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“Two Dimensions” Exhibit Features ONU Retired Ceramic Professor

Bruce ChesserCeramics by Bruce Chesser (and photographs by Phill Hugo) are on display at the Mezzanine Gallery of ArtSpace/Lima at St. Rita’s Memorial. The exhibit opened July 1 and closes September 30, 2009. A reception was held Wednesday, July 15.

Professor Chesser specializes in contemporary interpretations of traditional functional ceramics. He is a retired professor of art at Ohio Northern University where he taught ceramics for over 30 years. He also served as chair of the department of art & design for 12 years. Previously, he taught at Ohio University, Athens.

He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in fine arts from OU and has participated in more than 100 juried, invitational and one-person art shows. Prof. Chesser also has conducted numerous workshops and lectures on salt-glazing and raku pottery.

In a statement about his current direction, Chesser said, “The forms I make are my contemporary interpretations of traditional functional ceramics. Ceramic works that I have long admired have come from man’s cultures and time periods, the Japanese Momoyama period, Korean ceramics of the Koryo Period, early American salt glaze pottery, and many others.”

“It is not my intention to copy these forms,” explained Chesser, “but to capture the spirit of them. I want my pots to show skill and a sureness of touch, yet, have a casual feel and a spontaneous and lively presence.”

The process of firing ceramics can be a difficult process because artists do not have total control. According to Chesser, “The surface is produced by applying slips and glazes to areas of the unfired pieces and then firing them in a salt glaze kiln. A salt glaze is developed by throwing salt (NaCl) into a hot kiln. The salt vaporizes and combines with silica in the clay to form sodium silicate, a hard glaze.”

“My intent is to be a partner with the firing to produce a surface with a variety of color and texture. I prepare the surface of the clay with care and then let the intense heat of the fire and path of the salt vapors complete the pieces. Many times, the firing is a more than willing partner and produces effects that surprise and delight.”

ArtSpace/Lima is a not-for-profit arts organization with a mission to promote the arts in northwest Ohio and to provide artists with a venue to present and to sell their work. Art/Space is supported in part by a generous grant from the Ohio Arts Council. For further information on the exhibit or for information regarding other ArtSpace programs, visit ArtSpace or call 419.222.1721.

ONU offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second edition of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the top 200 creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image: Bottle, by Bruce Chesser, at the Mezzanine Gallery