A new exhibit coming to Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts this fall will display the collaborative work created by two Centre faculty members.
“2,000 Degrees: A Fire Odyssey,” is a three-dimensional exhibition that features hand-built ceramic sculptures by Japanese artist and Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Kensuke Yamada and glass creations by H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Art Stephen Rolfe Powell.
The idea for this exhibit came from the Norton Center for the Arts Executive Director Steve Hoffman.
“As I was looking at the schedule for upcoming exhibitions, I wanted to present something that showcased a Centre College faculty member,” said Steve Hoffman. “Stephen Powell is very sought after as an artist and an exhibitor and is also very busy, so we don’t get to see a lot of his work on campus or in the community.”
Hoffman shared that, last December, he put together a Centre-related cultural trip to Yamaguchi, Japan, and invited Yamada to be part of the delegation to share his Japanese and American influences in pottery with, and learn from, master potters from Japan.
“We got to know each other through this trip, and it dawned on me that both he and Stephen work with natural earth-based materials that are then baked; perhaps there could be a way to have these incredible artists collaborate in a show that compared each of their unique styles of artwork while unifying the exhibition with a couple of joint pieces,” he said.
Hoffman said his initial excitement for the exhibit started during a meeting to discuss the idea while listening to Powell and Yamada talk about what they envisioned could happen with a joint exhibition.
“I next got excited about being able to see them realize their vision in the studio,” he said. “Watching art be made is like watching magic be created from a dream.”
Yamada explained how glass and ceramics are both a heavily processed base form of art and how there are similarities to both art forms.
“We like our part of process and challenge in our own work, and who knows how this experiment will change finished work from our own work,” Yamada said. “The exciting part is we do not know what kind of challenge is waiting for us by doing collaborative work.
“We have been sharing both sides of processes to make one piece together, and it is very exciting to see where this collaborative work will take us,” he concluded.
Hoffman explained how having two very different faculty members collaborate on a project would allow them to not only learn from each other but to share what they learn with the campus and public by creating new pieces.
“I look forward to seeing the finished collaborative works, combined with selected works done individually,” Hoffman said.
The exhibit is open from September to December and is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as by appointment and when the Norton Center is open for concerts and related activities.
by Kerry Steinhofer
Aug. 2, 2017