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Clay in Place

Jan 18, 2018 – Mar 24, 2018
Since primeval times, clay has persisted as a medium explored by visual artists across the globe. Earthen materials, which are a springboard for the contemporary works by Mexican artists in the companion exhibition Clay in Transit, also have a local history and one particular to New Orleans: Newcomb Pottery (1895-1940).

Yet long before Joseph Meyer experimented from 1896 to 1927 with clay recipes for Newcomb pottery, clay was an ubiquitous material in New Orleans. The mud of the Mississippi River was a source for the characteristically soft red bricks found in the city’s home constructions. And, alluvial deposits in St. Tammany parish, near Lake Pontchartrain, yielded slightly harder paving bricks, recognizable even today in the sidewalks of the Garden District.

Historically, the pottery produced at Newcomb relied on clay from these two places as well as the Bayou Tchulakabaufa in Biloxi. Instead of a single source, terra cotta was created from a mixture of red and buff clays. Experiments with regional materials were conducted throughout the years, and clay for the pottery also occasionally came from coastal Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Indiana.

While much has changed stylistically since the post-war period when the medium of ceramics shifted toward non-functional approaches, clay has endured as a material that reflects its concurrent environment and milieu. The museum’s collection mirrors these shifts in style, and the exhibition Clay in Place highlights both traditional and contemporary ceramics and their different approaches to function and place.

Works on view include Newcomb Pottery (1895-1940) and Newcomb Guild (1940-1952), and recent pieces by selected alumni, faculty, and former faculty. Among the dozen-plus artists featured are pioneering clay sculptor Peter Voulkos, who conducted a workshop on campus in 1978; jewelry designer Mignon Faget; four former heads of the ceramics program, Katherine Choy, Sadie Irvine, Mary Sheerer and Ellsworth Woodward; co-founder of Studio in the Woods, Lucianne Carmichael; and Rachael DePauw, winner of the 2007 Jaunita Gonzales Prize in Ceramics.

Featuring artwork by Aurelia Coralie Arbo, Henrietta Davidson Bailey, Lucianne Carmichael, Katherine Choy (Choy Pau Yu), Rachael DePauw, William DePauw, Jr., Mignon Faget, Francis A. Ford, Jules Gabry, Juanita Louise Gonzales, The Gela Painter, Jane Irwin Gibbs, Jonathan Hunt, Sarah Agnes Estelle “Sadie” Irvine, Harriet Coulter Joor, Katharine Kopman, Marie de Hoa LeBlanc, Cynthia Pugh Littlejohn, Ada Wilt Lonnegan, Ruth Maddox, Joseph Fortune Meyer, Leona Fischer Nicholson, Mary Given Sheerer, Erin “Effie” Shepard, Anna Frances “Fanny” Simpson, Kenneth Eugene Smith, Jeffrey Thurston, Lauren “Lola” Victor, Peter Voulkos, Sabina Elliot Wells, Ellsworth Woodward.

Displayed in conjunction with “Clay in Transit: Contemporary Mexican Ceramics”, Curated by Laura Blereau.

For more information, please visit the Clay in Place website

Exhibition Objects (53)

Flower Cup 2018.1.1.a

Flower Cup 2018.1.2.a

For 2017.257

Green Vase 1973.165-C

Pelican 2016.186

Stack 2016.76

Tower 2018.2.1

Vase 1994.601-C

Exhibition Images (3)

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