Revealed: Potters Around Atlanta

After visiting the American Craft Council’s Craft Show last weekend, we want to share some images from the Show of ceramic art by potters in the Atlanta area.

Cups by Barry Rhodes

Cups by Barry Rhodes

Barry Rhodes is based in Decatur.

Vase and pitcher by Nancy Green

Vase and pitcher by Nancy Green

Nancy Green’s studio is called Wolf Creek Ceramics, and is located in Watkinsville. She can be found on the Long Road Studios website.

Vessel by Timothy Sullivan

Vessel by Timothy Sullivan

Timothy Sullivan owns Creekside Pottery, located in Marietta.

Pedestal by Beth Tarkington

Pedestal by Beth Tarkington

Beth Tarkington is based in Marietta.

Lora Rust of Avondale Estates also exhibited her work at this show. Her website is lorarust.com.

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Pottery in a Glass Tower World

Atlanta is no New York City. Also, Atlanta is no Asheville, North Carolina.

While metro Atlanta’s population is about 5.5 million, and Asheville’s is about 433,000; and while Atlanta’s gross domestic product is about $269 billion, and Asheville’s is about $17.2 billion, . . . .

. . . Atlanta doesn’t measure up to Asheville for ceramic art. Unlike Asheville, we don’t have places like Blue Spiral Gallery or the Folk Art Center. We don’t have the pottery studios, such as East Fork Pottery.

But some cool stuff is on view in Atlanta, even apart from this weekend’s craft show at Cobb Galleria.

Mark Hewitt is a potter in North Carolina, and his work is in the collection of the High Museum. If you prefer not to wait till the High decides to display it, you’d better get to the Signature Shop and Gallery in Buckhead.

Maria Martinez was a Pueblo Indian from San Ildefonso, New Mexico. She and her family of potters made big names for themselves through methods surrounded by the rituals of life in a reservation village. A place in Avondale Estates called Ray’s Indian Originals offers Martinez work for sale.

Another place for fine ceramics is Mudfire Gallery, also a busy studio, near Avondale Estates. Jeff Campana’s work is on display there. He has a distinguished resume and currently teaches ceramics at Kennesaw State.

See you at the craft show.

Looking at Atlanta’s Art with the “Creative Class”

On the subject of exploring for art in Atlanta, the first question is, What do you mean by Atlanta? Well that question is related to our identity at Atlanta Art Blog. On our “About” page we make reference to “metropolitan Atlanta.” That means we go outside the Atlanta city limits. We venture into Decatur. We sneak into Jonesboro. We’ve heard that there may be some art in Chamblee, hidden behind some antiques.

Poster by unknown artist. Private collection. Location: Sandy Springs, white couple 40-45 years old.

Poster by unknown artist. Private collection. Location: Sandy Springs, white couple 40-45 years old.

In the snow-induced apocalypse of January 28, 2014, it became very clear to the world that our “area,” that is, the “Atlanta area” is divided, as Maria Saporta reported. She’s talking about politics. It’s also true that we’re divided by race, and divided by socio-economic class.

Is the Atlanta area divided by art? Good question. In wealthier households you might expect to find higher-end art. The more interesting question would be, how does socio-economic class affect how a household views and uses the art that it has?

RA MIller, "Blow Oskar," image courtesy of ramiller.us/art.html. A version was observed in PIne Hills home, white couple 50-60 years old.

RA MIller, “Blow Oskar,” image courtesy of ramiller.us/art.html. A version was observed in PIne Hills home, white couple 50-60 years old.

Richard Florida has gained renown in recent years for his socio-economic studies, and his identification of something called the “creative class,” as distinguished from the “working class” and the “service class.” Florida defines the creative class as the people “who work in science and technology, business and management, arts, culture, media, and entertainment, law and healthcare professions.”

In a story last year, Florida used census data to show that in Atlanta, members of the creative class “make up 36.3 percent of the metro’s workers (above the national average of 32.6 percent). They average $73,272 in wages and salaries, better than the national average of $70,890, and over $25,000 more than the average wages ($46,442) for the metro.”

Al Jacobs, "Kosher" (detail). Private Collection. Location: PIne Hills home, white couple 45-55 years old.

Al Jacobs, “Kosher” (detail). Private Collection. Location: PIne Hills home, white couple 45-55 years old.

So where is this creative class? Answer: north. Florida mapped out, by census tract, where each of the classes resides in metro Atlanta. You can see the map here.

Of course it’s highly significant that the classes are somewhat separated from each other. The area directly southeast of downtown (around East Atlanta) is clearly a place of the creative class, but most of that class lives to the north of middle Atlanta, ranging from midtown Atlanta into a wide swath from Kennesaw to Suwanee and up into Alpharetta. Combining population density with this class-based map, the center of the creative class may be around Dunwoody or Sandy Springs. (In case you were wondering, Atlanta Art Blog’s offices are not in a creative part of town.)

It so happens that we checked out some of the art we saw in the homes of the creative class over the past several weeks. For the sake of having fodder for speculation, this post includes images that we observed.

The New Year is Clay. Let’s Make Something Good.

Where will you look for art in 2014? Sometimes we wonder if, in Atlanta, we only hear about a certain set of well marketed, media-anointed galleries, museums, and events. If so, we are allowing ourselves to be limited. We may even be allowing other people’s preferences to inhibit our own natural curiosity and wonder.

David Drake, "Jug," 1836, and "Jar," 1858. Collection of the High Museum of Art.

David Drake, “Jug,” 1836, and “Jar,” 1858. Collection of the High Museum of Art.

We were happy to see the ArtsATL website review an exhibit that is currently on view at the Hodge Podge Coffeehouse and Gallery in East Atlanta. Hodge Podge is an amazing place for its abundant natural light and its spaciousness. Over time, the quality of art there has been uneven. The ArtsATL review noted that Hodge Podge is not perfectly set up as a gallery. But then, it’s not supposed to be.

Atlanta Art Blog strives to find art in unexpected places. In 2013, for example, we fell for awhile under the influence of Free Art Friday. Our review reflected the open-mindedness that the Decatur event inspired.

David Drake, "Jar," 1858, detail. Collection of High Museum of Art

David Drake, “Jar,” 1858, detail. Collection of High Museum of Art

Lately the decorative arts have attracted us, especially ceramics. For example, we read the book Carolina Clay, by Leonard Todd (WW Norton & Co.: 2008). The book explores the life and times of the potter Dave Drake, who was a slave in Edgefield, South Carolina. The High Museum of Art exhibits work by Dave in its permanent collection.

But the term “decorative arts” seems a ridiculous term to use for the pottery that Dave created under the violent and volatile conditions of slavery. It’s not that the pottery Dave created lacks elegance or  Continue reading

Clark Atlanta University Art Collection: Ivory Tower or Battlefield?

Perhaps this is old news to many, but Atlanta Art Blog insists on repeating the news: There’s a luscious book out about Clark Atlanta University’s collection of art!

It’s called In the Eye of the Muses, is edited by Tina Dunkley, and contains beautiful color plates displaying the art that the University has collected over the past seventy years.

Enough said.

No, not yet.

Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta) began collecting the art in conjunction with holding its . . . . brace yourself for a string of adjectives . . . . annual national juried art competition and exhibition. That event came to an end in 1970, the year that the jury was all black for the first time at this all black competition.

“The Black Knight,” by Geraldine McCullough. The image above is a scan from the book, which was published by Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries.

“The Black Knight,” by Geraldine McCullough. The image above is a scan from the book, which was published by Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries.

Continue reading

Tripping and Bounding: Mary Engel at the W Hotel in Midtown

Spend a little time in a hotel lobby and you can feel like you just took a good, long trip.

That’s true even when the hotel lobby exhibits the same design sense as the typical drab room in a chain hotel.

An Engel animal, at right, prepares to bound into the W Hotel's lobby.

An Engel animal, at right, prepares to bound into the W Hotel’s lobby.

No fear of that at the W Hotel in midtown, which is now hosting an exhibit of Mary Engel’s sculptures.

The midtown W’s lobby and restaurant area struts some wild stuff. The ceiling swoops, the walls glow with multi-colored lights, and the furniture suggests a space odyssey.

An art patron admires an Engel work on display near the hotel's front desk.

An art patron admires an Engel work on display near the hotel’s front desk.

Engel’s work on display is her signature animal sculptures, where the surface of the animal is covered in small objects like coins or miniature toys. She has an elephant done up in bullets.

Bronze works by Engel seen in the foreground here, on a hotel patio, with mural by Molly Rose Freeman in the background.

Bronze works by Engel seen in the foreground here, on a W patio, with mural by Molly Rose Freeman in the background.

Engel’s sculptures are beautiful, and usually convey a gentle quality crossed with a great, confounding level of surrealist detail.

Right now, the lobby at the W in midtown is a really good trip.

Mary Engel’s sculptures are on display at the W in midtown through December 21, 2013. Marcia Wood’s Gallery arranged the exhibit.

Floating in a Sea of Light: Public Art on the Atlanta BeltLine

Photographer Dave Lind probably doesn’t get thrown off course much. A certain quality of light can occur every day at twelve minutes past sunset, and he shoots that every day.

But last Saturday night he became a giant goldfish. He floated for two miles from the Old Fourth Ward to Midtown.

Dave Lind floats above other handmade lanterns the superstar of another photographer, Carissa Craven, at lower right.

Dave Lind floats above other handmade lanterns, including the superstar of another photographer, Carissa Craven, at lower right.

How does one become a giant goldfish? Are there any lingering side-effects?

It’s possible that becoming a giant goldfish is itself a side-effect, perhaps the result of making images every day at dusk.

Dave--busy on the evening before his transformation, working the magic.

Dave–busy on the evening before his transformation, working the magic.

Fortunately, the fluid in which Mr. Lind floated was composed of the parade of people carrying lanterns along the Eastside Trail. It was the annual Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade. According to the BeltLine, this event kicks off an annual public art exhibit, which will showcase “over 70 innovative works of performance and visual art from new and returning artists.”

The Lantern Parade made us happy, and more public art will make us even happier.

Lantern Parade as seen from the Freedom Parkway overpass.

Lantern Parade as seen from the Freedom Parkway overpass.