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, Missouri
July 28 - September 22, 2002
The Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts (The Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts), 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 Art Division.
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"
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" D: 16"