CLC show features cups from 55 ceramic artists
Cup by Ben Bates of Libertyville
‘The Cup: 55
College of Lake County Robert T. Wright Community Gallery of Art, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake
Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturdays; and 1-5 p.m. Sundays; Through April 17
(847) 543-2240 or visit http://gallery.clcillinois.edu
Updated: March 27, 2012 9:11PM
For a few months last spring, a small Grayslake gallery filled with teapots became a focus of the ceramics world when the College of Lake County hosted “Teapots: An Invitational,” at its ARTcetera space in the Robert T. Wright Gallery.
“Teapots”— which was even featured in the national “Ceramics Monthly” for its impressive collection of artistic teapots by the nation’s top ceramists — proved so popular that this year CLC asked its curator Ben Bates to create another themed show.
“The Cup: 55 Artists, 250 Interpretations,” is now running in the ARTcetera Gallery until April 17, and includes work by invited artists from as far away as Canada and England.
But what is there to say about the humble cup?
“It’s a simpler form, but I think that becomes a challenging problem,” said Bates, a Grayslake resident and CLC ceramics instructor. “What can you do to make it different from all the other cups out there?”
A stroll through the gallery reveals 250 answers. Cups with comical faces sit alongside cups in various muted earth tones. There are cups with metallic sheens and cups with smooth surfaces, cups that appear to have grown organically out of the ground and stylized cups with polished glazes.
Canadian Bruce Cochrane’s cups appear to be melting to the table like warmed candles, while Dan Anderson’s cups feature the motifs of old gas stations. The bright flowers of Linda Sikora’s cups contrast with the solemn appeal of Grayslake resident Mariko Brown’s Japanese teacups.
“You envision the cup as a simplistic form, but the slightest alteration makes a statement,” Bates said. “You can push it out in one area and it’ll create a totally different look, a totally different format. Often we think of a cup in the round but as you’ll see in the show, many times it’s taken out of that round, predictable format and altered into square, rectangular, oval and triangular shapes.”
A handmade cup is a great piece for the casual and serious collector alike.
“It’s art you can use on a daily basis,” said Bates, who loves selecting an artistic cup from the shelf he’s collected over the years for his morning tea or coffee. “I choose one that I want to interact with, you get the energy from artist.”
Ceramic artist Lou Pierozzi, who also contributed to the show, agrees. His pieces, inspired by the industrial revolution, appear to be covered in metal rivets and are highly designed, and yet they’re still functional as cups.
“I think everything tastes better in something that’s unique,” said
Pierozzi, an instructor
at Oakton Community College and a Lindenhurst resident.
For “The Cup,” Pierozzi played with the concept of creating miniature cityscapes with his pieces, with one cup actually enclosed within a wooden structure.
“We all have a vision of what a cup is supposed to look like and I like playing with that loose interpretation,” he said. “I thought it was interesting, this thing being hidden and revealed, it’s kind of a new way of presenting a cup.”
As for Bates, he’s been thinking about next year’s show, which the College has already asked him to curate. After teapots and cups, what comes next?
“I’m thinking of doing something more complex this time, maybe a cruet set?” he said. “Something with several parts that make up a set.”