The National Council for Ceramic Arts (NCECA) is an organization that fosters global education and appreciation for the ceramic arts. The organization’s 50th Anniversary Conference, Makers, Mentors and Milestones, will be held in Kansas City, Missouri, in March 2016. In conjunction with the conference, the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center will host the 2016 NCECA National Student Juried Exhibition March 4-April 30, 2016. This year, first-year MFA candidate Ariel Bowman, third-year MFA candidate Adrienne Eliades and third-year MFA candidate Charity White each had work accepted into the exhibition.
Two of Bowman’s prehistoric animal sculptures were chosen for the show. A Colossal Collapse, a stack of prehistoric elephants inspired by her childhood, and Big Bingo: The Biggest Brute that Breathes, based on Barnum and Bailey’s Big Bingo who was billed as the largest circus elephant ever shown in the 1930s, will be featured.
“A Colossal Collapse has a tension that speaks to the precarious balance in nature,” says Bowman. “The elephants are all from different eras and never existed at the same time, so their interaction is a combination of reality and fantasy. The prehistoric rhinoceros that I studied for Big Bingo was the largest land mammal that ever existed, and I saw a connection between these living spectacles.”
White’s figure sculpture Self Portrait explores social identity theory where one’s self-concept is derived from perceived membership in a social group. The sculpture includes two anthropomorphized representations of self in the two locations she has lived.
“Each location is represented through its pests, the cat and the rat,” explains White. “The two selves sit upon the kitchen table and are in dialogue with each other but neither is listening.”
Eliades’ piece Family Style Server is a large handled serving dish with smaller dishes nesting inside of it from a food sharing series of ceramic dinnerware. In addition to attending the conference, Eliades will also be presenting with two peers from Louisiana State University and San Diego State University on making pottery in graduate school today.
“The panel will detail our collective experiences and the challenge making functional artwork poses in contemporary art programs,” says Eliades. “I will also attend some demonstrations, lectures and visit the ceramics shows that will be going on in the greater Kansas City area.”
Each student looks forward to attending the conference in Kansas City.
“NCECA is basically a family reunion for clay folks,” says Eliades. “It is a great opportunity to see old friends and make new ones.”