Emergence and Erosion: Reflections on Fire and Rock

Dec. 1, 2017 – Jan. 20, 2018
Sponsored by Chuck and Patti Shear
First Friday reception Dec. 1, 7-9pm

Terry Shepherd has led The Art Center’s ceramics studio since 1984. With a career spanning over 40 years, he is a respected ceramic artist and educator, having studied closely under Paul Soldner and others. Each year Shepherd exhibits new work alongside an artist of his choosing. This year he has invited Lynette Jennings, a well-known artist and architectural designer who garnered acclaim around the world for her 18-year Discovery Channel series Lynette Jennings Design. Her series introduced millions of viewers to architecture, interior design, and fine art. Jennings has appeared on The Today Show, Regis and Kathy Lee, Good Morning America, and CBC Newsworld: Canada.

For several years in the early 2000s Jennings lived on the Western Slope, where “Glade Park was home.” She recalls, “Driving the Monument was pure joy. Every rock and boulder has, I’m sure, found a way into my work. That creamy gold is a permanent element of my palette, and the view from the top has formed the perspective in many of my pieces.”

Jennings has strong ties to The Art Center as well. “Terry Shepherd and clay brought me through cancer and gave me back my confidence in life as well as art,” she says. “And it was Terry who encouraged me to take a workshop from raku artist Jim Romberg. Jim not only helped me take my ceramics to another level, but stole my heart as well. Jim is now my husband, soul mate and muse of 13 years.”

Emergence and Erosion features painting by Jennings, a medium she discovered after ceramics but which remains closely linked to her earlier pursuits. “The tactility of my experience working in clay influences how I handle paint. Rarely using a brush, I ‘move’ the paint, carving, scraping, double loading, and mixing wet on wet.”

Jennings’ abstracted landscapes are “influenced by ancient cultural interpretations of the immensity of the Earth and evolutionary movement.” While living in Colorado, and later Arizona, the geology of the West impressed upon her that “the Earth has stories to tell and lessons to teach if we would just listen, observe and respect what has gone before.” Her Earth Series “represents a deliberate distinction between our organized and predictable world at the horizon line and the pain of evolution, the movement still alive and deep within our planet’s core.”

Shepherd’s work references the geology of the Western Slope as well, through audacious curves and unexpected textures. For his part, the exhibition features a combination of sculptural and functional vessels that incorporate stoneware, porcelain, raku, salt vapor, and saggar firing. Shepherd draws inspiration from Chinese, Japanese, and American stoneware traditions as well as river rock and other land formations shaped by erosion. There is a choreography to kiln firing which he relishes, and in his work, Shepherd employs alternative firing processes to dramatic effect. Vapors from sodium, natural fibers, and metal oxides like copper and iron result in surface embellishments that “only the kiln can produce.”


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