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Gordon Art Galleries Features "Stories from the Earth" Exhibit

An opening reception for "Stories from the Earth, Voices of Contemporary Ceramic Artists," the latest exhibition at Old Dominion University's Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, will be held from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7. The exhibit, which had a soft opening Aug. 9, continues through Sept. 14.

"Stories from the Earth" offers a selection of work by prominent American artists that speaks to individual viewers, prompting them to relate their experiences to the experiences present in the narrative works of each of the artists.

Richard Nickel, associate professor of ceramics, curates the exhibition, which features recent works by Erin Furimsky, Carrianne Hendrickson, Marlene Jack, Lori Mills, Beth Lo, Virginia Scotchie, Carol Schwartz, Michaeline Walsh, Jenny Mendes and Anna Freeman. Each artist, using a wide variety of storytelling, explores personal views on a variety of topics, from relationships between significant others to childhood memories. Personal symbols are carved, molded painted and thrown onto each form.

Hendrickson's seemingly innocent work implies subtle sinister meanings. These works contain dark undertones, according to Hendrickson, as a "symbolic reflection of the human condition as being both good and evil, and thick with all of its many dark and mysterious facets."

Furimsky, winner of a National Council for Education in Ceramics Emerging Artists Award, uses complex patterning and ceramic decals in her well-crafted sculptures. Through these highly decorative works she addresses notions of beauty and sweetness that might define "women's art" for those who do not know better, according to Nickel.

In her ceramic sculpture, Walsh uses color and image associated with childhood to explore the complexities of memory. The sense of "sweetness and pleasure felt in seeing or recalling certain objects or experiences often intermingle with feelings of sadness, loss and regret," she says.

Scotchie explores the narrative of time and its ability to transform the familiar."The worn, crusty surfaces on many of the pieces are created to give a sense of how time acts to make and unmake a form," Nickel says.

Schwartz uses domestic settings as backdrops to her animated slices of life. Focusing on relationships with lovers and friends, she memorializes sweet moments we often forget in her humorous colorful sculptures.

The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, located at 4509 Monarch Way, Norfolk, is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. For more information call 683-6271.

This article was posted on: September 3, 2008

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