Four new art exhibitions are making their way to Philadelphia’s preeminent ceramic art organization, The Clay Studio, this fall season. Stemming from works created by alums of their Resident Artist Program, each new exhibition will take over a different part of the venue’s space beginning Oct. 13 and have a direct link to the city.
“These artists are alumni of the Resident Artist Program at The Clay Studio and have chosen to make their home in Philadelphia,” said Jennifer Zwilling, Curator and Director of Artistic Programs at The Clay Studio in a statement. “Each of them has a strong connection to Philadelphia as a source of inspiration and draws on the creative energy of our city to infuse their artwork.”
To kick it all off, The Clay Studio’s Jill Bonovitz Gallery will feature ‘Matter in a Floating World’ by Andrea Marquis. The exhibition is comprised of large, complex structures said to both respond to and defy gravity, which will be on display until Dec. 31. Originally from Salem Massachusetts, but now a locally based artist, Marquis has participated in Artist in Residence programs at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Peters Valley Craft Center, the Archie Bray Foundation, Tyler School of Art, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, and La Maison des métiers D’Art in Quebec City, Canada.
Her work now calls Philadelphia home for the most part.
‘Urschrei’ on the other hand is a new exhibition featuring works by Better Lovers, the moniker for the collaborative artistic practice of Resident Alum Jacob Raeder and Layla Marcelle. As a release states, the duo launched Better Lovers in 2016 as a design company that applies contemporary dance methodologies to object-making. Named after the German word for “primal scream,” their latest collection features new functional sculptures conceived as “a reflexive reaction to the feeling of ambivalent tumbling through a ceaseless series of inflection points.”
Raeder learned the discipline of craft while double-majoring at Alfred University in Art and Philosophy, while Marcelle regularly engages with multiple artistic mediums, including ceramics, choreography, image-making, and object-making. The combination of their different skillsets comes together through ‘Urschrei’ will be on display in the Jill Bonovitz Gallery until Dec. 31.
The Clay Studio will also be putting on a special ‘In Memoriam’ exhibition in honor of the late artist Leroy Johnson, which will also be on display at the organization until the end of the year.
“We mourn the passing of Leroy Johnson and are honored to display his work,” said Zwilling in a statement. “Through ceramic, paint, and assemblage infused with social commentary and vibrance, his art amplifies a complex love of this city where he spent his life.”
Johnson was a participating or resident artist for several community-based arts projects, including The Village of Arts and Humanities, Taller Puertorriqueño, The Clay Studio, The Church of the Advocate and St. Francis Academy in Baltimore, Maryland, just to name a few accolades. A native of Philadelphia, Johnson’s work was poetic and reflective of his many experiences in the inner city and took the form of painting, collage, ceramic, and assemblage sculpture, and Philadelphians can see some of his best work on display at the Studio.
And finally, the fourth addition to the organization’s fall line-up (also on display until Dec. 31) comes from Nate Willever.
As a release states, the collection is a culmination of Willever’s work studying native materials during his residency at The Clay Studio. Over the last five years, he has been testing, refining, and blending local materials into clays and glazes used in his functional pottery. These materials included three unrefined local clays, one locally sourced feldspathic rock, and wood ash from his fireplace. Willever’s goal is to highlight these materials and create a finished pot that could not be made anywhere else.
Originally from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the artist earned a BFA in ceramics from Maine College of Art and has taught numerous classes and workshops on functional pottery at institutions. Willever is currently a long-term Resident and Zeldin Fellow at The Clay Studio and will be showcasing some of his latest work there.
Entry to The Clay Studio’s galleries and shop is free to the public Monday to Friday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests can view exhibitions or items in the shop in person or online. For information on The Clay Studio (1425 N American St.), visit theclaystudio.org