In praise of a new exhibit in the L/L Gallery

You’re walking along a riverbank and you spot a piece of colored clay veiled by the dirt. Most people mindlessly walk by, their thoughts on other things, things that allow us to turn away from the beauty of art. The artists and collectors featured in “Collected Clay,” the new exhibit in the Living/Learning Gallery, are the ones who would stop and slip that piece of clay into their pocket. In turn, these artists use that piece of clay to add to their collection, or to inspire them to create a work of art that stems from that piece. But I think what is most telling about this collection is how the artists were drawn to a particular piece and how it inspired them, and the best part is each artist has their own answer to that question. Christine Homer and Robert Compton love the stories that accompany pots that they have personally sought out. Kevin Wiberg is just the man that would pick up the piece of clay along the riverbank because he can use the shards as part of his next piece. Joan Watson, a teacher here at UVM, struggled with what pieces to exhibit but settled on an eclectic mix that indeed serves to please the viewer. You, as the observer, have to look at these pieces one by one because they are truly the definition of one-of-a-kind. Unlike using paint as a medium, the different firing processes in clay production always give the artist a unique product. But this exhibit is less about the individual pieces and more about the reaction that each collected piece has on the viewer. I think Watson summarizes it perfectly, “I hope you enjoy the conversation with the piec?es I did choose. Things will be a little quieter until they return.” “Collected Clay” will be featured in the L/L Gallery until Feb. 1.