The Stanley School Programs Contemporary Ceramics Collection features works in clay by living artists, encompassing everything from bowls, vessels, and plates to sculptural works. Plates by artists like Bede Clark, Suzanne Stephenson, and Ron Meyers, employ huge variety of techniques, surface finishes, and decorative approaches. Painted ceramic tiles by Tewa artist Jason Garcia tell stories from his people’s history, showing a contemporary approach to traditional pottery making from New Mexico. Other highlights include brightly colored sushi plates by Dan Anderson inspired by Japanese baseball cards, a modernist painter’s take on Japanese yunomi by Kurt Weiser, and head-jar inspired vessels by Ryan Myers.
Over the last few generations artists working in clay have shattered traditional roles by refusing to accept that making functional work sealed your status as a craftsman. As these artists have willingly accepted the challenge of making works that confront the styles, techniques, and subjects of “high arts” like painting and sculpture, they have blurred the lines between art and craft. Because our teaching emphasizes inquiry and discovery, students will engage with these objects and with the ideas that they represent through dialogue and hands-on opportunities. Using these strategies alongside the Contemporary Ceramics collection invites students to engage with concepts of aesthetic quality, hierarchies within the arts, and the many varied processes, techniques, and materials that clay artists employ.
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