The 66th Scripps College Ceramic Annual Arrives: “Material Matters: Art and Phenomena”

The Scripps College Ceramic Annual — the longest-running exhibition of contemporary ceramics in the United States — opens for the 66th year on Saturday, January 23, 2010, and continues through April 4, at Scripps College’s Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery. Titled “Material Matters: Art and Phenomena,” the Ceramic Annual features works from celebrated master ceramists as well as new artists working on the very cusp of the art form. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Hongwei Li’s “Landscape #2,” 2007.

Since its inception, the Annual has been an “artist’s choice” event, in which a leading ceramic artist selects the works presented. Artist and educator Wayne Higby is this year’s guest curator. Higby, who is the Kruson Distinguished Professor and Robert C. Turner Chair of Ceramic Art at the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, has work in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

Higby has chosen the theme, “Material Matters,” to express the idea that the relationship shared by material, process, and idea is a factor crucial to understanding any work of art. The pieces featured in the exhibition each offer a unique demonstration of this concept. Artists include: Eliza Au, Benjamin DeMott, Claire Hedden, Hongwei Li, Howard Kottler, Maria Martinez, Walter McConnell, Chris Miller, Tom Schmidt, Paul Soldner, Peter Voulkos, Betty Woodman, Yao YongKang, and Guozhen Zhou.

The opening reception will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2010, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Williamson Gallery. It will include live music and light refreshments. In conjunction with the exhibition, Professor Higby will give the opening lecture on the exhibition in the Scripps College Humanities Auditorium, from 4 to 5 p.m. These events are free and open to the public.

The exhibition and catalog are generously supported by a grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance, with additional financial support from the Ames Fund at Scripps College, Francine and William Baker, the Capital Group, Kirk Delman, David Furman, Jeff and Lisa Irwin, Gloria and Sonny Kamm, Barbara and Victor Klein, Susan and Brent Maire, the Marlin Miller Family Foundation, John Regan, Skutt Ceramic Products, Inc., and the Paul Soldner Endowment.

The exhibition takes place during the inaugural year of Scripps College’s eighth president, Lori Bettison-Varga. This year, Scripps College has selected the theme, “The Genius of Women.” Throughout the 2009-10 academic year, guest speakers, writers, scientists, artists, and other thought leaders will engage students and faculty in discussions about the transformative power of genius, and how creative and intellectual genius are so essential in today’s changing world, especially from women, for women.

The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery is located at Eleventh Street and Columbia Avenue, adjacent to Baxter Hall. During exhibitions, the gallery is open to the public, free of charge, Wednesday through Sunday, from 1-5 p.m. For more information, please contact the gallery at (909) 607-3397 or visit the website.