For Immediate Release: January 16, 2006
Contact: Marsha Mullan
Recent Ceramic Works by Staley
Exhibited at List Gallery
Recent work by renowned ceramic artist Chris Staley will be exhibited in the List Gallery, Lang Performing Arts Center, at Swarthmore College from Friday, Jan. 27, through Tuesday, Feb. 28. The artist will give a talk about his work on Friday, Jan. 27, at 4:30 p.m. in the Lang Performing Arts Center. An opening reception will follow in the gallery from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The exhibit, talk, and reception are free and open to the public and are sponsored by the William J. Cooper Foundation. A catalog with an essay by Nicholas Fox Weber, director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, will accompany the exhibition.
Chris Staley masterfully integrates classical and oriental influences and yet his work is unmistakably contemporary. His vessels are not merely functional containers, but nuanced statements about the ongoing vitality -- and necessity -- of tradition, craft, and human touch in the computer age. In an era in which electronic interventions mediate much of our commerce and conversation, Staley affirms the importance of hand-crafted forms that are made in harmony with elemental materials. As the artist states, "The essence of making pots for me is about being human. It's about strength and fragility. It's about the intimate moment when the handle of a cup touches the hand. It is about making what isn't there compelling. When we stop to take notice of how handles feel or how some sculptures makes us think twice about what we are seeing, we slow down, reflect, take stock, become more aware of ourselves and things around us."
Staley received his M.F.A. from Alfred University and his B.F.A. from Wittenburg University. The recipient of two N.E.A. visual artist fellowships, Staley has just completed a year-long residency at the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana. He has had over 27 solo exhibitions including Garth Clark Gallery, NY. His works are included in major collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Once rejected by every M.F.A. program he applied to, Staley has taught numerous workshops at distinguished art centers including Bezalel Academy in Israel and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. He is professor of art in the School of Visual Arts and head of the ceramics division at Penn State University. Before joining Penn State's faculty in 1990, Staley taught at The Rhode Island School of Design and at Wichita State University. He has spent his past year on sabbatical leave creating a new body of work for his List Gallery exhibition.