By NICOLE LINDELL
Just beyond the doors of duPont Gallery lies a room filled with the otherworldly art of the “New Ceramics in the Old Dominion” exhibition.
A severed head in a chair and an enormous nude woman posing with a rabbit and a plant made of semi-human faces now call this gallery their temporary home, along with several other works which are both beautiful and outlandish.
According to the University of Mary Washington Galleries website, this exhibition includes artwork by professors from nearly every college and university in Virginia. The website also states that “The variety of forming methods, firing ranges and conceptual approaches represented highlight the incredible potential of clay while revealing the talent and skill of professors across the state.”
The word “variety” is aptly used, as the pieces displayed in the gallery range from the avant garde to more traditional ceramic work like plates and bowls. As for forming methods, some pieces are made entirely of clay while others were created using aluminum, graphite, steel, glaze, and found objects like chairs or pitchers.
Each piece in the exhibition has a unique flavor: some are haunting while others are joyful, some seem childish in design while others seem mature and refined. Similarly, while some are extremely simplistic others are very intricate. There is truly a piece in the exhibition for every artistic taste and inclination.
Carly Hossler, a senior historic preservation major, presides over the gallery and answers any questions that visitors or students may have. “Surprisingly, a lot of people have [come to the gallery] because a ceramics professor [from UMW] has two pieces on display. A lot of his students have come in,” said Hossler.
The professor mentioned by Hossler, Jon McMillan, created the pieces titled Pinned and Specimen 3. “I think my favorite piece is probably Specimen 3 by Jon McMillan,” Hossler said, as she paused to walk across the room and double checked the title.
Hossler also remarked that there are several pieces in the exhibition that she would buy for herself if she could. Unfortunately, student budgets do not include the freedom to buy artwork.
The gallery is open during school hours as well as on nights that Avenue Q is showing in Klein Theatre, which means the exhibition has been enjoyed by quite a few playgoers.
“On play nights, we get a lot of people coming in that aren’t students, people from the community,” Hossler said. Hossler also pointed out that there is another exhibition currently showing in a different UMW gallery. “Our show in Ridderhof is pretty cool.” Hossler said. “It’s a contemporary craft show.”
The UMW Galleries website describes the art displayed in the exhibition as “artworks that utilize traditional materials in new ways, yet maintain the hand and craftsmanship of the artist.” There is also an interactive piece at this exhibition.
Both the “New Ceramics in the Old Dominion” and the “Contemporary Craft” exhibitions are showing in their respective galleries until Dec. 6. A visit to these exhibitions would be worth your time whether you are an art connoisseur or you simply want to see some crazy sculptures.