In the center of the EWU Art Building lies a gallery of ceramic sculptures submitted by 16 different artists from across the country for the community to observe.
This is the Two by Two art exhibition, a presentation done every two years to showcase some of the more interesting work done by ceramic artists.
“By creating sculpture in an intimate small scale, I want the viewer to take the time to examine the details,” said ceramic artist Diane Sullivan.
The exhibition began in 2003 when Nancy Hathaway, gallery director, and Lisa Nappa, EWU professor of ceramics, started talking about a variety of exhibits for EWU students to see art in more ways than just photographs. This prompted Hathaway to send out more than 750 postcards to colleges and universities across the country, to advertise for a new ceramic sculpture exhibition.
“We’re so isolated here that most of the work [students] see are images,” said Hathaway. “It’s really great for them to see the actual work of art, rather than seeing one view from one side. They can walk around it and actually experience the work in person. There really isn’t any substitute for being able to do that.”
One thing that sets the Two By Two apart from others is that it is a juried exhibition. Artists that wish to have their work put on display must be overlooked by this year’s judge, Jae Won Lee, a graduate of New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Lee then selects the best works submitted to be put on display.
“There is a certain delight and comfort to be found in the playfulness and predictability in [my] work,” said ceramic artist Joe Page. “The optimistic feelings do not exist without an underlying current of skepticism: This is what drives us to keep looking.”
This will be the sixth year of the exhibit, with over 18 different works of ceramic sculptures, including rusted chains made out of what looks like wood and a twisted frame that looks like three chairs melted together.
“What intrigues me is how I merge myself into the object,” said ceramic artist Sharon Brill. “How I steep myself into the process to create spontaneously and intuitively, opening the layers, in search for what lies behind the overt, what is hidden within.”
Ceramics art is normally made by a heating and cooling process done to a variety of materials, including clay, glass, porcelain and crystals.
“Clay is simply a universal medium,” said ceramic artist Mark Gordon. “Potters’ vessels have formed an essential part of the world’s material culture for millennia.”
While this gallery will end on March 14, the exhibition has progressed further than expected. It has garnered a higher profile among the ceramic community and artists, which has led Hathaway to continue the exhibit indefinitely.
“There are artists that start to watch for it,” said Hathaway. “They expect to see it every two years so they can enter. We have a number of artists
that participate every year. But it does tend to change up quite a bit, so we get a number of artists that have never exhibited with us before.”
By Paul Sell