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fyi is the official faculty-staff newsletter for the Santa Clara University community. It is designed to keep faculty and staff informed about campus news and information. It is compiled, written and published by the Office of Marketing and Communications.

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  •  Breaking the Mold

    The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University opens the winter season with an exhibition that speaks to the legacy of ceramics in Northern California. Clay in the Bay, on view Jan. 18 to March 17, 2013, brings together 12 contemporary artists from around the Bay Area who work with clay in diverse ways.


    The use of clay as a fine art medium has deep roots in Northern California. Once considered a form of craft, it took the ingenuity, creativity, and vision of artists like Robert Arneson and Peter Voulkos to look beyond the medium’s utilitarian properties to its expressive qualities. In the decades following, their successors continued to stretch the creative boundaries of clay sculpture. Today, the use of the medium as a respected art form continues to thrive.
     
    Through the use of varied techniques the artists featured in the exhibition, many of whom teach at local universities, transform clay into organic shape, architectural design, and narrative form. For some, it is the sole medium in which they work; for others the ceramic elements are part of a larger whole. Regardless, the works included in the show speak to the incredible versatility of the medium as it is molded, shaped, and otherwise manipulated.
     
    Artists in this exhibition include Bean Finneran, Don Fritz, Francisco “Pancho” Jiménez, Robert Kvenild, David Linger, Spring Montes, Matthew Scheatzle, Nancy Selvin, Ehren Tool, Monica Van den Dool, Jenni Ward, and Stan Welsh.
     
    Events:
    The museum celebrates the opening of Clay in the Bay on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Many of the artists in the exhibition will be present and available to discuss their work.
     
    On Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., artist Stan Welsh will give a public lecture on his art. The program is co-sponsored by the de Saisset and SCU’s Department of Art and Art History.
     
    Artist Nancy Selvin will lecture on Radical Pots: Ceramics in the Bay Area, 1960s Onward on Thursday, March 7 at 7 p.m. She will address the radical departure from the norm that took place in Bay Area ceramic work in the 1960s and discuss how that shift is carried forward today.
     
    All events are free and open to the public.

  •  Abstract Adornment: New Jewelry Exhibit at the de Saisset

     The de Saisset Museum is best known for art exhibits that highlight the diversity of Northern California’s past, present, and future. An exhibit this fall pushes viewers in a completely different direction- forcing visitors to reconsider the nature and beauty of adornment in a provocative and intriguing way. 

    Guest curated by Melissa Behravesh, Jeweled Prosthetics: Jewelry as an Extension of Self features sculpture and photography by Lauren Kalman and Catherine Grisez that questions what is traditionally considered beautiful, and encourages viewers to consider how they adorn themselves. 

    Behravesh first decided to curate this exhibition in 2009, originally thinking she would feature the work of several artists. She quickly changed her mind after some research, choosing to only feature Kalman and Grisez because of the balance and the sense of play that their work evokes.

    “The work isn’t easy but it’s well made, well-thought-out work that lives beyond the body,” said Behravesh.

    Not only is the work difficult to make, it’s difficult to wear. Kalman’s “Hard Wear” series features gold and pearl mouthpieces and various gilded face accouterments with photos revealing the drool and tears of the wearers. Kalman further probes the idea of adornment with exaggerated gold orbs tucked into cheeks, behind ears, and between fingers where conventional jewelry is often placed.

    Grisez also plays with the idea of adornment, but her works deal more with the beautification of wounds—pink beads pouring from slit wrists and stop watches spilling out of scarred heels. Though the exhibit explores adornment and jewelry, none of the pieces appear influenced by any recognizable fashion trends. “You don’t really realize what you’re looking at and then, when you do, your throat catches and after it’s frightening, you start to notice the beauty,” said Grisez. 

    The de Saisset student staff has an ongoing debate as to which part of the exhibit and accompanying video is toughest to watch. That's a response definitely intended by the artist.

    “It’s all about me putting something out in the world to make people think differently, even if they turn away in disgust. Sometimes we need that in our everyday lives,” said Grisez.

    Curating the exhibition wasn’t easy either. Behravesh has worked in the Bay Area for several years but is currently living in Kansas City. Kalman is based in Detroit and Grisez in Seattle, making Jeweled Prosthetics a tri-city effort to bring these works to Santa Clara.

    Despite the challenges, the exhibit has generated positive responses and has people talking around campus.

    “If you look at the work and see the power behind it, it is beautiful even if it is uncomfortable, especially since it’s not what we usually associate with jewelry,” said Behravesh.

    Jeweled Prosthetics: Jewelry as an Extension of Self will be featured at the de Saisset until Sunday, Dec. 2. 

     
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