by Hannah Cruz
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — From delicate butterflies to surreal fish, the works in Firehouse Art Center’s upcoming exhibition all have at least one thing in common: They’re made of clay.
The 2013 National Juried Exhibition CLAY runs until Oct. 19 featuring a variety of fine art pieces that met the main requirement of being made up of at least 75 percent clay.
Guest juror Stuart Asprey, University of Oklahoma ceramics assistant professor, selected a total of 20 works by 14 artists from submissions by 34 artists.
Asprey said the selected works represent a wide range of approaches, techniques and personal narratives. The exhibit will offer those familiar and unfamiliar with ceramics a thought-provoking experience.
“The more that you can experience, the more possibilities you have to grow. I know very few people who say that travel makes you a worse person — usually it benefits the soul in so many different ways,” he said. “When I’m at a show like this, especially a juried show where there is a big range of work, it’s kind of like a voyage from one artists’ mind to another.”
For Firehouse Executive Director Douglas Shaw Elder he said he hopes the exhibit — which includes works that vary from very small to very large and from highly executed traditional pieces to installations — excites viewers about the diversity and innovation within clay and ceramics.
With the level of work represented in the show, Asprey said he doesn’t think that will be a problem.
“I saw the work and was really, really pleased by the wide range of styles and concepts,” he said. “It made me feel good to see there was work that really kind of spanned the horizons of possibilities.”
Selected artists include Norman resident Dan Harris and Oklahomans Barbara Broadwell and Gayle Singer-Farber. Additional artists — Valerie Banes Hancock, Bradley Blair, Jamie Brogdon, Anastasia Gabriel, Kim Louse Glidden, Lucien Koonce, Christopher Leonard, Matthew Mitros, Nathan Nixdorf, Mike Rand and Arthur Towata — represented Texas, Florida, Colorado, Massachusetts, Alabama, Philadelphia and Illinois.
Asprey said a total of $1,500 in awards are available for first and second place submissions as well as four merit awards.
With the artists’ works ranging in price from $85 to $8,000, Asprey said there is a style and price point for every art patron.
In the future, Elder said the Firehouse hopes to host a different juried show each year to foster conversations about creativity and innovation within art.
“With our national juried shows I really hope to highlight what our Oklahoma artists are doing,” Elder said. “...We want to get people excited about showing their work here and also get our artists and patrons and community — we want to show them the exciting things that are going on outside of here.”