One thing that curator Matilda McQuaid made clear during her lecture at W + K several months ago on her recent exhibition of industrial textile design at Cooper-Hewitt, is that industry is far ahead of art in pushing the material limits of a medium. The newest exhibition at Lewis & Clark College's Hoffman Gallery touches on the use of technology in ceramics, another media whose high-tech industrial applications rarely enter the realm of art. Though one could easily pull together a show of industrial ceramic products analogous to McQuaid's Extreme Textiles, L&C curator Linda Tesner has focused instead on how ceramic artists incorporate technology within their practice. The majority of artists in the show are relatively unknown, but the list includes work by Richard Notkin, whose post-apocalyptic wall tiles can be seen in PAM's new wing. There will also be work by Garth Johnson, who writes a very good crafty culture/design blog and makes work that perverts traditional ceramic ware, using the same high-low clash exploited by 2003 Turner prize winner and transvestite ceramist Grayson Perry.
A quick web search on the other artists leads me to believe that I won't be seeing much influence from the kinds of industrial materials that I find so intriguing and full of potential. Regardless, the exhibition brings up some interesting questions about how technology is advancing even what we consider the most elemental of materials and art practices. In the realm of art, where the notion of progress seems to be merely a Modernist fantasy, it's interesting to consider how technology still carries an aura of progress and advancement.
The New Utilitarian: Examining Our Place on the Motherboard of Ceramics
Opening Reception • Thursday, January 19 • 5 to 7p
Lewis & Clark College Hoffman Gallery• 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road • Tel. 503.768.7687
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