The Alfred Asia Connection:

The Asia Alfred Reflection

Organized by the International Museum of Ceramic Art at Alfred and curated by Dr. Margaret Carney, Director and Chief Curator.

September 18 - December 16, 1999

Also on view from May 14 - June 18, 1999, Taipei Events, Chinese Information and Culture Center, in New York City.

Taipei gallery

Since its inception in 1900, the New York State College of Ceramics has had a strong link with Chinese ceramic traditions. The founder of what was then called the New York State School of Clay-Working and Ceramics, Charles Fergus Binns (American, b. England, 1857-1934), made virtuous stoneware vases, jars and bowls that reflected his love of Chinese ceramics. His pots were classic forms, many resembling Qing dynasty monochromes of the 17th and 18th centuries. He used subtle, rich glazes and no decoration, like the Song dynasty forms he admired greatly. From that point in history onwards, the Alfred ceramics program has attracted gifted students with Asian heritage, and has supported creative energies from others that reflect a continuing legacy of strong Asian influence. Several of the most successful Alfred graduates have Asian cultural heritage, including Fong Chow (AU '52 BFA, AU '54 MFA), Ka-Kwong Hui (AU '51 BFA, AU '52 MFA), Yien-koo Wang (AU '58 BFA). In the same way, one pioneer Taiwanese ceramic artist, Mao-Chung Lee, has been affiliated as a visiting artist at Alfred. He was an established artist in his homeland before venturing to study in the West, where he was greatly influenced by contemporary Western ceramics.

The Asia Alfred Collection Taipei Gallery Part 1
Charles Fergus Binns Theodore Randall Val Cushing Ka-Kwong Hui

Charles Fergus Binns

Theodore Randall

Val Cushing

Ka-Kwong Hui

At the same time, Chinese ceramics have greatly influenced the ceramics created by a number of faculty and non-Asian students at Alfred.  A short list of several of the most successful would include Charles Fergus Binns, mentioned previously; Theodore Randall (1914-1985), who received his MFA degree from Alfred in 1949, served as a faculty member and administrator at Alfred for forty years,  and created stoneware vessels reminiscent of Chinese bronzes; Val Cushing (AU '52 BFA, AU '56MFA), who taught at Alfred for forty years until his retirement in 1997, and still creates beautiful functional ceramics in the tradition of sublime Chinese Song dynasty ware; and Wayne Higby, who has taught at Alfred since 1973, and a few years ago began creating  unique porcelain landscapes with minimalist celadon glazes on a slab/clay screen support, with a visible influence seen through his connection with the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute and his exploration of 'things Chinese.'

The Asia Alfred Collection Taipei Gallery Part 2
Fong Chow Yien-Koo Wang King Wayne Higby Mao-Chung Lee

Fong Chow

Yien-Koo Wang King

Wayne Higby

Mao-Chung Lee

These eight artists either immigrated from Asia and studied at Alfred, or are non-Asian and either received their ceramic art training or taught at Alfred. The work of each of these successful individuals reflects direct or indirect Asian connections.  The selected artists have connections with Alfred which span nearly 100 years, from 1900 until the present. Forty ceramic masterpieces will be presented in this special exhibition. An illustrated catalogue is available.