Clay Revisited: Traditions in Shards

Black Box Theater, IMU
125 N. Madison St., Iowa City

For much of the history of ceramics, the primary use of the clay medium was in functional ware, usually classified as pottery. While sculptural forms made of clay were plentiful, such works were thought of as sculpture, and not as ceramic art, as it is now defined. Once industrialization made mass production of functional ware possible and common, ceramic artists were free to explore the expressive potential of their medium. This new latitude created a dialogue on the categorization of craft versus fine art; ceramic artists could choose a traditional route and produce forms for everyday use, or they could stretch the possibilities of work with clay as an artistic and academic discipline. The objects in Clay Revisited: Traditions in Shards demonstrate a wide variety of forms and techniques by artists who work in ceramic media, as they move with ease throughout the broad range of traditional, painterly, and sculptural aspects afforded by the materials and methods at hand.

Works on view

Funding for this exhibition was provided by the Gerald Eskin Ceramics Art Initiative


Pillow Pitcher 

Betty Woodman (American, 1930– )

Pillow Pitcher 

, 1989
Porcelain, 22 x 20 1/2 x 18 in.
Gift of Joan E. Mannheimer, 1991.223, ©Betty Woodman