Ink and Clay 41 showcases artwork

By Leanna Ahmed

The W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona is sponsoring Ink & Clay 41, an annual art completion.

The opening reception was held on Sep. 26. Alexander Vasquez, a gallery receptionist, said that there were about 400 people in attendance that night.

“A lot of the artists were here, but a lot of them are also from out of state, so they could not be here,” said Vasquez. “The style of the artwork is definitely different this year.”

The gallery has been sponsoring Ink & Clay 41 since 1971. Three years ago, it became a national competition.

“When it first started, it didn’t start as an annual exhibition,” said Gallery Curator Michele Cairella Fillmore. “It sort of became something really important that ended up as an annual event, and for the last 20 to 25 years, it has been done every year.”

Ink and clay artwork used to be considered “less important” than other art forms, but this type of art was given a “voice and opportunity to rise up through this institution.”

According to Fillmore, this is what people praise the most.

“By ‘ink’ and ‘clay,’ what we mean is ink drawing, printmaking and clay ceramic work,” said Fillmore. “There was a time in the 70s when there was a concern that printmaking and ceramics were marginalized art forms. This was a way of insuring that printmaking and clay wouldn’t die. It was a way for us to support these art forms that were often considered more artisan or more craftsmen-like. It was a way to elevate printmaking, ink drawing, ceramics pottery and sculpture to an even-footing with the other fine arts.”

Last year, there was an easier, standard cutoff in the juror ratings, but Fillmore stated choosing the entries this year was difficult because the jurors liked so many.

“I locate the jurors one in ink, one in clay and one that’s a curatorial gallery person who can look at something in a commercial level and also in a fine arts level over all,” said Fillmore. “It’s a good mix of jurors. It’s a very fair and balanced way to jury a show like this.”

This year’s jury consisted of Cathy Weiss, the ink juror; Jody Baral, the clay juror; and Julie Perlin Lee, the curatorial juror. From a total of 254 entries, 101 pieces were chosen to compete. Last year’s competition only featured 82 pieces.

There were five purchase awards this year, and CPP President Soraya Coley gave her purchase award to a piece that combines art with science called “El Matrimonio de Archimedes” by Penny McElroy.

Even though this is intended to be a professional art competition, there were undergraduate students that competed alongside artists who participated in the inaugural Ink & Clay 41.

This year, CPP art student Summer Furzer’s piece called “Gluttony” is among the chosen artworks.

“Summer participated in the 2D 3D competition of Poly Kroma, which we hold at the Huntley [Gallery], and she won several awards,” said Fillmore. “Every student who wins several awards, I encourage to participate in Ink & Clay if they are working in this media. It’s a difficult competition to get into. She’s going against professional artists who have been working in the profession for decades.”

Gina Lawson Egan, a faculty member at CPP, participated in the competition and received an honorable mention for her clay piece, “Celebration of Life.”

Fillmore said that “abstraction, social commentary, whimsical fantasy and landscape” pieces always appear in the competition, but this year, there was a lot more whimsical, less geometric and social commentary pieces.

“Falling Apart” by Pascual Arriaga, an art graduate student from Cal State Fullerton, is one of the most prominent clay pieces in the gallery. It also held its place as one of the most popular pieces, as it makes a social commentary on technology and consumerism.

“It’s very large, so it does a very good job of establishing its presence in our society as well as in one’s day to day lives,” said third-year finance student Nicholas Rowe. “We have a mountain of very old computer junk, and on top is a very large, sad-looking man with red, glistening tears. I think it really embodies our current culture’s frustration with obsolete technology and slow computers’.

The exhibition goes on through Oct. 29, and each section of the gallery is coordinated according to the artwork’s theme and style.

According to Fillmore, the gallery is organized to resemble a journey.

“It is like you are walking into a dream,” said Fillmore. “If you start in the end, you see a beautiful landscape then it gets a little gloomier, then darker, then scarier and then it gets happier as you go.”

Ink and Clay 41

Leanna Ahmed / The Poly Post

Ink and Clay 41

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