georgia now.

    Oh well,my biography just gets more interesting.

  2. Kat Ward says:

    Dear Ms. Sandlin: Our sincere apologies for the errors! We’ve corrected “Sandman” to Sandlin and “his” to her. Is the Scripps catalogue incorrect about you being inspired in part by the oral traditions of Pueblo ancestors? If so, we will eliminate that from the text. And, yes, interesting how one’s biography can become more colorful in the hands of others! (But we would like to correct the record as you see fit.)

  3. Red Weldon Sandlin says:

    I am not from a Pueblo. That would be Diego.

    The catalog has everything in there except the part where I grew up. That would be Owensboro, Kentucky. I live in Georgia now.

    Thank you so much for correcting this. I am so grateful.

  4. Kat Ward says:

    Ah, I see. Thank you for that clarification. We have updated the article to reflect this. And thank you for your participation in the exhibit. Your work is truly outstanding. I enjoyed greatly “Oolong Tails Rolling Circus,” too. Magical and intriguing, all of your pieces. Best wishes to you.

  5. Chris Darrow says:

    In the mid-sixties, I helped put together the Annual Ceramic show at Scripps College, with ceramic instructor, Paul Soldner. The show has always been great and a large number of well known ceramists have come though the doors of Scripps, both teachers and students. My father, Paul Darrow, taught at Scripps for 50 years and was head of the art department for a time. My mother had attended Scripps, as well.

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