Thursday, November 20, 2008
Harvest: Ceramic Still Lives by Una Mjurka
I took advantage of being in Visalia today to see the ceramic solo exhibit Harvest: Ceramic Still Lives by Una Mjurka at College of the Sequoias. The exhibit will run through December 4th. The middle of the gallery contained two long banquet tables, one filled with ceramic ingredients for a feast, the other table was bare with a chair at the end. I was immediately struck with the contrast between the two tables, one overly abundant and one glaringly empty. I couldn't help but feel many families will be faced with the realities of a table much more bare than bountiful this season.
Realistic fowl, fish, fruit, vegetables and breads were presented on the Harvest table in baskets, bowls, crates and also strewn on the table in their overabundance. The sheer magnitude of the bounty was astonishing to me as I thought what it would be like to make all the ceramic pieces. The pieces were finished in an almost monochromatic color scheme with soft matt slips and stains with only an occasional hint of color. The muted colors unified the harvest table into a whole.
Una Mjurka described her current work "We use food as a communication device, we gain a sense of security through it, and we fill emotional voids with physical nutrients and obtain a sense of belonging through food. It has become a friend, a symbol, an identify or even an obsession. As a society we have a very peculiar relationship with our daily bread..."
The exhibit is about human potential and the choices we make. Una Mjurka went on to say, "Even though one could assume that in the developed countries all deficit needs can be met and easily fulfilled, this providing a fertile environment for the growth motivation, it is surprising how few actually are reaching their creative potential".
Is your table full or empty?