BAKERSVILLE The artists featured in Interpreting the Cup, a new ceramics exhibit at Crimson Laurel Gallery, represent a range of influences, techniques and ambitions.
But they are all linked in one important way: Fletcher artist Jason Bige Burnett loves their work.
As a first-time curator and an accomplished Fletcher artist, Burnett started the process early this year by compiling a massive wish list of about 95 artists from around the world that he admired.
I wrote each individual artists and told them what I liked about their work, Burnett said.
Eighty-four artists contributed about 400 cups to Interpreting the Cup, which will be on display through Dec. 31. The array of work is amazing.
When these artists agreed to contribute to the show, including Ayumi Horie
, Kathy King
, Shawn O'Conner
and Judith Duff
, he got goosebumps, he said.
Burnett, who also contributed some wall tiles featuring a tiny teacup, focused on providing diverse demonstration of firing methods, construction techniques and surface designs. But the story he wanted to tell with the show goes beyond the surface, beyond the method or the material.
I wanted to focus on the cup, not just because they are really small, marketable and affordable, Burnett said.
Its really the idea behind anything thats made that is significant.
The cup may be a simple form, Burnett said, but how artists interpret it reveals their complex visions. The cup is kind of an impression of an artist.
Burnett has already made an impression as an artist. Since earning degrees in ceramics, printmaking and graphic design in Western Kentucky University in 2009, hes exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally. He recently completed a two-year fellowship at Penland School of Crafts.
After completing the fellowship, Burnett had three goals: He wanted to teach (which he did at Ashevilles Odyssey Center), write and curate a show. And spending so much time outside the studio made him realize that hes ready for graduate school, a plan he hopes keeps him in Western North Carolina.
Burnett wants the show to be a celebration of the form and ideas, he said, and how when these two things are paired , something so normal is elevated.
The cup is a familiar object that is so universal, he said, and if the audience understands that this common cup form is actually inspired by something incredible, a routine cup of coffee is no longer thoughtless and routine.