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Story Telling Comes Alive in Philadelphia: Tell-Tale Tiles & Fractured Fantasies

On 27, Mar 2010 | One Comment | In Uncategorized | By man-admin

When the folks at Tile Heritage Foundation (THF) and Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) announced their juried exhibition Tell-Tale Tiles & Fractured Fantasies (TTTFF) last August, we thought the idea was brilliant.

“Someone has connected the dots through the years between the work of famed of Arts and Crafts tile designer Henry Chapman Mercer and ‘outsider’ contemporary mosaicist Isaiah Zagar. It’s story telling, pure and simple.”

Well, the exhibition opened on March 19th and, glorioskees. It turns out the execution is every bit as brilliant as the idea was.

Everything about this event was done has been done with care and appreciation for the art form. The concept is terrific. The venue (PMG left) unbeatable. The accepted works exquisite. It’s part of a city-wide arts celebration that includes the 44th Annual National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) and Philagrafica 2010, Philadelphia’s “independent festival celebrating print in contemporary art.” And — here’s the kicker — if you can’t make it to Philadelphia, you can enjoy the exhibit wherever you are because the catalog is available FREE online.

Are these folks serious about celebrating clay story telling, or what?

Here are the four winning works as selected exhibition’s juror Susan Tunick, an internationally recognized ceramic/mosaic artist living and working in New York who is also President of the Friends of Terra Cotta. (Do check out her website.)

Best in Show
Pastime Near A Rigorously Modern Building

Shanna Fliegel, Oxford, NJ
19 x 19 x 1 inches Low-fire ceramic

Second Place
Self Portrait

Ashley Gray Little Rock, AR
24.5 x 21.5 x 3 inches Stoneware tiles, glaze, poplar frame

Third Place
Best Friends

Shawn Newton ( Wallingford, CT
12 x 6 inches Unglazed porcelain tile

Tile Heritage Award
Polar Bear and Inupiaq Girl

Edwin R. Mighell, Jr. Anchorage, AK
12 x 12 x 0.5 inches Collograph print on glacial clay

More stories are told in works by artists like Donna Billick, Carol Shelkin, Margy O’Brien, Paul McMullan and Linda Witkowski in the exhibit and catalog. The catalog is a virtual “Book of Tales” that we are proud to host on the Mosaic Art Now website.

And now, some pictures from the exhibition. (Courtesy of Megan R. Smith, Brownstone PR)

TTTFF also has a series of events lined up. Check with PMG for more information.

  • Tuesday, March 30 6:30 pm: “Henry Chapman Mercer and the Moravian Pottery and tiles works” lecture by Vance A Koehlder, Curator, Moravian pottery and Tile Works
  • Thursday April 1 8:00 am: Isaiah Zagar lecture at NCECA Conference
  • Thursday, April 1 5:00 – 8:00 pm: NCECA public reception

One last thing. TTTFF has also done a terrific job of attracting and acknowledging a number of great supporters, including the “Exhibition Hosting Sponsor”, LATICRETE International, Inc. (A company we’re proud to call part of the Family of MAN.)

We take our hats off to the folks at PMG and to the wonderful Shiela Menzies and Joe Taylor of the THF (a very classy organization) for creating this first-rate art experience. The exhibit runs through April 19th. If you are in Philadelphia, GO! If you’re not, then grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and head for that catalog.

Enjoy — Nancie

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