From the Earth: Ceramics in the Apart & Connected Exhibition at MAC, Closes Soon!

Now on view at The Middletown Art Center (MAC), “Apart & Connected” is an exhibition showcasing artwork in a wide array of media, from paintings in oil, wax, and acrylic on canvas, to sculpted clay vessels with various functions. Works in the collection reflect common themes: feelings of change, isolation, new directions, and human connection. The gallery space is energized by bright monumental paintings harmonizing with felted forms alongside the ceramic sculptures, whose heavy-weight and purposeful-shape give feelings of grounding and stability. Be sure to catch the exhibit by June 20th when it closes.

Ceramic work on exhibit in “Apart & Connected” range in function, size, surface, and intention. The common thread is the material and the flame. “Our materials are from the earth,” says Jacque Adams, current resident at CMAEP, “Clay and wood are the bare essentials that create vast results in the firing.”

Multiple ceramic artists participating in the exhibit are associated with Cobb Mountain Art & Ecology Project (CMAEP), founded by Scott Parady. The project hosts an artists-in-residence program that provides opportunities for cooperative moments amongst artists. Practicing and professional ceramicists come from around the country, working alongside Parady to care for the land, create new projects and utilize the ample studio space and kilns. To learn more about Cobb Mountain Art & Ecology Project visit cobbartandecology.org.

Bi-annually, CMAEP artists join together as a team to fire a 250-cubic foot Anagama kiln for a total of 12 days using a mixture of hard and soft-wood sourced from the property. The large-capacity kiln bestows various surface results throughout different zones in the kiln’s chamber. Surface variations can be observed from piece to piece within the exhibition; some vessels became overly saturated in wood ash, which melted and became glaze, other vessels which received just as much ash, but not the highest temperature, are finished with a harder texture of un-melted ash along the form. Every firing gives a different result, due to where the work is placed in the chamber and how the team fires the kiln. “Our end-result is heavily dependent on one another, which is unique for art-making. This distinct quality attracts us to wood firing and the community keeps us coming back,” says Adams.

Vessels in the exhibit showcase the wide range of textures, color and artistic approaches that can result from such a laborious firing and diverse group of artists.  The presence of these varying clay vessels reinforms the themes of Apart & Connected through process and materiality. Viewing the work in person is highly encouraged, as it allows for details unseen to the camera lens.

“Apart & Connected” will be on view through June 20, at the Middletown Art Center. The gallery is open 5 days a week, Thursday-Monday 10:30am-5pm.

MAC activities are in full swing! To find out more about upcoming events, programs, opportunities, and ways to support the MAC’s efforts to weave the arts and culture into the fabric of life in Lake County visit us at middletownartcenter.org​.

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