Shepherd + 1

An Exhibition of Ceramics and Paintings
of Terry Shepherd and Jac Kephart
December 6 – January 18
Sponsored by Chuck and Patti Shear / Shear Inc.
Opening Reception Friday, December 6, 6:30-9pm

Terry Shepherd, The Art Center’s Director of Ceramics, has led the Center’s ceramic studio since 1984. With a career spanning over 48 years, he is a respected ceramic artist and educator and has studied and worked with Paul Soldner and many other internationally known ceramic artists. Before moving back to Grand Junction in 1983, Shepherd developed and worked out of his first studio in El Jebel, Colorado, from 1972 to 1983. Each year in December, Shepherd exhibits new work alongside a selected artist working in 2D mediums. This year he has chosen to honor Jac Kephart posthumously with a retrospective of Kephart’s artwork spanning many decades of Kephart’s career. Kephart passed away on May 16 of this year.

Shepherd’s part of the exhibit offers a wide variety of mainly vessel forms and platters, some being purely functional while others have a subtle sculptural stance inspired by natural forms such as river rock, natural plant forms, and stylized figurative contours. His interpretation of firing process is extensive, incorporating stoneware, porcelain, Raku, saggar-fired and salt-vapored ceramic work. Shepherd draws inspiration from Chinese, Japanese, British, and American stoneware traditions as well as Native American ceramic practices. His personal approach to firing some work includes deliberate placement of the pieces in the direct flame path of the kiln where the vapors from sodium and copper metal oxides result in sublime and dramatic embellishment as a record of the flame paths and lush shading by the vapors. The contrasting colors of Shepherd’s over-glazes combined with his gestural brush strokes form a counterpoint to the energy of his throwing and the softened geometry of slab forms.

“I like the work to communicate a personal and visual language of the maker and firing process, while celebrating the strength and essence of form and the lively spirit of clay and its ability to dress up, titillate our senses, and embellish life as enhanced by the hand. I especially like to embrace the unexpected and serendipitous results of the firing process as it can embellish the work beyond my intent!”

Shepherd says of his friendship with Jac Kephart, “I miss Jac a lot. I’ve known Jac and his wife, Pat, since the early 1970s and used to sell work out of their floral shop, Jac’s House of Flowers. It’s ironic to be showing with Jac’s work as a posthumous retrospective exhibit since his death this year, as we had discussed him showing as my invited guest artist about two years ago. Upon getting to know Jac and his artwork, as a young man in my early twenties I was struck by his infectious energy and his intense curiosity about not only creating art and unconventional use of materials and process but about life in general. He was driven to improvise and use conventional materials in a risky way, and was constantly innovating and challenging notions of traditional aesthetics. He was truly a master of painting whether it be interpretive traditional landscape or his forays into an abstract painting genre. You could sense his confidence and solid grounding in the disciplines of draftsmanship, design, and color theory. He was an inspirational mentor and friend and always supportive of my own efforts as well as a gentle but firm critic with a knowing eye. I had the privilege of serving with Jac on the Art Center’s exhibition committee for the last few years and was struck by his extensive and informed knowledge of art history and other contemporary artists’ works. Jac mentored and inspired countless people through his workshops and interaction with our community. He left us with an impressive legacy of his generous spirit as a man and artist. I am honored to be in his company with this exhibit. I can still sense his quizzical grin and wry twinkle of the eyes!

“Thank you, Jac!”

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