The Sisson Gallery presents an exhibition of figurative ceramics featuring the work of Benjamin Lambert (MI), Clayton Keyes (UT) and Luke Huling (IN). Each of these artists utilize the medium of clay to address issues of the human psyche.
Reception: Monday, October 16, 2017, 4:30 – 7 p.m.
Special Event, Visiting Artist Presentations: On Monday, October 16, 2017, 9:30 a.m, - 3:30 p.m., F163 (HFC Ceramics Lab)
Ben Lambert and Clayton Keyes will both be doing demos and discussing how they do their work and the inspirations behind what they do.
Benjamin is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Design at Alma College in Alma, Michigan. He grew up in the small, rural town of Greene, Maine, spending time exploring the woods and rivers around his home. In 2008 he received a B.F.A. with a concentration in ceramics from the University of Southern Maine. Between schooling, he maintained an active studio practice in Portland, Maine. In 2010, he worked as a summer staff member at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, in Newcastle, Maine. He completed an MFA in Ceramics and Sculpture at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA in 2015.
He has assisted artists during workshops at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine, and most recently at Arrowmont School of Art and Craft in Gatlinburg, TN. He was also a participant as a resident in the second annual Arrowmont Pentaculum. He exhibits his work nationally, and his work has been selected for the Zanesville Prize Exhibition as well as other national juried exhibitions.
My hand-built ceramic sculptures take the form of stylized figures and animals that express the relationship between humans and the natural world. I explore the narrative potential that figures have when paired with unlikely objects. Surreal combinations of animal and machine, pop and rustic, and familiar with the strange are some particular binary relationships that I explore through my work. I strive to evoke disturbing, curious, or uncanny imagery through unnatural groupings or juxtapositions. These pairings question the conflicts and opportunities that are inherently in myself, society, science, and culture. Humor –although strange and uncanny- is used as a hook, inviting my audience to look at something more serious than initially implied by my playfully articulated works.
Current day and historical environmental issues influence the work I make. I grew up on a 14-mile stretch of the Androscoggin River in Maine that requires an oxygen bubbler to prevent the fish from suffocating. Because of this, I foster environmental awareness. Having lived in proximity to a river that has been partially revitalized, but is still on life support, inspires me to research global environmental problems and models for solutions. This research guides me to the persons involved in environmental conflicts, and ultimately informs the iconography and characters that inhabit my work.
Clayton's work tells stories that are human, relatable, and strive to leave some mark on the viewer through communicating an emotional narrative. Clayton earned his MFA from the University of Tulsa in 2011. He exhibits and teaches workshops at colleges, universities, ceramic centers and conferences, nationally. Clayton is currently the Area Head of the Ceramics Program and Chair of the Art Department at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah.
I'm a Oklahoma boy living in the inter-mountain west.
I'm a gay kid from the bible belt.
I want my work to indelibly touch you.
My work stems from a lifetime spent exploring the human form. This provides for my fascination with it as subject. I investigate the human figure in order to trigger emotional responses in the viewer: Ultimately, my pursuit of exploring and portraying the emotions elicited by strife and oppression come from an urge to impress upon the viewer the experiences of the oppressed and to draw from them empathy for such. The duality of my feelings about humanity are mirrored in my treatment of the form. Just as I strive to imbue figures with narratives and emotions that may be difficult to confront, I equally endeavor to make the rendering of the figure visually stimulating and even alluring. This effect of simultaneous attraction and repulsion, causes mixed emotions towards my work. My wish is for the viewer to be confronted with and experience this conflict, as it is this conflict that allows me to indelibly affect them.
It’s a notion that has been swirling through my head; at work, at home, in culture at large. How we identify ourselves is no longer so black and white. In an effort to more fully internalize the fluidity of the concept of gender and how I can relate/interact with those not identifying within the gender binary, I created the body of work; Identify. Even while producing this work, I find myself struggling to step outside the social constructs. Some may say this work doesn’t go far enough. They may notice that the bulk of the busts in this body are physically male looking. But I think that is my point; that we can no longer make those assumptions, that someone may present as male, and do so as their choice, but not identify as such. It’s a beautiful thing. These busts are my record of my progress in understanding of the gender spectrum and my ability to think outside my own versions of the societal gender constructs.
Luke Huling is a figurative sculptor from Harrisburg Pennsylvania. He graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in May of 2014 and received his BFA in ceramics and a minor in metalsmithing. For two years following undergrad Luke was the long-term resident at The LUX Center for the Arts in Lincoln Nebraska, teaching throwing, hand building, and introductory metals classes. Currently Luke is attending Indiana University in their MFA program located in Bloomington, Indiana. He continues to use clay and metal and combines them together in mixed media sculptures.
I have always felt a connection with the elderly. When I was a child my grandmother moved into my parent’s house after developing Alzheimer’s. I watched her change from a modest Wheel of Fortune loving grandmother to a story telling, spontaneous, swearing little old lady. She would tell me stories about her life; sneaking out of her parent’s house to go swing dancing, and her first job as a roller at a cigar factory.
Her disease was devastating, but one thing I’ve come to realize are the people who suffer with Alzheimer’s have a new ability to open up, and most of them hold very little back. Their stories inspire my work and I create these pieces as a reminder of the people I’ve met and how they have influenced me. I want the viewer to focus on the elements that tell the story. Through traditional and experimental ceramic finishes and hand fabricated metal details I exaggerate features and expressions to capture fleeting moments of memory and convey personality.
Questions? Contact the Director of Exhibitions, Steve Glazer, at 313-845-6485 or via email at email@example.com.