Saratoga Clay Arts Center’s Schacht Gallery presents The Eloquent Vessel a solo exhibition featuring the luscious sculptural woodfired vessels of internationally known Massachusetts artist Chris Gustin. The exhibition opens Saturday, November 9th with a reception from 5-7pm and runs through December 7th, 2019. Gustin will also be leading a one-day demonstration workshop that will focus on the underlying formal and organizational strategies that exist in all pots.
The exhibition will feature a wide array of Gustin’s signature platters, bowls, vase forms, teabowls and larger vessels. While we chose the word “eloquent” for the title, Gustin’s work is not short on appropriate adjectives. Expressive, stirring, fluid, powerful, luscious and articulate were other words in play. The woodfired surfaces, rich in depth from a combination of glaze and ash, seem to be almost alive, with gravity still pulling the glossy pools down and around each subtle curve. Wheel thrown and handbuilt, each piece is one-of-a-kind, made unique by Chris’s intuitive process and the unpredictability and magic of each atmospheric firing in his anagama wood kiln, which takes 4 days to fire.
About his work, Gustin states: “My work explores the vessel form on a human scale, taking simple, historical pottery forms and jumping them up in scale as a vehicle for abstraction. By increasing pottery form to the scale of the human body, I’m altering the expected dialogue between the object and user from that of the hand to one of the body. This “body” scale speaks on a subliminal level to the entire histories of our experience. By using forms and glazes that evoke generosity, sensuality, fullness and humility, I am asking the viewer to make connections on a deeply personal level. This is what I depend on: the desire in all of us to reach out and touch, and by doing so, to trigger memory that is both felt and connected, memory that quietly waits to come to consciousness. This innate connection is for me the primal language of ceramic vessel form. It has the potential to reflect our universal human story, regardless of politics, culture or history.”
More about the artist:
Chris Gustin is a studio artist and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1975, and his MFA from Alfred University in 1977. Chris lives and works in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Chris’ work is published extensively and is represented in numerous public and private collections throughout the world. With over fifty solo exhibitions, he has exhibited, lectured and taught workshops in the United States, Caribbean, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He has received two National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowships, and four Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowships, the most recent in 2017. He is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics and was elected to the American Craft Council College of Fellows in 2016. He was awarded the Masters of the Medium award from the Renwick Alliance in 2017. Chris is cofounder of the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine and currently serves as Honorary Trustee on its board. Chris is cofounder of the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine, and currently serves as Honorary Trustee on its board.