Recent Malvern substitute teacher showcases work at Ceramic Innovations Exhibit

John McGlinn

Malvern substitute art teacher Mr. Matthew Courtney joined artists from all over the world in the Ceramics Innovations Art Exhibit at The Wayne Art Center.

Detail, Matthew Courtney “Ship Chain,” Wayne Art Center

During the month of April, the Wayne Art Center featured two shows– Ceramic Innovations and Essential Earth– that featured a wide variety of sculptural and functional ceramic art.

The Ceramic Innovations exhibit featured work from ceramic artists all across the United States, including recent Malvern substitute teacher Mr. Matthew Courtney, and several international artists. The works portrayed many different forms of ceramic work and depicted stories and themes that the artists told through the clay.

Best in Show was awarded to Shiyuan Xu for her piece “Fission #4.” Shiyuan stated in her Artist Statement that she is “trying to reinterpret the scientific facts into art forms.” She feels that the more closely we look at the world around us, the more we can appreciate art and nature as well as the complex web of life.

Courtney won one of four Awards of Merit his work “Ship Chain.” The wall-sized piece consisted of 16 strands of handbuilt chain links, each one varying in length from one to ten feet.

In discussions with Malvern students in class, Courtney shared that his art straddles the line between work and play, adulthood and childhood. Although neither of his pieces in the exhibit displayed playfulness and liveliness like that of a child, it is clear that he experiences joy in making every chain link with serious thought and consideration.

Several students and faculty visited on opening night. “It was really awesome to see [Courtney’s] work in the show,” junior Ben Mankowski said.

Mankowski is currently in Ceramics IV and has taken Ceramics since Freshman year. “All the work is really inspiring seeing so many different forms. It really makes me want to try different things in class and experiment with clay and glazes more,” said Mankowski.

One of the larger pieces in the show was a collection of broken cups made from porcelain. The piece, made by Samantha Diamond, was laid out on the floor and appeared to have liquid spilling across the floor since the cups were “broken.”

Diamond states in her artist’s statement that the cups can represent human life. When the vessel is broken we are missing something and there can be a void in our life. Our bodies, like the cups are not everlasting, there will always be an uncontrollable demise just as we die, and the cups break.

Senior Walter McDonald was another student who attended the exhibit. “I loved how the artists have strong stories or themes behind every piece. It makes me really want to give feelings and passion in my work,” McDonald said.

McDonald is currently in Ceramics IV and will have his final Malvern Art show next week, Thursday, May 5.

“The Wayne show was amazing to see every artist’s take on personal innovations they have discovered in Ceramics and pottery,” he said. “Anyone who goes [to see the exhibit] will certainly feel the power of art and inspiration the the Ceramics field.”