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Paper & Clay 3 features wood-fired ceramics by Jason Hess

Paper & Clay 3 continues at SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts, through Aug. 8, featuring a wide range of functional and sculptural ceramics as well as an impressive selection of hand-pressed prints.

The 16 artists selected for inclusion are diverse in their experience and background, hailing from Colorado, Arizona, Montana and Texas, and comprised of Northern Arizona University (NAU) educators/alumni/undergraduates, and a group of emerging and nationally recognized printmakers.

There is something for everyone in this wide-ranging show, whether you are a longtime collector of original prints and ceramics, or simply an appreciator of art, interested in enjoying a showing of exciting new work.

This third annual Paper & Clay 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 by professional artist and workshop instructor D. Michael Coffee, to participate in Paper & Clay 3.

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

The “Clay’” works chosen for display include an intriguing blend of functional, sculptural and figurative ceramics produced by ceramics instructor, Steven Schaeffer, M.F.A., of Northern Arizona University (NAU), Flagstaff, along with several of NAU’s noteworthy graduate students, 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, Larry Phan, Steven Schaeffer, and Duncan Tweed.

Arizona ceramic artist and art educator Jason Hess is inspired to make functional pots by a desire to have objects that fulfill specific purposes.

Hess is particularly interested in the presentation of his work, and the infinite and elusive variety of texture and color that is attainable through the various making and firing processes that he uses.

“I enjoy presenting my work so that a viewer might notice and appreciate subtle differences in form and surface.

“By grouping similar forms of differing size and color, I hope to compose a visually dynamic display, which invites the viewer to enjoy the tactile nature of each individual piece, and how they relate to one another.”

Hess’ “Seven Tall Bottles” is a perfect example of this dynamic at play. This stunning grouping of seven wood-fired bottles (ranging in size from 28 to 32 inches tall, (each approximately 4 inches wide) pulls the viewer in for a closer look, inviting discovery of the captivatingly rich surface of each individual piece, and the relationship that the bottles have to one another within the group.

In contrast, but in keeping with his philosophy, Hess also has functional pots included in the mix. “Teapot with Cups” has also been wood-fired, but in this instance, fulfills a specific purpose in addition to being aesthetic pleasing.

Hess received his bachelor of arts, studio art, with departmental honors, from Beloit College, Beloit, Wash., in 1991; and his master of fine arts, ceramics, from Utah State University, Logan, Utah, in 1996.

Hess has instructed ceramics at various universities since 1997. He currently serves as associate professor of art at Northern Arizona University (NAU), in Flagstaff.

He has been the recipient of numerous grants through the years, including the Artist Projects Grant, from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Phoenix, Arizona; and the Intramural Grant Program, from NAU.

Hess’ work has been published widely, appearing in such books as “500 Cups: Ceramic Explorations of Utility & Grace,” Lark Books, 2004 (pp. 170, 315 photos); in addition to Ceramics Monthly, Clay Times, Ceramics Art and Perception, and Ceramics Technical on numerous occasions.

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts: Gallery, Studio and Workshops is located at 333 Bastille Drive, two blocks north of U.S. 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.

Workshops of all levels are also offered in ceramics, printmaking, and professional artist development, instructed by professional artist and SHY RABBIT Creative Director D. Michael Coffee.

For more information on Coffee, visit www.dmcarts.com.

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.