Gail M. Brown, Curator

Sarah Lindley
Study for Cabinet for George Bardeen
11.5" x 7.25" x 3.5"
porcelain, black and brown clays


Michelle Erickson
7" x 6"


Curator's Gallery Talk



What are our shared, common, domestic life experiences?
What pleases us? What shatters us? What is memorable?
What dis/arms us individually and collectively ?
What makes appropriate subject matter for art?
The choices of material palettes, the visual forms, and the topics— war, personal identity, relationships, psychological angst, social unrest, political tensions, the fragile, at risk, planet, excess and dearth, nostalgia and memory—are all seductive topics.

Clay, the modest, primal material of the earth, remembers: it catches and keeps the unique imprint of each individual touch. It inspires and implements a remarkable breadth of creativity, affording seemingly limitless possibilities. It encompasses immediate contradictions—being both soft and hard, appearing to be both fragile and strong, appropriate for both exquisite miniaturization and surprisingly monumental scale, intrinsically rooted to the past, yet possible to always become something new, wearing a perfect accomplished skin or reflecting the emotional and physical finger marks of each maker. Its variables allow and honor the panoply of human expression.

We know the cultures of the world throughout history, by the artifacts which remain: many of them are made of clay. Many are evidence of the domestic lives of each tribe. Be they ancient functional vessels—to carry, prepare or celebrate daily tasks and significant rituals—identified with recognizable tribal "markings," we are connected to those cultures and societies, sequentially. And, later and today, we identify specific makers by their forms and personal "markings."

Much of contemporary ceramics retains its historic placement within the familiar domestic scene—in functional forms, context or as a springboard for ideas revolving around domestic life.
Even ever-present, there is still the possibility of the unexpected. What captures and keeps our attention: the comfortable/or the unexpected. The familiar/or the new. The content and the context.

DIS/ARMING DOMESTICITY introduces works in ceramics and mixed media which take forms and formats referencing our domestic arena or marking significant issues pursuant to our domestic lives. The implications are complex and often visually entangled with the unease of our times.

The 20 exhibiting artists are each strong, independent and unique: as individuals and as voices in this group statement. How do we experience art, when we are offered layered, multiple experiences (?) We can examine the forms, material palette, technical explorations, skills, and we can focus on the content, the metaphors, the imagination as we accumulate a "picture" of each artist's visual vocabulary. We can come to appreciate the courage, risks and personal positions each artist takes—the sincerity and commitment are surely worth our serious contemplation.

What is our individual and shared domestic experience?
What disarms us?

Attention getting and holding issues and forms, relevancy, memorable, disconcerting matters...all aspects of the domestic landscape: personal, universal, historic, cultural, social, symbolic.

LIFE more as it is, with provocative, unanticipated, heartfelt personal deviations from the greeting card adage of "home sweet home."


Go back to the main DIS/ARMING DOMESTICITY page to Gail Brown's Home page.