Building Community Through the Arts

Concrete and Clay Press Release

April 23, 2015

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
[email protected]

Spencertown Academy Arts Center Presents “Concrete & Clay: Works Inspired by the Garden” Art Exhibition

Spencertown, New York–Spencertown Academy Arts Center will present
 “Concrete & Clay: Works Inspired by the Garden,” a group exhibition featuring seven regional ceramicists and one concrete fabricator. The artists include Corinne Alexander, Sue Browdy, Kay Castelle, Mary Anne Davis, Marybeth Ketz, Justin Madsen, Lauren Mundy, and Jacqueline Wilder. On Saturday, May 30, there will be a festive opening reception from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the show will remain on display through June 21. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free and the artworks are for sale for prices ranging from $10 to $3,500.

“Gardens and clay and stone go together. This year’s garden gallery show will feature exciting objects by talented artists that will inspire combinations for the home and landscape,” said Barbara Willner, co-chair of the Academy’s gallery programming.

Corinne Alexander is a Ghent-based multimedia artist, most often found elbow deep in her garden, her clay, cooking at the local co-op, or working to bring relief to her massage therapy clients. “I’m using stoneware and porcelain clay as a medium to capture a moment in time, a promise of that potential, a picture of the breath before nature’s next exhale,” she said of her work.

Sue Browdy of Hillsdale began her ceramics career in 1958 with a scholarship from Jane Hartsook to work and study at Greenwich House Pottery in New York City. In recent years, she has concentrated on sculptural work, including abstract flat platters and rows of cylindrical forms. Of her longstanding passion for clay, she said, “One of the great joys of ceramics is the potential for change and growth which it offers. Clay provides an almost infinite variety of forms of expression.”

Great Barrington-based Kay Castelle received a BA in Linguistics and Art from Brown University and did graduate studies in Environmental Design at Pratt Institute. “My relationship with nature is fundamental to my practice, inspiring both forms and surfaces,” she said. “What springs from the clay (earth) in my hands are abstractions of nature’s designs and the effects of its forces, formed into vessels that can hold and be enhanced by the beauty of the garden’s flora.”

Mary Anne Davis of Spencertown is a nationally recognized ceramic artist, whose pieces can be seen across the country in galleries, stores, and museums. “The work I am showing this summer is a departure from my ceramic dinnerware and represents an investigation into the natural environment I live in, as well as the artistic vocabulary I have been developing over the long duration of my career as an artist. Materials include porcelain, paper, acrylic paint, photography, and textiles,” she said.

Marybeth Ketz is making porcelain and stoneware flower pots for the exhibition. “I’m inspired by Japanese art, all of nature, and especially the flowers and shrubs in my Craryville garden,” she said. “I like surface decoration and try for the spontaneous mark of sgraffito [an Italian ceramics technique] scratched into the clay or the freedom of expression in a brush stroke.“

Justin Madsen is the owner of Marveled Designs in Chatham, which has manufactured custom concrete for eight years. He will be exhibiting planters, a fountain, garden tables, pedestals, a bench, and a sink. “Each concrete project is hand crafted and delivered with finest quality ingredients. Attention to crucial details ensures a product longevity and ability to hold up to daily use,” he said.

Lauren Mundy of Ghent began making slip decorated redware cermics about 25 years ago, when she was bowled over by the sight of some antique slip decorated redware plates sparkling in the sun at an outdoor antique show. “Sometimes inspiration comes directly from a specific visual source, but when thinking about this show, I decided to make vases in hopes that people will be motivated to extend the enjoyment of their gardens into their interior spaces,” she said. “While working on the vases, I realized that some of them (in a raw stage) remind me of sections of tree trunks, and recognized that indirect inspiration has a life of its own. In this case, it seems to have activated my store of mental images from innumerable hours spent in the woods.”

For Jacqueline Wilder of Ancram, ceramics is her second act, after a 25-year career as the owner of a talent agency representing actors in New York City. Her work tends to be contemporary in design and is mainly functional. “For the show, I am making porcelain high-fired, wheel-thrown vases. I like them because when you put them on a dining table with a few flowers, everyone can look over the top and they don’t have to be removed,” she said. “I’m also including some larger vases that have been wood fired in a Japanese Anagama kiln.”

“Concrete & Clay: Works Inspired by the Garden”” is the kick-off event for the Academy’s 11th annual Hidden Gardens, which includes the Twilight in the Garden Cocktail Party on Friday, June 19
and an array of events designed to inform, inspire, and intrigue garden enthusiasts on Saturday, June 20, including the Garden Market on the Green, Hidden Gardens Tour with the theme “Artful Landscapes: Ornamental and Edible Gardens,” and a lecture on the art of growing food by Ellen Ecker Ogden, garden designer, chef and author of “The Complete Kitchen Garden.”

Housed in a restored 1840s Greek Revival schoolhouse, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information about Hidden Gardens events, see or call 518-392-3693.


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