Continuing through August 30, 2015
The five Arizona ceramic artists in “Five on Tile” gained recognition in 2012 when they collaborated on a large public art project for downtown Chandler, a growing Phoenix suburb. But each artist has a particular style when it comes to studio work, and their range of vessels, plaques and tile work is given generous display here. Three years ago, Sue Berzelius, Kathleen Escobedo, Steven Fitch, Alvin Pace and Ted Wolter were commissioned to create tiled benches, tables and pedestals for several blocks of downtown Chandler in celebration of Arizona’s Centennial. The mostly nature-themed pieces required more than 8,000 hand-crafted tiles, which remain a lively addition to the sidewalks. With “Five on Tile” we see the artists’ individual versatility.
Pace's two-foot-wide platters dominate the walls they hang on, with their abstract surfaces of stripes, bubbles and amorphous shapes. “Platter #144” plays off Asian ceramics, with wide black swaths like giant calligraphy strokes atop an electric-orange surface. Berzelius often incorporates human and animal caricatures into her vessels, plaques and tiles. Her “Cored Vase” stands out for its unexpected towering form and rustic colors and texture. Wolter explores asymmetrical shapes in his foot-high vessels, and is versed in Shino and Tan Matt glazing, among other techniques. Fitch makes appealing oversized pitchers and jars, and Escobedo concentrates on tiles, working with delicate flower and bird imagery. Collectively, the five artists have more than 60 years of ceramics experience, which itself helps explain why this is such an eye-catching show.