Sarofim School of Fine Arts

Culinary Cultures - Spring 2012

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A ceramics exhibit

Culinary Cultures: A Ceramics Perspective

This exhibit explores topics associated with food from the perspective of nineteen nationally recognized contemporary ceramists. These artists are

exploring such themes as slow food, domesticity, utility, comfort, cultural identity, separation and connection, fragility and resiliency, structural space,

and a myriad of connections between fine art and object. Participating artists include: Dan Anderson, Ingrid Bathe, Peter Beasecker, Sharbani Das

Gupta, John Gill, Jason Hess, Ayumi Horie, Michael Hunt, Naomi Deglish, Daniel Johnston, Maren Kloppman, Robbie Lobell, Warren MacKenzie, Ron

Meyers, John Neely, Mark Pharis, Peter Chartrand (Potters for Peace), Bonnie Seeman, and Shelden Nunez-Velarde.

Artisans have been fashioning objects made of ceramic materials for use in the kitchen or for cooking since the dawn of civilization. This association

with culinary practices (i.e., food preparation, service, and storage) in part provides these objects with their unique expressive qualities. The idea of

food as a means of sustaining life is a powerful notion that speaks of our very survival. According to art historian and theorist Philip Rawson: “This

intimate connection with a potent aspect of daily life and experience is what gives ceramics its particular aesthetic interest.”

The practice of making pottery in particular is one of the attributes of civilized life. Skilled artisans produced pots for every aspect of daily life,

from culinary pots to ceremonial vessels. As a result these objects reflect a strong cultural identity. In his book “The Meaning of Art” the eminent

English art historian Herbert Read writes of pottery “…the art is so fundamental, so bound up with the elementary needs of civilization, that a national

ethos must find it’s expression in the medium. Judge the art of a country, judge the fineness of it’s sensibility, by its pottery; it is a sure touchstone.”

The image of food, in its many varied forms has also been employed by ceramics sculptors as subject matter. Food and eating are associated with

human activities, sacred and secular. This association with significant life experiences allows the artist to establish a familiar and meaningful connection

with the viewer in order to convey a full range of complex ideas and human emotions.

The focus of the exhibition is linked with the theme of Southwestern University’s Brown Symposium - Back to the Foodture: Sustainable Strategies to

Reverse a Global Crisis