I was given an opportunity to create a ceramic environment at the Holter Museum of Art in Helena, Montana; White Gold: Montana Dreams was the result. A couple of years of careful planning along with a fortuitous gift of biscuit-fired white-ware gave the exhibition its focus. White Gold does indeed refer to porcelain and my 3-year obsession with collecting inexpensive porcelain ‘treasures’ from local thrift stores.
Construction of White Gold: Montana Dreams began in January 2016 in my Granitewood Studio west of Helena. I began with the Porcelain Cloud installation piece, building the framework from wooden 2×4’s in two undulating parts that were designed for the gallery space at the Holter Museum of Art in Helena. Galvanized steel woven wire horse fencing was then attached to the front face of the framework. Steel plate hangers were attached to a selection of about 300 collected vintage porcelain plates and a test panel of porcelain plates was assembled in the studio.
(Republic of Korea)
As a founding member of WABA (World Association of Brick Artists) I was included in an invitation to create and install a large-scale indoor installation at the Clayarch Gimhae Museum of architectural Ceramics in Korea. 5 WABA artists were invited to spend 5 weeks building work for the exhibition that opened in late February and runs through mid-August 2015.
My piece titled Elementary Brick is comprised of a 75’ long undulating serpentine brick line, a spiraling stack form and 3 smaller spiraling pod forms filled with brick and ceramic shards.
Objects from Helena, Montana Collections
For this project, I wanted to create a life size replica of one of the Zwinger (Porcelain Museum in Dresden, Germany) installation arched niches, by building a recessed wooden arch form with interior shelves that would contain an homage to collecting porcelain in Helena, Montana. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of collected porcelain objects are installed into the frame, creating an intense optical experience for the viewer, full of color and shapes. The work is intended to create a visual blast for the viewer and provide a contemporary counter-point to the obsessive collecting of August the Strong, the 17th Century King of Poland and Elector of Saxony.
This installation at the Holter Museum of Art was created for the exhibition Big Clay, a group of large-scale ceramic installations in the Holter galleries in 2012. The framework is made from galvanized steel horse fencing and aluminum tubing. I received permission to mine a large shard pile at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts for the interior fill material. The shards trace a 25 year history of the Bray Foundations resident artists.
MAM Stacks were installed at the Missoula Art Museum for the exhibition Persistence in Clay: Contemporary Ceramics in Montana. One stack was installed on the exterior of the museum and one in the interior, with an exterior wall separating them. The galvanized steel culvert pipe and horse fencing material used in the MAM Stacks is prevalent in the rural ranching communities in Montana and western North America. Aluminum tubing accents the spiraling form of the stacks.
The Architecture of Space: Montana Vernacular was designed and built at my Granitewood studio and then installed at the Holter Museum of Art. My challenge was to utilize the fantastic space of the then named High Gallery with it’s 20’+ vaulted ceiling. It took the better part of a year to design and build. Installation took a week with a great crew of staff and friends. The spiraling chandeliers above each column were meant to elevate the eye as one experienced the piece. The large silo element was chosen to visually anchor the piece to the space and is a reference to the grain silos that dot Montana’s landscape. The bricks used in the silo skirt were borrowed from the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, remnants of brick production at the Western Clay Manufacturing plant. Viewers were encouraged to enter the silo and encounter the energy core in a pile of porcelain ceramic treasures.
I have been working with Quarry Tile Company in Spokane, Washington since 2004 when I was commissioned to build a large-scale outdoor architectural sculpture for their factory entrance. The finished piece, Quarry Tile Gateway, gave me the opportunity to research and explore the ceramic tile technology at QTCo. In 2008 I was working towards a solo exhibition of new works at Turman Larison Contemporary and came up with an the concept of building prototypical square tile houses.