All fired up

All fired up

8 artists from around the country showing works at ceramics exhibit

CHAMPAIGN — The Parkland Art Gallery's national biennial ceramics exhibit — always something to look forward to — opens Monday. It will showcase work by eight artists from throughout the United States.

Formally called "State of the Art 2013-2014: National Biennial Ceramics Invitational," the exhibition was curated by Delores Fortuna, an adjunct assistant professor of ceramics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Her curatorial premise stems from her interest in the art-making and problem-solving process as it relates to shifts within the artist's body of work or dual bodies of work.

Among the artists represented in the show is Don Pilcher, a Champaign-based artist and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois. The others:

— Mary Barringer, editor of the independent journal The Studio Potter and a practicing potter in western Massachusetts.

— Sam Chung, assistant professor, Arizona State University, Tempe.

— Bill Farrell, retired educator and studio potter in Galena.

— Julia Galloway, professor at University of Montana, Missoula.

— Richard Hirsch, a professor at the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology.

— Maren Kloppmann, studio potter from Minneapolis.

— Sean O'Connell, visiting artist instructor at the Alberta College of Art & Design.

Fortuna has taught ceramics at the School of the Art Institute since 1998 and has worked in ceramics for more than 30 years. She has bachelor's and master's of fine arts degrees from the University of Chicago.

She divides her time between Chicago and her home studio in rural Galena. In her work, she uses basic wheel-thrown shapes as starting points and glazes of her own formulation to create functional pieces. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and has participated in porcelain symposiums in Finland and Italy.

During the reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Fortuna will deliver a curatorial talk at 7, and the Parkland Guitar Ensemble will perform.

Other events connected with the invitational include an additional gallery lecture by Fortuna at 1:15 p.m. Thursday and an art demonstration by Pilcher at 1:15 p.m. Jan. 22 in the S building on the south side of the Parkland campus.

Pilcher, creator of (and character in) the fictional Rascal Ware Pottery company, returned to making ceramic pieces in 2002 after spending several years on sculptural works. He is known for creating elegant ceramic forms embellished with bits and pieces of porcelain to create works with a mischievous air. His work was included in the American Ceramics exhibit in 2001 at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Also connected to the biennial is the "Coffee and Tea, Cups and Dessert" benefit for the Parkland Art Gallery, from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 5 in the gallery lounge.

The benefit will feature ceramic cups and mugs made by student and faculty artists. People who buy a ticket may choose a mug on a first-come, first-served basis.

During the benefit, Parkland College faculty artists Chris Berti and Laura O'Donnell, both ceramics artists, will give at 5:30 p.m. a brief talk about the biennial invitational.

The benefit also will feature live music by the Chip McNeill Jazz Trio, desserts from the Great Harvest Bread Company, coffee from Herriott's Columbia Street Roastery and tea.

A silent auction of ceramic pieces, also made by Parkland faculty and students, will round out the evening.

Tickets to the benefit are $30 each, or two for $50, and may be purchased at the Parkland Art Gallery in Room C120a, which is the Fine and Applied Arts office, or through the gallery office by calling 351-2485 or emailing

Tickets to the benefit also will be on sale during the reception Thursday.

If you go

What: "State of the Art 2013-2014: National Biennial Ceramics Invitational," curated by Delores Fortuna, an assistant professor of ceramics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a practicing potter

When: Monday through Feb. 1, with the reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: Parkland Art Gallery, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C

Admission: Free

Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays, noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays (the gallery will be closed from 5 p.m. Nov. 27 through Dec. 2; Dec. 21-Jan. 5; and Jan. 20)

Also: "Coffee and Tea, Cups and Dessert," a benefit for the gallery, takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 5 (tickets are $30 each or two for $50; each ticket holder chooses a ceramic mug made by a Parkland faculty member or student)

Information: 351-2485,

Topics (1):Art