ROCK HILL, S.C. - The work of Jim Connell, professor of ceramics, will be featured in a Columbia Museum of Art exhibition on six noteworthy ceramic artists active, presently or previously, in South Carolina.
"SC6: Six South Carolina Innovators in Clay," which includes pieces drawn from public and private collections, will continue through Oct. 3, 2010, in the Columbia Museum of Art's Gallery 15. The exhibited works illustrate a diverse range of technique, glazes and forms for which these six artists are best known. Other ceramic artists recognized in the exhibition are: Russell Biles of Greenville, S.C., known for figural sculptures laden with social and political commentary; the late Georgia Henrietta Harris, a member of the Catawba Nation largely credited with reviving the Catawba pottery tradition; Peter Lenzo of Columbia, S.C., whose technically complex sculptures recall the 19th-century Southern "face jug" tradition; Ron Meyers of Athens, Ga., whose functional ceramics are brightly slip-painted in a gestural, expressionistic style both provocative and confrontational; and Virginia Scotchie of Columbia, S.C., head of the ceramics program at the University of South Carolina, who incorporates familiar shapes when creating her complex, lushly glazed vessels.
Connell discovered his passion for pottery as a college student at Loyola University in Chicago, Ill. He joined Winthrop's Department of Fine Arts faculty in 1987, and his work has been featured in numerous U.S. museums, including the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pa., the Minneapolis Institute of Art, as well as museums overseas, such as the Taipai County Yingge Ceramic Museum in Taiwan and the Yixing Ceramic Museum in China. In 2009, his work was juried into the 17th Annual Strictly Functional Pottery National, the premiere functional national show, for the 16th time – a record that no other ceramic artist in the U.S. holds. In addition, Connell's creations have been juried consistently into the National Council on the Education for Ceramic Arts Clay National Exhibition.
The ceramic artist, who also sells his pieces in Winthrop's annual Holiday Pottery Sale, said he strives " for beauty and elegance in my pieces."
"On my very best days in the studio I get glimpses of it and it keeps me going. It is all about that eternal elusive quest for beauty," Connell added.
In conjunction with "SC6," Connell will deliver a Gallery Talk at the museum on Wednesday, July 16, at 1 p.m.
The Gallery 15 show is organized in conjunction with the museum's major summer exhibition, "Innovation and Change: Great Ceramics from the Ceramics Research Center." The exhibition highlights 78 masterworks by many of the leading international ceramic artists and offers a panoramic survey of the potential of clay as an expressive art form. "Great Ceramics" runs through Sept. 5, 2010. Presenting sponsors for the exhibition are Carolina Ceramics Brick Company and Marcia and Allen Montgomery. Supporting sponsors are Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company and Helen and Buddy Hill.
For more information about "SC6," visit the Columbia Museum of Art's website or call 803/799-2810.