In ceramics, the term red heat refers to the moment when clay transitions from a temporary material to a permanent material in the kiln at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. In Tulsa, Red Heat is also an exhibition of contemporary ceramic art from across the country at the Alexander Hogue Gallery at the University of Tulsa. In the current exhibition, Red Heat 2010, a diverse array of work was selected to showcase the many distinct directions ceramics has taken in the contemporary art world.
Red Heat was created eight years ago by Whitney Forsyth, TU's ceramics professor, and has since been hosted bi-annually in the Hogue Gallery. The exhibition serves as an opportunity to bring the work of contemporary ceramic artists to Tulsa for TU's art students and the local community to experience. The show opened Sept. 30 and will run until Nov. 4.
Red Heat 2010 is comprised of 53 pieces by more than 40 artists from the east to west coast. For each exhibition, Forsyth opts to bring in a working ceramic artist as the juror (instead of a curator) as a way of offering a different perspective to the process of selecting work for the exhibition. Doing so also permits an opportunity for a successful working ceramic artist to give a slide lecture, visit students one-on-one in their studios and provide insight into the process of jurying an exhibition.
This year's juror was Adrian Arleo, figurative ceramic artist from Lolo, Mont. Arleo's work references the delicate relationship between the nature and the world man has built. Arleo selected 53 pieces from among a sea of 450 entries. She chose work that was diverse and would adequately encompass what is occurring in contemporary ceramics.
Regarding what is taking place in the world of ceramics, Forsyth said, "Younger students are not held to the same traditions as those before them."
Today, young artists are exploring how to use clay in unconventional ways and developing experimental techniques that are shaping the future of contemporary ceramics. While the history of ceramics is strongly rooted in functionality, artists are pushing away from its traditional roots in a direction that is more sculptural than functional. Red Heat 2010 is a strong representation of this shift as it consists of work that functional, figurative, narrative and abstract as well as installations.
Of the highly competitive pool of artists chosen for this exhibition three live in Oklahoma: Eva Miller of Stillwater, Laurie Spencer of Tulsa and Clayton Keyes, who received an honorable mention and is currently in his third TU's Master of Fine Arts program.
More information about Red Heat 2010 is available online at utulsa.edu/art.
The Dead Approach
Living Arts' Annual Dia de los Muertos celebration will be held Monday, Nov. 1 from 5-11pm. This event is an opportunity for those who have lost loved ones in the past year to honor the memory of their lives in joyous celebration rather than in sorrow. To prepare for this event, Living Arts is offering a series of two workshops for those interested in learning how to construct a skeleton to bring to the Dia de los Muertos festivities. The workshop is open to everyone from all artistic skill sets and backgrounds.
Local artist Erin Turner will teach the workshops, which take place on Oct. 23 and Oct. 30 from 1-4pm at Living Arts, 307 E. Brady. In the first workshop, Turner will teach paper-maché skeleton building, and in the second, participants will paint their hand-made skeletons.
Those who have made skeletons either through the workshops or on their own are encouraged to bring them to the Dia de los Muertos festival. During the evening, guests can watch or participate in alongside their skeletons in the "Dance with Death" a dance to be choreographed on site by Tulsa's Portico Dans Theatre.
The cost of the Skeleton Workshop is $25 (all supplies included) and should be mailed to Living Arts by Oct. 20.
In addition to the Dance with Death, the Dia de los Muertos festival provides the opportunity to honor loved ones with altars. In Mexico, the process of preparing to remember the dead is as important as the finished altar itself. Living Arts is pleased to host an opportunity for Tulsans to make their own altars and display them alongside others.
"We hope that Tulsa will embrace the notion the Spanish culture has been embracing for years," said Living Arts Artistic Director Steve Liggett. "If they remember a person on this day, that person will have the right to come back and spend the day with them."
All are invited to build an altar to honor those no longer with us. The altar is open to interpretation but should be about remembering unique characteristics about the loved one, events from their life and what they liked. For those who do not feel comfortable building their own altar, a community one will be constructed for individuals to add images or objects to honor their deceased.
More information about all Dia de los Muertos activities is available at livingarts.org.
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