Pictured above: Juan DeJesus Barroso – “Honoring the Fruit Picker”
While the Idyllwild Arts campus remains closed to the general public, its Parks Exhibition Center now features a vibrant show called Hardscapes that can be enjoyed online at idyllwildartsgallery.org/
Hardscapes is subtitled “An Exploration of Ceramic Surface Treatments.” It marks the first visiting artist exhibit on campus in two years, as well as a cautious return to pre-pandemic business-as-usual for Parks Exhibition Center, which has traditionally coordinated about ten exhibits during the Idyllwild Arts Academy school year, including one or two group or solo shows of the work of visiting artists.
Idyllwild Arts faculty members Jasmine Peck and Cristie Scott have co-curated an exhibit that showcases creations by, among others, Adrienne Eliades, who recently completed her first year as Program Coordinator for the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program’s Hot Clay Week.
Rounding out the list of Hardscapes exhibitors are Iranian-born Katayoun Amjadi, Juan Barroso, Hong Kong-born Ling Chun, Jonathan Cross, Brazilian-born Louise Deroualle, Jason Garcia (Okuu Pin’/ Turtle Mountain) of Santa Clara Pueblo, and Nicole Seisler.
Enriching the Visual Arts Department
The diverse origins of these groundbreaking ceramic artists serve as a reminder of the international reach of Idyllwild Arts, whose current Academy students come from more than thirty different countries. It is fitting that the diversity of the Hardscapes artists should mirror the Academy’s diversity, since a major goal of the guest artist exhibits is to allow the Visual Arts Department to enrich its studio programs for students. Visual Arts teachers encourage their students to engage with guest artists to learn hands-on techniques and alternative creative approaches.
The Hardscapes show challenges Academy students to rediscover the ceramics medium, and in particular to immerse themselves in the astonishingly broad range of ways to treat surface: for example, through hand tools, forming, glazing, sandblasting, firing, or mixed-media additions. An entire, nearly month-long exhibit devoted to ceramic surface treatments gives Idyllwild Arts students a precious opportunity for intense focus on technique and process.
A Memorable Masterclass
Parks Exhibition Center visiting artist exhibits typically bring at least one of the featured artists to campus for a masterclass. As part of the Hardscapes experience, Nicole Seisler spent three days with thirty ceramics students and Visual Arts teachers in order to produce a “wall wedging drawing” in the gallery.
Seisler, based in Los Angeles, creates sculpture, installation, and public art that investigate time, materiality, process, and how the roles of artist, viewer, participant, and collaborator overlap. She has exhibited widely at museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Museum of Fine Arts Tallahassee, and last year she published a book, Recipes for Conceptual Clay (in the Time of Covid-19).