Students and faculty of the University of Florida (UF) Ceramics Department traveled to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Sept. 10-13, 2014 to participate in the Figurative Association’s The Human Form Symposium held at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.
The symposium gathered artists to address the depiction of the human figure in various media. Events included demonstrations, presentations and socials that aimed to allow artists to exchange ideas and develop their knowledge of the human figure.
Two figurative art exhibitions were also featured at the symposium, for which a catalog will be published and available.
UF’s College of the Arts was heavily visible during the symposium, as Nan Smith, ceramics professor, and Derek Reeverts, ceramics teaching lab specialist, brought five MFA students. UF alumna Magdalene Gluszek (MFA ’08) also attended the symposium.
While at the symposium, emerging artists at similar points in their career as the students offered lectures and advice. UF’s graduate students also provided information about UF’s ceramics graduate program to prospective students.
“This was a unique opportunity for artists to share information in formal and informal settings,” said Smith. “Thus, the French café of Impressionist time was evoked as people talked, ate and drank together after a day of demonstrations and lectures.”
Additionally, UF alumnus Thaddeus “TJ” Erdahl (MFA ’09) was a presenting artist and co-organizer of the symposium.
Erdahl’s demonstration was titled “Back to the Future” and exhibited his building and surface techniques through creating busts of historical figures.
Erdahl is currently a figure sculpture and visiting artist at the Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey. He is scheduled to have his first solo show in New York City this year at the Jane Hartsook Gallery.
Through interacting with other artists and seeing Erdahl’s demonstrations, UF students agree that the symposium was a beneficial learning experience.
“I was really inspired by the diversity of avenues in which artists were working with the figure,” said UF MFA student Charity White. “It forced me to identify the ways in which I am using the figure as a tool to aid my conceptual development.”