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New Ceramics Exhibit Opens at the Flippo Gallery

Emma White '22

News Editor

A new exhibit, entitled Re-presentations, opened on February 23 at the Flippo Gallery in Pace-Armistead Hall. The exhibit is composed of pieces by twelve different artists from all over the country. Each artist has created both a three-dimensional ceramic piece and an accompanying two-dimensional piece. The premise of the show was that each two-dimensional piece would respond in some way to the three-dimensional ceramic piece. The Flippo Gallery is a space dedicated to displaying contemporary works by professional artists and serves as a link between the educational mission of Randolph-Macon College and the community as a whole. Pace-Armistead Hall was built in 1876, and the Flippo Gallery space was incorporated as part of the renovations to the building made in 1997. The gallery is open to the public and admission is free.

Kathryn Henry-Choisser, the director and curator of Flippo Gallery, is very excited about showing this exhibit. Henry-Choisser has been a professor of drawing at Randolph-Macon for 4 years and began working as the Flippo gallery director and curator in Fall of 2019. She has served on the board at establishments like the 1708 Gallery in Richmond, has owned her own commercial gallery in the past, and is a professional painter. Since she only began working as the director of Flippo a semester ago, Henry-Choisser has not yet curated a collection, and inherited all exhibits from this school year, including Re-presentations, from the last curator. She will curate her first season starting in the coming Fall.

This exhibit was conceptualized and curated by ceramic artists Mike Jabbur and Birdie Boone. Jabbur is an Associate Professor of Ceramics at the College of William & Mary, has shown in the United States and China, and currently exhibits at galleries around the country. Boone is a creator of contemporary ceramic tableware, a former professor, and maintains a full-time studio practice in southwestern Virginia. Their idea for this collection began with Jabbur and Boone brainstorming a group of artists who don't typically draw on their work, but whose emphasis is on the forms themselves. Jabbur says they “hoped this process would lead to less obvious interpretations of drawings.” For ceramicists, drawing is often a process for developing three-dimensional work, and drawing in their sketchbooks serves as a way of remembering ideas for form, working out proportions, investigating lines, and much more. Jabbur explains that “by asking these artists to respond to their three-dimensional work through the act of drawing, [they] hope these two-dimensional works reveal something new, whether that something be aspirational, analytical, metaphorical, or abstracted.” This collection is purposefully diverse, in terms of the artists themselves as well as the styles and mediums of each piece. Jabbur says that they “wanted gender diversity” and “to represent artists at different career stages,” be that well-established, major players in the field, mid-career artists, or emerging artists who “deserve national attention.” This exhibit also displays a variety of firing processes, methods of creation, and materials. From stoneware and earthenware to hand stitching, leatherwork, and charcoal drawings, each presentation, both 2D and 3D, is unique to each artist’s style.

Re-presentations is offered in participation with the The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference that will take place in Richmond from Mar. 25 to 28. NCECA is a national organization that promotes education and appreciation for the ceramic arts. This conference is hosted annually and includes talks from professionals, discussions, lectures, exhibitions, ceramics sales, and more. NCECA’s conference usually boasts upwards of 5,000 visitors every year, and guests include students, gallerists, critics, and ceramic enthusiasts. The part of the conference that R-MC is participating in is their presentation of over 90 different ceramic shows in Richmond and the surrounding area. These exhibitions will not only take place in galleries, but in unconventional spaces as well, such as local tattoo parlors or law offices.

Kathryn Henry-Choisser is delighted that Flippo has the opportunity to be involved in an event of this size, and thinks it is “really cool that R-MC gets to be a part of that.”

The Flippo gallery is an excellent and underrated spot on campus, and can provide an opportunity for students to both appreciate art and take some time out of their busy schedules to relax and clear their minds a bit. Henry-Choisser calls Flippo a “great, sweet little space,” and students are always welcome to stop in to appreciate the art. The Flippo Gallery is open from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. on Mondays through Fridays and by appointment. Re-presentations is on display now and will be exhibited until its closing reception on March 28th from 3:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.

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