Juxtaclay exhibition showcases contrasting styles of student ceramic artwork
The University Art Gallery is hosting the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Spring 2012 Exhibition featuring the work of two students with vastly different approaches to ceramics.
The exhibit, Juxtaclay, features the works of Mount Pleasant senior Meghan Borland and Utica senior Stephanie Galli. The gallery will be open until May 5, on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The exhibit is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
At the reception and artist talk Saturday, Galli said the title is a play on the words “juxtaposition” and “clay” and speaks to the differences between her and Borland’s works. Galli said by putting her and Borland’s contrasting styles side by side, the audience can better appreciate both of the artists.
“I think that is exactly what juxtaposition does,” Galli said. “It makes the features of both works more prominent.”
Galli’s work is heavily focused on aesthetic pleasure, and centers around modern adaptations of traditional forms of ceramics. Galli said the goal of her work is to be desirable to look at.
“I realized that they (her art) were very similar to the female form, and upon pondering it, I realized that I’ve always had this interest in high fashion and artforms that were very beautiful,” she said. “And I wanted to make something similar.”
Galli’s works are intricate, but also rely on simplicity. She said her favorite piece she made is a slipcast porcelain mold, which features a single gold line contrasted by a white background. She said simplicity is essential in her work.
“It’s simple, but its design needs to be simple, or it gets loud and busy,” Galli said. “Something that is pleasurable to look at can’t get loud and busy.”
Borland’s work is completely different from Galli’s work in both its form and its purpose. Borland’s ceramic pieces defy tradition and are conceptual in their form. Her works are closely connected with the natural world, and she said she wanted to reconnect her audience to the natural world with her works.
“Our connection and understanding of the pure form of nature is lost,” Borland said.
Borland said a common reaction to her work is surprise, because while she uses materials common for ceramics, she uses them in surprising and original ways. One of her works, titled “The Schematics of Nature,” was composed of several pieces of clay from the Chippewa River covered in moss. Borland spent months growing the moss herself, which she said took a large amount of effort.
“For the moss to grow on it, I needed distilled water, because the chemicals of substances in the Chippewa River make it impossible to grow,” Borland said. “I have to mimic the environment completely just for a simple organism to grow, which is something we never think about.”
Another one of Borland’s pieces was composed of a small room with plaster molds of leaves covering the floor. The audience is allowed and encourage to walk on and crack the molds.
“We step on leaves all the time in the fall, but we never have a reaction to it,” Borland said. “That is what I hoped to bring.”
Ryan Heisler, a Mount Pleasant resident and a former student at CMU, said he was impressed by the exhibit and the amount of dedication the artists displayed.
“It’s very evident the amount of hard work they put into this exhibit,” Hesler said. “You can see the passion involved.”
Mount Pleasant freshman Connor Berglund, who is studying 2D art, said he was amazed by the ceramics in the exhibit.
“These are all beautifully crafted, formally solid and they’re treated well,” Berglund said.
He said the exhibit will cause him to branch out into three dimensional art forms.
“I have been really inspired by the 3D art,” Berglund said. “It’s different than a painting where it’s just on a canvas. I like how you can make something real.”
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