VisArts presents CENTERING, a group exhibition exploring the variety and breadth of contemporary ceramic practice today, from the traditional to the more conceptual and experimental.
The works included are from an eclectic group of four artists who address a range of themes: notions of imperialism through traditional forms; imagery addressing issues affecting the LGBTQ community; personal investigations of forms found in nature; exploration of the social, biological, and psychological processes that are the invisible scaffolding supporting the human body; and works that address sea-level rise, environmental pollution, and the displacement among descendants of the African diaspora.
About the Artists
Connor Czora is an artist, educator, and activist based in Washington, D.C. Born in Rochester, N.Y., they received their B.F.A. in ceramics and gender studies from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).
Czora’s work explores the relationships between imperial ceramics, cultural taste, and sociopolitical power structures in the U.S. Tracing the history of Western decorative arts, their work interrogates how ideologies are embedded and perpetuated within cultural objects.
Czora’s art has been shown and awarded internationally, including features in the 2021 NCECA Annual: Social Recession and Time’s Best Photojournalism of 2020. Previously, Czora was an assistant instructor at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and interned at Baltimore Clayworks. He is the creative director of the District Clay Center, where he also teaches.
Morel Doucet is a Miami-based multidisciplinary artist and arts educator who hails from Haiti. His work uses illustrations, ceramics, and prints to discuss the impact of climate gentrification, migration, and displacement affecting Black diasporic communities. Through a contemporary reconfiguration of the Black experience, Doucet’s work catalogs a powerful record of environmental decay at the intersection of economic inequity, the commodification of industry, personal labor, and race.
Doucet graduated from the New World School of the Arts with the Distinguished Dean’s Award for Ceramics. He continued his education at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), receiving his B.F.A. in ceramics with a minor in creative writing and a concentration in illustration.
Doucet’s Emmy-nominated work has been featured and reviewed in numerous publications, including Vogue Mexico, The New York Times, Oxford University Press, Hyperallergic, Luxe Interiors + Design, Biscayne Times, PBS, Miami Herald, WhiteHot Magazine, The Berlin Journal, and Hypebeast. His work is held in collections of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Tweed Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, the Plymouth Box Museum, Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art, Microsoft, and Facebook.
Doucet has exhibited extensively in national and international institutions, including the Havana Biennial, the Venice Biennale, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center (Miami, Fla.), the National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts (Pittsburgh, Pa.), the American Museum of Ceramic Art (Pomona, Calif.), the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Flaten Art Museum at St. Olaf College, São Tomé et Príncipe, Haitian Heritage Museum (Miami, Fla.), and Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum (Miami, Fla.).
Sara Parent-Ramos was born in Washington, D.C. to Italian and Canadian parents. She has a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.F.A. from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She received a State University of New York Thayer Fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship to Italy and has completed residencies at the Cite International des Arts in Paris and Joshua Tree National Park. Parent-Ramos is an assistant professor of art at Montgomery College (Rockville, Md.).
Parent-Ramos repeats the theme of visible creation of scaffolded structures in her work. She sees a direct allegorical relationship between the sculptural scenarios she creates and the social, biological, and psychological processes that are the invisible scaffolding supporting the human body, society, and mind. Parent-Ramos observes that social structures have the potential to both support exploration and expansion and perpetuate unjust social situations, like inequality. One of her goals as an artist is to make mental, biological, and social scaffolds corporal. She invites the viewer to consider the structures that support their own bodies, outlook, and social context.
Parent-Ramos’ current artwork investigates the microbiome, the wonderful and terrifyingly elusive world thriving inside and outside us. Our gut flora and fauna outnumber us, predate us, and can have a large impact on our functioning. Over the past decade, new research has emerged shedding light on the influence of bacteria on our health, mood, behavior, and feelings.
Judit Varga describes finding the perfect balance between shape, color, surface, and structure as a challenge and emotional struggle. The mere existence of such powerful energy makes her want to work with clay.
Varga’s work is strongly connected to nature and its organic structures. Her inspiration comes from small artifacts collected on walks or trips with family members. These fragile imprints of nature provide a rich visual vocabulary, endless shapes, and colors. She works alone in her studio, and the peaceful loneliness provides the perfect stage to work with clay. Sometimes in the silence she finds moments of harmony, when she and the clay understand each other perfectly and know exactly what the other wants to do. These are the moments Varga longs for, and this longing draws her back to the studio to open up a new bag of clay and start again.
Varga is a native of Hungary. She studied mathematics and art in college before receiving her M.F.A. in studio ceramics and art education at the Moholy Nagy University of Arts and Design in Budapest. She moved to the U.S. in 1993 and eventually set up her ceramic studio in Maryland. For the last few years, Varga has worked as a professorial lecturer of ceramics at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. – a great counterbalance to those lonely times in the studio.Learn More