A Ceramic Continuum:
Fifty Years of the Archie Bray Influence
Organized by the Holter Museum
of Art in Helena, Montana
Tour development by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, Kansas City,
July 28 - September 22, 2002
The Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts (http://www.archiebray.org/),
located in Helena, Montana celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2001.
To honor this milestone, the Holter Museum of Art, in cooperation
with the Archie Bray Foundation, has organized a major in-depth
exhibition drawn from the Foundation's permanent collection, which
numbers over 800 objects. The Archie Bray Foundation is a public
non-profit educational institution dedicated to the enrichment of
the ceramic arts. The primary mission of the Foundation is its arts
residency program, which allows students and professionals to create
in private studios while contributing to one another's development
through the sharing of ideas and techniques. Situated on the grounds
of a former brick manufacturing plant owned by the late Archie Bray,
the Foundation has attracted clay artists world wide who have flourished
in an atmosphere that encourages experimentation and growth. The
Foundation's alumni now number over 300 artists. They include studio
potters, faculty who guide ceramic art programs at distinguished
colleges and universities, and artists whose work is exhibited and
collected by museums nationwide.
This residency program has been the breeding ground
for many emerging artists who have gone on to establish international
careers in the field of contemporary ceramic art. These include
Val Cushing, John and Andrea Gill, Wayne Higby, Clary Illian, Warren
McKenzie, Richard Notkin, Linda Sikora, and Akio Takamori. All have
made important contributions in the field and had considerable influence
in contemporary ceramics.
The Foundation's permanent collection is of growing
importance. The ceramics in the collection range from utilitarian
pottery, sculptural vessels, and large-scale architectural sculpture.
The collection includes ceramics from past resident artists, as
well as historical pieces and works from visiting artists, including
the pottery featured in this exhibition by world-renowned craftsmen
Bernard Leach from England and Shoji Hamada from Japan. The selection
also includes significant work from all of the past resident directors
of the Foundation: Rudy Autio, David Cornell, Ken Ferguson, Carol
Roorbach, David Shaner, Kurt Weiser, Peter Voulkos, as well as work
from Josh DeWeese, the current resident director. The enduring visual
legacy is unparalleled in today's world of art.
The showing here in Alfred is part of a 16 city
national tour over a four year period, developed and managed by
Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company
in Kansas City, Missouri.
We are planning a number of events that will take
place in Alfred during September 2002, in conjunction with this
exhibit: the groundbreaking for the new museum building, a gala
dinner at which the Charles Fergus Binns Medal will be awarded for
2002, and workshops sponsored by the School of Art and Design, Ceramic
Perspective from Alfred
The Archie Bray Foundation is a place where those
who have learned about the materials of ceramics, who have gained
expertise in kiln building or glazes or clay bodies, can go to concentrate
on their work. To develop their work. To test their ideas. Its directors,
including Alfred grads Ken Ferguson, Dave Shaner, David Cornell,
Carol Roorbach, and Josh DeWeese, have kept true to its vision,
enabling ceramic artists to find "support and inspiration there."
It was important that this exhibit come to this
museum, as a way to reinforce the ties between "The Bray"
and Alfred, and to celebrate the many artists who have either studied
or taught at Alfred and who were residents at The Bray. As Alfred
graduates began experimenting with new approaches to what ceramic
art could be, The Bray embraced those ideas, engaging artists who
challenged the limits of clay. The Bray, like Alfred, has also been
a place to "make pots" - reaffirming the importance of
studio pottery as a form of artistic expression.
Like the Archie Bray Foundation Collections, the
Alfred Ceramic Art Museum's collections,
specifically the Gloryhole Collection, reflects evolutionary work
of artists who have gained increasing recognition. Twenty four of
the artists represented in this exhibition studied or taught at
Alfred - an indication of the strong ties between The Bray and Alfred,
connections which are made through many of the people important
to The Bray's fifty year history.
Rudy Autio, (American,
b. 1926), Woodstack, 1995, stoneware, H: 29"
W: 24-1/2" D: 20".
Josh DeWeese, (American,
b. 1963), Bottle, 1989, wood-fired stoneware, H: 18"
W: 6-1/2" D: 6-1/2"
Ken Ferguson, (American,
b. 1938), Plate, 1965, stoneware, H: 3-1/4" W: 15"
Sarah Jaeger, (American),
Covered Jar, 1987, porcelain, H: 12" W: 11-1/2"
David Shaner, American
(1934-2002), Platter, 1970, stoneware, H: 2-1/2" W: 16"