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City, county present ceramic works from their public art collections

The Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and 4Culture present ceramic artworks from their public art collections in the exhibition “Enduring Clay: Four Decades of Collecting Ceramics by the City of Seattle and King County.” The show is on view at the Washington State Convention Center through April 9, and is in conjunction with the National Council for Education for the Ceramic Arts’ (NCECA) 46th annual conference, March 28 through March 31.

Both the city of Seattle and King County have collected artwork for more than 40 years. “Enduring Clay” showcases a total of 43 artworks by 28 regional ceramic artists including Howard Kottler, Robert Sperry, Akio Takamori and Patti Warashina. The exhibition demonstrates the diversity of expressions in clay and the various techniques that continue to expand ceramics as a fine art medium.

Tiles and concave shallow bowls by Sperry highlight his innovative use of slips and glazes. The figurative constructions of Sperry’s widow, Warashina, showcase her love of the human form.  Much like Warashina, Takamori uses stoneware clay and underglaze to give his sleeping figures a life-like appearance. Malia Jensen and Kinu Watanabe, each use pillow-like shapes that are neither soft nor comforting in their hard, ceramic surfaces. While Watanabe creates intricate slip drawings on her shaped forms, Jensen’s shiny porcelain surface becomes almost mirror-like.

From delicately painted and finely built shapes to the rough and uneven surfaces of assembled constructions, the artworks in “Enduring Clay” demonstrate a sampling of the unique forms and variety of techniques in ceramic art.

Image: Akio Takamori, Sleeping Woman in Blue Skirt, 2003, stoneware clay with underglaze, 6″ x 12″ x 29″. Photo by Spike Mafford.