An exhibit of work by nine ceramists from the Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana opens Tuesday, Jan. 24, with a 2:30 p.m. artists’ reception at Northwest Gallery in Powell.
This is the ninth year Red Lodge Clay Center ceramists have exhibited at NWC, bringing together artists with distinct styles from disparate parts of the country.
The exhibit titled “Red Lodge Clay Center” is a combination of functional and decorative ceramics that includes both wheel-thrown and hand built pieces.
Featured resident artists this year are Allison Cochran, Matt Fiske, Raven Halfmoon, Joyce St. Clair Voltz and Lars Voltz.
Viewers will find a spectrum of work that stretches from functional to purely fun and from colorful to rustic.
Cochran, a native to Cincinnati, Ohio, creates work “as a way to question the contemporary standards our culture has set through the influence of media.” She said she’s interested in the way advertising images affect society’s subconscious ideas about gender characteristics and body image. She is currently creating porcelain vessels designed to illustrate the act of self-control over food.
Fiske grew up in southern Indiana, but his art is heavily influenced by his ceramic studies in China and Korea. Concentrating on the history and technology of Chinese porcelain, his work explores the intersection of ceramics, chemistry and geology. “In the end, I strive to integrate my desire to make utilitarian pottery with a love of materials and nature,” he said.
Halfmoon hails from Oklahoma and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in ceramics, painting and cultural anthropology from the University of Arkansas. Her work includes sculptures that seek to clarify how people define and reference themselves within specific communities. She said she uses her anthropology research to inform her art and to physically manifest intricate concepts of identity.
Joyce St. Clair Voltz, originally from Bedford, Texas, creates work drawing upon the experience she received while studying contemporary art in Australia, Cuba, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand. A theme of “robust femininity” informs the relationship between form and surface texture in her work. “I am manipulating the language of porcelain pottery by employing exaggerated volumes and gestures to convey the material’s strength and durability as opposed to delicacy,” she said. Joyce St. Clair and her fiancé, Lars Voltz, currently serve as long-term residents at the Red Lodge Clay Center.
Lars Voltz, a native of Bemidji, Minnesota, said he believes in cultivating a sense of material ruggedness in his artwork. “Recognizing the diverse and active role geologic features have in contemporary existence informs the conceptual decision making as well as scale, form and surface in my work,” he said. Lars Voltz has studied, lectured and exhibited his artwork around the world.
Also contributing to the exhibit are Red Lodge Clay Center staffers Jenn Cole, Ernest Forward, David Hiltner and Sean O’Connell.
The Red Lodge Clay Center exhibit is displayed through Friday, Feb. 24, in Northwest Gallery. Located in the Cabre Building on the Northwest College campus, the gallery is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays and Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m. Admission is free.