Four Ceramic Artists slide talk at Bunnell, Nov. 8
5:30 to 6:30 pm, in person, open to all
Amanda Gentry, Zoë Powell, Cynthia Morelli and Heidi Kreitchet are each working on ceramic sculpture in a six week long residency in Cynthia’s studio. Each artist will speak for 15 minutes about their work in this slide talk.
For six weeks, four visual artists are working sculpturally in clay toward a five day wood firing in Cynthia Morelli’s studio and anagama style kiln on the hill above Homer. Cynthia and three invited artists from the lower 48, Amanda Gentry, Zoë Powell and Heidi Kreitchet are sharing a studio as peer mentors for the first time in this artist-driven Alaska residency. They will speak about their work, share images, and discuss what they are experiencing during this time of working side by side.
Amanda Gentry (b.1973, Long Beach, California) is a Chicago-based sculptor working in clay. Her work is the result of dedication to form, material, and process, driven by a determination to reveal what is essential at the exclusion of the non-essential. She is the recipient of both a Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) grant, whose work is in private collections and exhibited in galleries, academic institutions, and museums nationwide. Gentry received a BFA in Design with a minor in Sculpture from Boston University.
Artist Statement: My studio practice is a discipline through which I pursue embodiment, yielding a deeper sense of the spiritual as it relates to the body. I create to silent the mind—mine and those who experience my work. I start with simplicity of form, a terse quality of line, an elementary interplay between positive and negative space, and a surface that is completed only when it is touched. I leave most of my work unglazed and sand the surface down to a satiny, matte finish so that it feels unexpectedly soft, knowing that in sanding it, the surface becomes porous and susceptible to receiving whatever may be on the hands of those who touch it. The work itself comes to embody the concepts of vulnerability and impermanence, reflecting back to the viewer (and the maker) the tenuous grasp we have of our own experience.
Zoë Powell makes sculptural vessels describing relationships and the transience of emotion. In 2018 she opened Studio Alluvium, a gallery and native clay production studio she co-founded with her partner Mitch Iburg in St. Paul, Minnesota. She graduated from the College of William & Mary in 2016 with a B.A. in Fine Arts and a B.S. in Biology. Her work has been exhibited in various galleries around the United States and Europe.
Artist Statement: My ceramic sculptures serve as conceptual explorations of human emotions. Themes that work on both the material and ideological scale appeal to me; themes like tension, fragility, and imbalance are especially attractive. I’m concerned with how internal factors, like psychological and physical sickness, influence the body’s external appearance. I have a fascination with biological development and strive to incorporate a feeling of skeletal structure in all my pieces. The figurative additions are abstractions that manifest themselves in small sections of my work, but do not form a whole, traditional figure. I emphasize certain areas with false bones, tendons, and veins to give my sculptures the appearance of gauntness and stress. I find great beauty in underlying structures pushing through to the surface of the skin. In all my work, the clay is finessed and often driven to extreme levels of attenuation.
Many of my sculptures represent two forms pulling away from, or compressing against, each other. They act as metaphors for human relationships that are based on impending separation or forced attachment. Many people find the development of relationships to be a source of anxiety, and I attempt to express this interactive struggle through the physical movement of the clay.
Heidi Kreitchet Beginning in 1999, at Northern Arizona University under the direction of Don Bendel, and Jason Hess, Kreitchet explored wood firing for the next five years. After graduation, Kreitchet was fortunate to assist renowned ceramic artist Don Reitz. During the two year assistantship in Clarkdale, Arizona, working and living on “the ranch” was a challenging experience for Kreitchet—physically, mentally, and spiritually. By watching and absorbing Reitz’s skillful techniques with hand building, Kreitchet was inspired to push her own ideas with clay.
Kreitchet went on to receive her MFA at Utah State University under the guidance of John Neely and Dan Murphy in May of 2009. For ten years, she was the Studio Director at AMOCA Ceramics Studio in Pomona, CA. Currently Kreitchet is a studio artist focusing primarily on painting and sculpture.
Artist Statement: I am interested in creating work that expresses my exploration of clay bodies, form, and line. This interaction between the malleable, versatile clay is informed by my immediate reaction to the physical quality of the material. My emotional, intuitive, and physical reaction to handling and manipulating the clay provides the pieces with passion, power, animation, and elasticity.
Cynthia Morelli received her BFA (1986) from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred, where Tony Hepburn guided her to unlearn preconceptions about what she could do with clay. After graduating, Morelli spent five years living in Japan, three of those years with a Cultural Visa studying Butoh and calligraphy. She has been a studio artist in Homer, Alaska since 1993, exhibiting around the state and nationally. Morelli was awarded a Rasmusson Foundation Fellowship in 2020.
Artist Statement: To my mind, my work suggests associations that become metaphors for my physical body. Sometimes I shelter delicate porcelain forms within a thick, coarse stoneware exterior. This gentle nestling is a protective embrace, much as my internal organs and soft viscera are held in suspension in the cavity of my pelvis, spine, ribs and shoulders. Working within this small-stature female frame, I search for a definition of “female” in my sculpture and drawing that is raw, impulsive, explosive and exuberant: formidable enough to survive, thrive and be playful. I view these energetic qualities in a positive light. I feel it is vital that my impetus to make work stems from who I am—an emotional being within my female physical structure.