Special Features

March Issue 2001

Figuration In Clay: A Collection

McMaster Gallery, Department of Art, College of Liberal Art, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, from Feb. 15 through Mar. 31, 2001

The exhibition was also offered in conjunction with the National Council on the Education for the Ceramic Arts' (NCECA) Annual Conference taking place in Charlotte, NC, from Mar. 28 through Mar. 31.

Essays and Photographs from the Exhibition Catalogue

(Photographs - choose these links: [ | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | ] )


by Mana Hewitt, Exhibition Curator and McMaster Gallery Director

This exhibit evolved from an invitation to a Christmas drop-in three years ago. We all associate the holidays with feasts but never in this world did I expect such a feast for my eyes as I would encounter that evening. My hosts' collection of artwork was all encompassing. Work in every scale and media were represented, but one common thread ran throughout the collection, an interest in figurative works. The works I have selected for this exhibition represent a mere aperitif of this collection. They have been chosen as examples of the figurative ceramic sculpture movement.

This movement sprang from a revival of interest in figurative art that developed in the late 1970s when artists put forth the notion that art could be more openly communicative than in the styles in vogue after World War II. This new movement coincided with developments in ceramics that elevated clay from crafts material to that of sculpture. Since that time ceramic sculpture has evolved into an accepted artform.

With this exhibition I seek to engage the viewer with a selection of figurative sculpture exploring many different processes and concepts. The works are arranged in the following categories: Small Figures, Busts (three different approaches to the human head), Groups, Other Cultures (work by artists from foreign lands), Aspects of the Figure (portions of the figure), Anthropomorphic Figures, (animals or things that possess human characteristics) and Variations Upon a Theme (work that defies categorization). Come journey through this collection and experience both the pleasures of the eye and the mind.

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