Kellogg Gallery exhibits hand-selected artwork

By Hope Algeo

The 42nd annual Ink & Clay art exhibition has entered Cal Poly Pomona’s W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery. Running since 1971, this nationwide competition accepts artist submissions in print, clay, sculpture and mixed media.

CPP begins accepting submissions each April, with the rule that each piece must not have been submitted in previous competitions and not be more than three years old.

This results in a unique selection from which a team of judges selects the best pieces to showcase in the gallery. The judges make their decisions based upon the quality of each piece and how much room each piece takes up. Out of 245 submissions this year, 100 were chosen to be a part of the gallery, which features 96 pieces.

This year’s collection features a varied selection of engaging, thought-provoking pieces, 24 of which have won awards. The pieces ignite a curiosity for their skilled construction and profound commentary.

Ink & Clay was founded when Col. Jim Jones donated his collection of prints and ceramics to CPP. His collection was inherited from his parents D. Roy and Mary M. Jones.

With the help of his partner, Bruce Jewett, he started an endowment for the collection to keep alive what he considered to be a dying art form: clay ceramics and print media. He continued to sponsor the collection throughout his life, and Jewett has continued to maintain that tradition after the art enthusiast’s passing in 2009.

This year’s judges included Peter Mays, executive director of the Los Angeles Art Association and Gallery 825, Denise Kraemer, curator of the Riverside Art Gallery and Patrick Crabb, Fullbright Scholarship winner and long-time ceramics professor.

According to art gallery curator Michele Cairella-Fillmore, winners were selected based on technical skill, content, innovation and the relevance and effect of the messages they presented.

Awards, for which two of each kind are given out for ink and clay works, included the Purchase Award, Juror’s Choice, Gallery Curator’s Choice, Donor’s Choice, Directorial Choice and University President’s Office Choice.

The team can also give out Honorable Mentions, which act as “runner-ups,” according to art gallery assistant Eduardo Chavez, a fourth-year graphic design student.

Cairella-Fillmore explained that the team strives to find works that are “authentically valid,” in the sense that they are “relevant, poignant and well-developed.”

Upon looking at the accepted works, Cairella-Fillmore takes creative reign on the gallery’s display, a process she likens to that of a director.

This year, each pocket of the gallery consolidated works with similar elements, including biomorphism, industrialization, animalistic symbolism of the human condition through print and social commentary through text.

An overarching thematic trend in this collection touched on the beauty within the human struggle to overcome inescapable entropy and evolution, through the lenses of “social, cultural and political content as well as biomorphic and geometric abstraction,” as stated on Cairella-Fillmore’s Curatorial Statement in the center of the gallery.

Cairella-Fillmore elaborated on the nature of how such themes manifest. What makes Ink & Clay significant as a competition is its use of ancient art forms; clay pottery comes as the earliest evidence of budding human culture and ink represents the significance of print and writing, which together drive a common thread that connects the prehistoric with the modern world as art and its messages continue to evolve.

Three award-winning pieces particularly captured the essence of what Ink & Clay stands for. Ink prints Summer and Winter by David Avery, which won Purchase Awards, use a particular level of detail and skill, having to be constructed backwards in order to be a print. With allusions to the four Greek humors, the art style harkens back to Renaissance detail-work while combining with modern elements such as oil barrels and telephone poles, lost within the flora and fauna of evolutionary cycles.

One piece that rose above the fold was the clay sculpture, Fly Me to the Moon, by CPP professor Gina Lawson Egan, whose identity was not known to judges during the award selection process. The sculpture’s depiction of the family and household, along with Egan’s consideration for abstraction and skilled use of clay, earned the piece the Col. James “Jim” Jones Memorial Award and University President’s Purchase Award, as well as the All Juror’s Choice Honorable Mention.

The artworks of Ink & Clay 42 will be on display in the Kellogg Art Gallery until Oct. 27.

Ink and clay at the Kellogg Gallery

William Gunn / Courtesy of The Kellogg Gallery

Ink and clay at the Kellogg Gallery

Ink and Clay 42

William Gunn / Courtesy of The Kellogg Gallery

Ink and Clay 42

Ink and Clay 42

William Gunn / Courtesy of The Kellogg Gallery

Ink and Clay 42

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