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Paper & Clay 3 invitational at SHY RABBIT features Steven Schaeffer

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts opened its third annual Paper & Clay invitational on Saturday evening to an enthusiastic crowd of local and out of town visitors.

Paper & Clay 3 continues through Aug. 8, showcasing select works by 16 printmakers and ceramic artists hailing from throughout the country.

This groundbreaking invitational exhibition marks SHY RABBIT’s 25th exhibition, as the 4,000 square-foot art center enters into its seventh year of operation in Pagosa Springs.

SHY RABBIT is open to the public daily — at no charge —from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and evenings by appointment.

In consideration of the exemplary work produced during Printmaking without a Press 1-3 WORK-shops@SHY RABBIT, a select group of advanced printmakers were invited to participate in Paper & Clay 3 by SHY RABBIT professional artist and instructor D. Michael Coffee.

The “Paper” works on display represent a commitment by these artists to the advancement of the “Reductive Ink”” printmaking process, developed by Coffee over the course of the last 23 years.

The printmakers selected by Coffee for inclusion in Paper & Clay 3 are Sandy Applegate, Marti Bledsoe, Lal Echterhoff, Linda Echterhoff and Maureen May.

In acknowledging the role that art educators and mentors play in shaping generations of artists, an exclusive exhibition opportunity was extended, by invitation, to a select group of artists at the discretion of ceramics instructor, Steven Schaeffer, M.F.A., of Northern Arizona University (NAU), Flagstaff.

The “Clay” works chosen for display include an intriguing blend of functional, sculptural and figurative ceramics produced by Schaeffer and several of NAU’s noteworthy graduate students, as well as works by prominent professional ceramic artists and art educators currently working in the field.

The ceramic artists selected for inclusion in Paper & Clay 3 are Chelsea Arndt, Tristyn H. Bustamante, James Alfred Coquia, Jack Heimerman, Jason Hess, Blake McCord, Julie Ogier, Misty Ostrowski, Larry Phan, Steven Schaeffer and Duncan Tweed.

A number of Schaeffer’s pieces are featured in this expansive display that are evidence of his experiences in the natural world. From walks in the woods, to river expeditions, these physical encounters with nature have led him to a greater level of personal consciousness.

“Understanding my environment is an essential motivation for my creative process”, states Schaeffer.

“Nature is the didactic arena that I seek. Through my studio work I have realized what these experiences are consciously revealing to me.

“River trips by boat have led me to many places. These vessels have been the carriers for my integration into the wild, which has allowed me to foster my personal connection with nature. As a result, the form of a boat or a vessel is the inspiration core of my ideas.

“I’m intent on crating work that offers the notion of hope and the embodiment of strength. This is a direct response to nature itself and the risks that are inherent within it. Nature is a collection of many of the formal qualities that interest me and in turn influence my work.”.

Schaeffer received his Bachelor of Art, ceramics, from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff in 1996; and his Master of Fine Art, ceramics, from Ohio University, Athens, in 2005.

His functional and sculptural work has been featured in numerous national and international exhibitions, including the Clay & Glass Invitational, Corning Community College, Corning, N.Y.; and The 4th World Ceramic Biennial in Korea.

Schaeffer’s work has also been published widely in a variety of ceramic magazines and books, such as Clay Times and Ceramics Monthly, and is included in the permanent collections of the Denver International Airport, and the Jingdezen Ceramic Institute, Jingdezen, China; among others.

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts: Gallery, Studio and Workshops is located at 333 Bastille Drive, two blocks north of US 160, off of North Pagosa Boulevard. 

The 4,000 square-foot art center houses a fine art gallery and ceramic studio, two mixed-media workshops and rotating exhibition spaces.

SHY RABBIT presents four to six exhibitions annually, showcasing the finest in contemporary art by emerging, mid-career and nationally recognized artists from throughout the country.

SHY RABBIT’s 2010 exhibition schedule continues with SHY RABBIT Print National 2, Sept. 4-Oct. 31. Juror: Yuji Hiratsuka.

For more information on SHY RABBIT, visit www.shyrabbit.com or call 731-2766.

For more information on exhibitions, visit www.shyrabbit.com/Exhibits.html.