76th Scripps College Ceramic Annual: Duality and Context

By Ella Murdoch Gardner ’22

Ceramic statue of a fawn with trees for horns and the body of a human female.

On January 25, Scripps College’s Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery will launch its 76th Ceramic Annual, the longest-running exhibition of contemporary ceramics in the nation. This year, the gallery is highlighting work that explores connections and conflicts in art and nature, with inventive and interactive pieces that stand on their own, hang from the ceiling, or extrude from the walls.

In curating Duality and Context, Joanne Hayakawa, professor emerita at San Diego State University, School of Art and Design, sought to explore the tensions that conflicting or parallel elements produce in different environments. In her own work, she has recently explored duality through a series of crow sculptures, using birds to both symbolize frailty and strength and to challenge the line between kitsch—objects traditionally considered tacky or garish—and high art. According to Hayakawa, art that interrogates the intermediate space between opposed forces gives us a lens to work through the uncertain and muddled aspects of everyday life.

For the Ceramic Annual, Hayakawa sought out artists who take creative and surprising approaches to their work. “I have chosen artists with diverse approaches to literal and figurative environmental perspectives who seem to be wending their way forward through their choices,” she writes for the Williamson Gallery website. These artists include Wesley Anderegg, Richard Burkett, Rebecca Hutchinson, Jeff Irwin, Kate MacDowell, Crystal Morey, James Tisdale, Ted Vogel, Patti Warashina, Stan Welsh, and Mary Cale A. Wilson.

The Williamson Gallery will kick off the exhibition with a special lecture by Garth Johnson, curator of ceramics at the Everson Museum of Art. The event will be held in the Humanities Auditorium on January 25 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. Following the lecture, the gallery will host an opening reception with live music and light refreshments from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. These events are free and open to the public.

Duality and Context will run through April 5, and guests can view these exciting works for free by visiting the gallery between 12:00 and 5:00 pm, Wednesday through Sunday.