NWC News Desk

Red Lodge Clay Center artists in residence on hand for Jan. 23 opening reception at Northwest Gallery

Posted January 16, 2008

P O W E L L, W y o. - Works by five ceramists from the Red Lodge Clay Center will be displayed Wednesday, Jan. 23, through Friday, Feb. 8, at Northwest Gallery in Powell. The exhibit opens with an artists' reception at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Collectively, their works showcase some of the multiple concepts that can be communicated through clay, ranging from pieces blanketed in netting to one that looks like it was morphed from a Monopoly board. The artists featured are David Hiltner, executive director of the Red Lodge Clay Center, and four artists in residence: Dawn Holder, Stephanie Lanter, Frank Saliani and Tara Wilson.

Hilter holds degrees from Wichita State University in Kansas and Syracuse University in New York. His teaching career includes classes taught at both his alma maters as well as at Northwest College and the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

Rural landscapes and fishing experiences are major influencers on Hiltner's ceramics. "I also love to fish," he said. "Mostly, I love to catch fish and put them back. My wife says I just love to pet fish. It's the ones that get away that keep me coming back. Fish create uncertainty and I believe there must be a sense of uncertainty in a creative act. Uncertainty leads to questions, questions to answers. Uncertainty and anticipation are made worthwhile when there is a question answered by a successful piece."

Artist-in-residence Dawn Holder holds degrees from the University of Georgia in Athens and the Rhode Island School of Design. In Georgia, she was the founding director of the Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, taught at Atlanta's Abernathy Art Center and the Epstein School, co-directed the Ballroom Studios Alternative Art Space and was artist in residence at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.

Describing her art, Holder says, "In my work I seek to unfurl the connections between childhood memory and adult fantasy; the emergence of sexuality and the loss of innocence; longing and owning; the rift between past and present; dream and reality; comfort and discomfort." She says the house is a reoccurring emblem in her current sculptural work because "it is the stage upon which all of these struggles and transformations are played out."

Stephanie Lanter, in addition to the Red Lodge Clay Center, has also completed residencies at the Anderson Ranch and Mendocino Art Center in California. She was the first Jentel Critic at the Bray in Helena, Mont., and taught at Wichita State University.

She says spiders, dreams and a crocheted blanket are just some of the inspirations for her ceramics. "We would never call them obsessive, but spiders, to regain energy lost from spinning, often consume strands of their own webs. The thread between self construction and destruction is delicate and tenuous." That's a thread she explores in her work, saying she's compelled by repetitive motion and rhythm, like carving, polishing and crocheting. "The patterns of our yearnings can be humorous and graceful. More so, they shape our survival."

Frank Saliani, after receiving degrees from Syracuse University and Ohio University, taught ceramics at numerous clay centers, arts and crafts schools and universities in Colorado, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

"My current body of work is an investigation of the form that thought takes through an investigation of form itself," Saliani said. "This investigation stems from an interest in the structures of both the natural world and our own. I have developed a system of forms that I combine in order to examine the relationships and patterns that occur through their formal interaction. These forms make up the constituents of a given set and the viewer can prescribe whatever symbolic meaning they wish to these constituent parts and the sets as a whole."

The fourth artist in residence, Tara Wilson received her degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee. Named a 2004 Emerging Artist by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, Wilson was a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Mont., before beginning her residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center. She's taught numerous workshops around the country and has been recognized in many ceramics publications.

"My pots speak of my passions," Wilson said, "while at the same time allowing the user to recognize the important things in their own lives. While the surfaces of the vessels represent the natural world, the forms often relate to the figure. Pottery's inherent relationship to the figure is accentuated in my gestural forms. The dialog between the forms changes as the pieces are used.

The Red Lodge Clay Center exhibit is displayed through Friday, Feb. 8 in Northwest Gallery. Located in the Cabre Building, the gallery is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. Admission is free.