By JAN SJOSTROM
DAILY NEWS ARTS EDITOR
Updated: 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010
Posted: 6:27 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010
Most of the 13 artists are graduates of the school’s master’s degree program, where they studied with teachers such as functional artist Linda Arbuckle and figurative ceramist Nan Smith. “Their ceramics program is fabulous,” said Ann Fay Rushforth, the Armory’s director of programs.
Organizers Tammy Marinuzzi and Magda Gluszek called the exhibition “Motley Moxie” because of the strength of the work and the diversity of techniques and subjects.
“One of the great things about the school is that it encourages self-expression,” said Marinuzzi, an associate professor of art at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City. “It gives you tools, but everybody winds up an individual.”
One common thread might be that most of the pieces reference some kind of story, said Gluszek, a resident artist at Roswell Art Center West in Roswell, Ga.
There’s definitely a strong strain of social commentary in the show, Rushforth said.
For example, Pavel Amromin peoples his porcelain tableaux with Disneyesque characters and colors.
The dog-human figures seem simultaneously clueless and dangerous. They hold guns in sexually suggestive positions and snap photos of injured victims with their cell phones. A piece titled Homeward Bound represents amputees sitting in a row, like objects on a shelf.
Amromin refers to his figures as boy-soldiers and crossbreeds them with dogs because both can be both biddable and vicious.
The artist is commenting on the sanitization of war. “By condoning and supporting war, we condone and support whatever happens in war,” he said. “By making soldiers heros, we gloss over and lose touch with what we’re actually asking our soldiers to do.”
Jeremy Randall’s underlying message is less overt. His silo bud vases and barn wall tiles, with their suggestions of rivets and rusting metal, reference the architecture and implements of rural America and the nation’s vanishing sense of community.
Gluszek’s submissions take a humorous view of people’s efforts to conform and impress one another with their appearance. In Fashion Victim #2, an outlandishly decorated female head is displayed like a hunting trophy. The series comments on “how we all have at one time or another sacrificed some amount of comfort to appear in a certain way to others,” she said.
Marinuzzi’s deliberately unpolished work bears witness to her keen observation of the shifting emotions of the people around her. A cup titled Blue Boy was inspired by the pouting face of her 1-year-old son.
This class reunion of sorts also contains understated tableware by Conner McKissack and a meticulously crafted decorative piece by Yumiko Goto that looks like the offspring of a vegetable and a coral rock.
Viewers are welcome to interpret the art as they please, Marinuzzi said. Her aim was to expose more people to the quality of her colleagues’ work, she said.