Jackson Li's ceramic sculptures combine elements of structure and figure: animal, plant, and human forms are intertwined with architectonic slabs of clay. The artist's unorthodox treatment of the surfaces lends the work an overall organic feel: the artist glops on glazes and presses shards of ceramic into soft clay before firing. The final result is dynamic, and conveys the sense that the figures are struggling against--or trying to reconcile themselves with--the clay frames they inhabit. Ceramic artist Wayne Higby comments, "Jackson Li's ceramic art is spontaneous, intuitive, impulsive--more like rare calligraphy than a refined object. Landscape, architecture, the figure and the intimacy of human vulnerability intertwine in Li's work to conjure history, lyric sorrow and distant Chinese mythological realms of charm and grace."
Jackson Li, a professor at the San Bao Ceramic Art Institute in Jingdezhen, China, earned his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the institute. He holds a second M.F.A. from the New York State College of Ceramic Arts at Alfred University. Since the early 1990s, Li has held exhibitions and organized ceramics symposia from Shanghai to Amsterdam. He has led workshops at art schools throughout the United States and Canada, including at the Rhode Island School of Design and Harvard University.
In addition to Li's sculptures, the RLAC gallery will also be exhibiting Blake Williams' installation piece, "Figurine Collection," which consists of hundreds of white figurines arranged in a grid pattern on the gallery's walls. According to the artist, "This piece was inspired by collections of figurines that I discovered on my grandmother's television after she passed away. The things we collect reveal our narratives and map our personalities. What we leave behind becomes a physical memory of our existence. The white figurines are like ghost images."
Currently a visiting professor of ceramics at Dickinson College, Blake Williams earned her MFA in Ceramics and Sculpture from Louisiana State University and her BFA in Ceramics from the New York College of Ceramics and Design at Alfred University. She has taught at Michigan State University and Rutgers and has exhibited throughout the United States.
Recent Work will run from Tuesday, March 1 to Wednesday, April 6, 2005. Blake Williams will present a lecture and slide presentation about her work on March 31, at 12 noon, in Whitaker Hall, room 214. Please note: The gallery will be closed the week of March 21 for spring break. All Gallery events are free and open to the public. Hours: Monday - Friday, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. and during selected performances in the Arts Center. For information call 717/231-ROSE.