Friday, October 31, 2008

Tim Eberhardt - Art through Craft

The Art Pottery tradition was started around the turn of the last century and focused on graceful decorative ceramic ware. Tim Eberhardt has embraced this tradition in a quest to rediscover this lost art form. Although it is usually thought of as a decorative vase, Art Pottery includes other objects of ornamentation such as architectural and decorative tiles. Likewise, the main body of Tim's work is focused on the vase and decorative jar but has included ceramic tile. He has currently placed his distinctive collection of ceramic tile work on display at Meramec Community College in the cases by the ceramic department. These tiles provide a good idea of the vast body of his work in that they offer a similar style. The subject matter is drawn from nature, often flowers but also scenic fields and other landscapes. The different slant to glazes provides insight to the broad scope of his approach. From a satin glow with muted tones to a higher gloss and brighter colors, his work goes beyond the traditional method. He adds a personal element of creative style by infusing the work with a painterly touch. Here, he has drawn a self-portrait on a tile with his pots on a shelf in the background. With all of the different elements tied into this piece, the thing which I find most interesting is the expression of his eyes. What the hell is he thinking here? Also on show is a collection of architectural art tiles from an earlier period.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Art East

We should take the weekend as it comes. With a rough idea of what's going on, I like to start a plan in the morning and see how much I can squeeze into the day. Last weekend it was Art East and opportunity to visit some open studios.
I selected three and threw our bikes on the van for good measure. There are a number of nice trails through rural Illinois in that area.
My first stop was at Lane's End Pottery, the studio of Charity Davis-Woodard. Actually, there are two studios there. Her husband, Bob, is a metal worker. They sit back in the woods and their front yard is more like a woodland garden accented with sculptures of iron and clay. I have been admiring Charity's work for some time and wrote about it earlier in this blog. Combining creative design with the organic beauty from a wood fired process elevates her craft to art. My wife, Colleen, and I selected this piece to commemorate thirty one years of martial bliss.
Since we were in Edwardsville, we stopped by to see old friends, Collette and Sam, at Springers Creek Winery, a most eclectic space.
Running short on time, I decided to skip the planned stop at Snail Scott's and head to Susan Bostwick's. However, I got lost and came upon Snail Scott's anyway. Got lucky. Her studio is in a large pole barn in farm country. Plenty of room to spread out and she needs it.
Snail Scott is an incredibly gifted sculptor with an amazing conceptual visual imagination. Using elements of human form in conjunction with mechanical artifacts, her work offers meaning, depth, grace and beauty. Man and machine, all rolled up into one neatly refined piece. Of course, having an artistic concept still requires masterful craftsmanship to bring it to fruition. This is where the "incredibly gifted" part comes in. Her hand is as good as her mind. Most of the work is base on very life like human forms. It is from this realistic starting point that the surrealistic effect takes hold. Using a variety of materials, clay, metal, paint, cloth she is able to fabricate just about any idea. She can make clay look like metal if it suits her purpose. When I look at a piece of art, i like to figure out what it is and how it is done but with her work you don't really know what you are looking at. Some of the work is cast bronze. Most is ceramic. Some is instillation. Some paintings. She also teaches. Got to love that name, Snale Scott.

We skipped the third stop to allow time for our bike ride. We chose Heritage Trail in Glen Carbon. The map gave the trail head as Miners Park. In Miners Park, I was excited to find a marble plaque stating my Great Grandfather Viessman had once held that property. It was a place where I picked tomatoes as a boy.