March 31 – May 21
VisArts presents CENTERING, a group exhibition exploring the variety and breadth of contemporary ceramic practice today, from the traditional to the more conceptual and experimental.
The works included are from an eclectic group of four artists who address a range of themes: notions of imperialism through traditional forms; imagery addressing issues affecting the LGBTQ community; personal investigations of forms found in nature; exploration of the social, biological, and psychological processes that are the invisible scaffolding supporting the human body; and works that address sea-level rise, environmental pollution, and the displacement among descendants of the African diaspora.
Artists included: Connor Czora, Morel Doucet, Sara Parent-Ramos, Judit Varga
Connor Czora is an artist, educator, and activist currently based in Washington, DC. Born in Rochester, NY, they received their BFA in Ceramics and Gender Studies from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2019.
Czora’s work explores the relationships between imperial ceramics, cultural taste, and sociopolitical power structures in the United States. Tracing the history of Western decorative arts, their work interrogates how ideologies are embedded and perpetuated within cultural objects.
Czora’s art has been shown and awarded internationally, including features in the 2021 NCECA Annual: Social Recession and Time’s Best Photojournalism of 2020. Previously, Czora has assistant-taught at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and interned at Baltimore Clayworks. Czora currently teaches and works as Creative Director at the District Clay Center.
Morel Doucet (b. 1990) is a Miami-based multidisciplinary artist and arts educator that hails from Haiti. His work utilizes illustrations, ceramics, and prints to discuss the impact of climate-gentrification, migration, and displacement affecting Black diasporic communities. Through a contemporary reconfiguration of the Black experience, his work catalogs a powerful record of environmental decay at the intersection of economic inequity, the commodification of industry, personal labor, and race.
Doucet’s Emmy-nominated work has been featured and reviewed in numerous publications, including Vogue Mexico, The New York Times, Oxford University Press, Hyperallergic, Luxe Interiors + Design, Biscayne Times, PBS, Miami Herald, WhiteHot Magazine, The Berlin Journal, and Hypebeast. He graduated from the New World School of the Arts with the Distinguished Dean’s Award for Ceramics. From there, he continued his education at the Maryland Institute College of Art, receiving his BFA in Ceramics with a minor in creative writing and a concentration in illustration. Doucet’s work is held in collections of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Tweed Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, the Plymouth Box Museum, Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art, Microsoft, and Facebook.
Doucet has exhibited extensively in national and international institutions, including the Havana Biennial; the Venice Biennale, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, Miami, FL; the National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts, Pittsburgh, PA; the American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, CA; the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami; Flaten Art Museum, St. Olaf College, São Tomé et Príncipe, Haitian Heritage Museum, Miami, FL, and Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami, FL.
As an Arts Educator, his interest is helmed by immersing young audiences in personalized courses that instigate curiosity, sensory perception, and visual literacy.
Morel is currently represented by Gallery Myrtis.
Born in Washington, DC to Italian/Canadian parents, Sara Parent-Ramos received at BA from Swarthmore College in 2003 and an MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2013. She has been the recipient of a State University of New York Thayer Fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship to Italy and has completed residencies at the Cite International des Arts in Paris and Joshua Tree National Park. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Montgomery College in Maryland.
The visible creation of scaffolded structures is a repeated theme in my work. I see a direct allegorical relationship between the sculptural scenarios I create and the social, biological and psychological processes that are the invisible scaffolding supporting the human body, society and mind. Social structures have the potential to both support exploration and expansion and perpetuate unjust social situations, like inequality. One of my goals as an artist is to make mental, biological and social scaffolds corporal. I invite the viewer to consider the structures that support their own bodies, outlook and social context. My current artwork, investigates the microbiome, the wonderful and terrifyingly elusive world thriving inside and outside us. Our gut flora and fauna outnumber us, predate us, and can have a large impact on our functioning. Over the past decade, new research has emerged shedding light on the influence of bacteria on our health, mood, behavior and feelings.
Judit Varga is a native of Hungary. She studied mathematics and art in college before she went to the Moholy Nagy University of Arts and Design in Budapest where she majored in studio ceramics. Shortly after graduating in 1993 she moved to the US, and eventually set up her ceramic studio in Maryland. Over the last several years she also works as a professorial lecturer of ceramics at George Washington University, in Washington, DC which gives her a great counterbalance for those lonely times in her studio.
Finding the perfect balance between shape, color, surface and structure is always a challenge, an emotional struggle. The mere existence of this powerful energy makes it so appealing to me to work with clay. My work has a strong connection with nature and the organic structures it is built upon. My inspiration comes from small artifacts I collect on walks or trips with my family. These fragile imprints of nature provide me with a rich visual vocabulary, endless shapes and colors. I work in the solitude in my studio and this peaceful loneliness gives me the perfect stage to work with clay. Sometimes in the silence there is a moment of harmony when clay and I understand each other perfectly, both of us know exactly what the other wants to do. These are the moments I long for and this longing draws me back in the studio to open up a new bag of clay and start again.
Image Credit: Morel Doucet, The Hills We Die On (Flowers for President Jovenel Moïse), 2021