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?


  1. Linda- thank you for this post- it is food for thought.

  2. What an amazing exhibit...and so thought-provoking. Thanks, Linda, for sharing!

  3. An interesting show, and right there in Visalia! Treasures right there in the valley. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Beautiful exhibit and interesting ideas.

    My plate? My eyes are always larger than my stomach (in real life and theory). I'm trying to serve myself that which I can comfortably consume.

  5. Meredith, when I read Una's artist statement and the exhibit really got me to thinking.

    Becky, over the last week I have found myself coming back to how I felt about this exhibit.

    Patricia, lately there have been so many good exhibits locally, I am amazed, particularly ceramics, which is fine with me.

    Cynthia, my eyes are the same, especially when it comes to ideas about clay. I found Una's statement about many not reaching their full potential creatively very thought provoking and have been reflecting on that thought over the past week.


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