Monday, April 15, 2013

Artist Emily Connell to give lecture on Tuesday at CPCC

As a child of two ceramicists, Emily Connell was born with it in her hands. At least that's what the letters adhered to her face and shoulders say in an image of her work.

Photo courtesy of Emily Connell.

Text on the body, hands and self reference are three themes that permeate Connell's work. Currently living in Kansas City, she is visiting Charlotte this week as a guest artist during CPCC's Sensoria festival. Connell will discuss her work at 11 a.m. on Tuesday in CPCC's Center for Arts Technology, room AU 101. This lecture is open to the public.

Another biographical bit that makes it into her work: Connell grew up attending Catholic school, so expect to see reliquary images, references to the crucifix and Bibles. The last of these may not be immediately recognizable, though, as they have gone through processes with ceramic materials. Connell alters books (dictionaries, encyclopedias and Bibles--reference books) by covering the individual pages with slip (a liquified suspension of clay particles in water). Some of these are fired, some are cast in plaster, some are embellished with wells of gold luster. Many of these pieces have also been sliced with a round saw more commonly used on bricks. 

Photo courtesy of Emily Connell.

The book series is particularly exquisite. The finished pieces resemble hunks of natural material that age and weather have changed--they look almost petrified.

Contemporary art has the capacity to feel intimidating, but this lecture is a friendly environment for newcomers. Attendees can hear from the artist and ask her questions. After hearing her lecture this morning, I was reminded of seeing a Shakespeare play. As you settle into an unfamiliar language (Elizabethan English or 21st-century art), your brain is a little slow to pick up details and subtleties, but it will adjust! Hang on and you'll absorb some new ideas and expressions.

You will also get to see this beautiful piece, created while Connell was in school at the Kansas City Art Institute. She was required to use an umbrella, a chair and herself.

Photo courtesy of Emily Connell.

Join Connell on Tuesday morning to see what contemporary art looks like.