Through the month of February, Midtown Gallery at The Clayworks in Hutchinson has the honor of showing the incredible creations by Sheldon & Linda Ganstrom. Irene Nielsen is showing her jewelry in the jewelry cases as well. Photos do not do this display justice. Stop in and see it for yourself! You don’t want to miss this.
We will be holding a RED HOT Reception for them on February 16th. Please join us to view and purchase artwork and enjoy wine and REDfreshments. Please come in your favorite red attire.
This event is free and open to the public.
Among the most masterful glaze painters working within the American raku tradition, Sheldon Ganstrom has spent over four decades exploring and developing a unique and personal palette of glaze variations and firing techniques. Hard edge, geometric abstract glaze painting occasionally punctuated by the earthy, organic edges of the clay invites entry into a world of pure emotion. Utilizing incredible colors, textures, and smoke affects, his complex and contrasting design elements express the dramatic shift of life and relationships. A master potter, Ganstrom’s expertly crafted ceramic forms allow his glaze paintings to escape the wall and enter the world on a three-dimensional canvas full of actual textures and tactile wonder.
As an artist, Sheldon Ganstrom began his education as a painter and printmaker before discovering the expressive, sculptural potential of ceramics. By focusing on electric kiln fired glazes, smoked in post firing reduction, Ganstrom has developed an extensive and unique glaze palette. Carefully designing and executing his glaze paintings over days, even weeks; each work is submitted to the demanding test of fire. Intense focus and technical expertise are required as Ganstrom pulls his glazed piece from the kiln while the glaze is still molten and the clay hot enough to accept the effects of the smoke. The risk and adventure of the smoking process adds subtle variation to his meticulous glaze painting producing a unique work that combines his carefully controlled painting with the spontaneous patterns of the smoking process.
After a decade of teaching, Sheldon Ganstrom has exclusively dedicated himself to his studio practice for the last three decades. Exhibiting in art events across America, this graduate of Kansas State University has work in public and private collections across the United States, China, Japan, Europe, and Russia and is featured in numerous books and publications. “Raku: Origins, Impact, and Contemporary Expression” at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, CA was a career highlight as “Pilgrimage Relic” was purchased for the museum’s permanent collection.
Creating physical depictions of historical and contemporary women, my realistic ceramic sculptures seek to honor women. Building on domestic depictions of women as dolls, mannequins, or fashion icons, I combine my feminine views of the body with the tradition of nude sculpture created by and for the male gaze. My figures are seen through the lens of a woman’s experience and truth. The life scale, realistic color and detail of these figures confronts the viewer in real space, exposed and individual, vulnerable, and particular, a presence beyond beauty. Fired to high temperatures these hollow clay figures have an eternal presence allowing them to withstand the pressure of time, offering a form of immortality not dependent on flesh. Deeply rooted I live and work only an hour away from our family farm in rural Kansas surrounded by prairie, cattle, and generations of family. Close ties to the land and growing things inspire me to literally work with the earth as a ceramic sculptor, while my interest in people fuels my figurative forms. Realism, beauty, mystery, and character continue to fascinate and inform my figures while personality, gesture, and fashion ornament their characters. From leaf impressions on mud pies to highly ornamented magical realism figures, clay continues to fascinate, hold impressions, and transforms my imagination into permanence.
Irene Nielsen Artist Statement
Art is an important form of emotional communication. It is exhilarating and healing for the artist. The attempts to share that emotion is a part of human language. Art is free of grammar and spelling while being powerfully essential to the soul and a quality of life.
The diversity of my art expresses my longevity with the privilege of experiences. Scandinavian rosemaling marries traditional painting with current wire-wrapping and jewelry findings. Jewelry may be small and demure or a statement of strength and presence. Performance arts reveal the first-person story of women who challenged and changed history. Food as lunch, Afternoon “high” Tea, and hospitality arts support a satisfaction of shared relationships with nourishment and being a special guest.