Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mei-Tai: an Exhibition of Ceramics

From March 31st until April 27th, 2008, Bliss Hall Gallery at YSU will be hosting a show of small scale ceramics. The work was created by YSU students and in 2007 was sent to the National Taiwan University of Art, Department of Craft and Design, in Biancou, to be displayed with the work of students from that university. The work is now back with the additional work of the Taiwanese students.
The Chairperson of the show, Po-Hsien Lin, describes the criteria for the show in the catalog stating: "The exhibition features small scale work that would fit within the dimensions of a shoe box. Convenience for transport was one of the important considerations. Additionally we encouraged our students to express the delicacy of ceramic creations using a limited quantity of material".
It is a privilege to see work from the Orient where ceramic art and technology reached the highest level in world history. It has also been great to see the talents demonstrated by YSU students who have access to one of the finest ceramic studios in America, namely the YSU Ceramics Department. Michael Moseley, Head of this department, deserves an immense amount of credit for his vision and efforts with the students.
Overall the show tends toward sublime beauty, featuring traditional work that is skillfully built and glazed. For me, the most aesthetically pleasing piece is by Johanna George entitled "Canopic Jar for Preserved Bluetooth". This a finely crafted Earthenware vessel is reminiscent of ancient Egyptian Funerary pottery. It is delicately glazed and has the appearance of fine porcelain. I enjoy the concept of our modern technology placed in the context of ancient artifact. Also I understand that Miss George made the wonderful strawberry shortcake that was served at the opening last night. Whether her art is baked in kiln or oven, she is definitely of substantial talent.
There is however, and artist who takes and extreme divergence from the traditional ceramic approaches presented in this show. My favorite work and obviously the most intellectually and spiritually challenging piece is by Jess Adkins. Entitled "Saint (insustainable) George W. Bush with Service and Sacrifice Rosary". An Earthenware figure of George Bush, painted in acrylic, wrapped at the waist with and American flag, bottle of oil in one hand and pistol in the other, looms over a child's toy battlefield surrounded by toy "army men" rendered in porcelain. A handmade Rosary, painted in "camouflage" style, encircles this diorama.
Congratulations to Brian Misavage, Curator of this show and YSU
student, for his successes. His emissary work on International levels has done Youngstown and all of us a tremendous amount of good.

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