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Gail Priday and Jeff Szarzi Exhibit, May 2021

First Friday May 7th, 6pm Talk and Tour on Zoom

Gail Priday Statement:

I am especially interested in the features of the northern forest that might be overlooked if I were to move through too quickly. Alaska is known for its awe-inspiring mountains and expansive sky. However, it is the blooming and decaying forest floor, snow covered branches, and everchanging light, that consistently capture my attention. The easily overlooked features of the landscape hold great significance to me. They are a window to an extraordinary and active world that exists quietly beside my own. The forest is reassuring and predictable, even during uncertain times. The snow melts, green leaves burst out, and tiny wildflowers appear. Regardless of current events, the sun keeps rising. In the quiet of the woods I am able to witness the changes I know will take place. Winter light will be low and luminous, April will be muddy, July will be a jungle of green, and September will be filled with color. These familiar and anticipated realities provide a solid foundation. This body of work points to my desire to focus on the predictable and the familiar in times of uncertainty. It emphasizes the sights, the seasons, and the changes we know to expect here in the North.

Jeff Szarzi Statement:

My pottery is for use in the home and is inspired by nature. My love for the natural world was sparked in my adolescence working at a local Michigan nature preserve. I still spend time watching animals, looking at plants and studying geology. Using my passion for carving and drawing, I capture what inspires me from nature in my surface decorations creating images that reflect the places where I live and explore. All my images are hand carved and are combined with crystalline glazes that I mixed to compliment the carving. For this show, I challenged myself to explore new forms by combining wheel throwing with hand building and shaping. Isolation during Covid-19 pandemic, influenced me to make vessels people can use with others; liquor sets, tea sets, desert sets and afternoon lunch salads sets. This activity has got me looking forward to sharing meals and celebrations with family and friends.

In my past, I’ve been a field biologist, carpenter, and science teacher. I started my adventure in clay 11 years ago as a curiosity. I took ceramic classes at our local college and upon retiring from teaching attended an eight week spring session at Penland School of Craft taught by the “North Carolina Living Treasure”, potter Cynthia Bringle. I continue to explore the ceramic process by attending workshops. Currently, I sell my work in galleries throughout Alaska and online.

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