Highfield Hall & Gardens Showcases Work By Internationally Recognized Ceramicist Chris Gustin and Other Nationally Recognized Artists
(Falmouth, Massachusetts – June 7, 2018) This summer Highfield Hall & Gardens will feature its first exhibition of contemporary ceramics with the work of internationally recognized ceramicist Chris Gustin and other nationally recognized artists. CrossCurrents: Movements in Contemporary Ceramics will bring together Gustin’s work along with eight artists with whom he has worked collaboratively during the last 40 years.
Another section of the exhibition will showcase the work of 32 ceramicists that have come from across the United States to fire their ceramics in Gustin’s Japanese-style anagama kiln in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. CrossCurrents: Movements in Contemporary Ceramics will be on view June 24 through September 3, 2018 at Highfield Hall & Gardens. An artist reception is scheduled for Sunday, June 24, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to the public.
Anagama, a Japanese term that means “cave kiln,” describes single-chamber kilns built in a sloping tunnel shape and are traditionally used by ceramicists in Korea and Japan. The anagama is fueled with firewood, in contrast to the electric or gas-fueled kilns commonly used by most contemporary potters. Gustin’s anagama kiln is one of the largest in New England and he has collaborated with hundreds of ceramicists and national organizations and institutions.
Twice a year artists come from around the country to visit his studio and join in a collaborative 10-day experience in which the artists participate in the firing process–loading and maintaining the huge wood-fired anagama kiln. “CrossCurrents” is a metaphor for the collaborative conversations and interactions that these artists share while working the kiln together and how the currents of fire rush through the kiln, very much like how water moves through a river.
“With this exhibition I want to convey to the audience a sense of a collective artistic expression,” said Chris Gustin. “Though the act of making is individual, all of these artists come together with others to help fire the finished pieces in a variety of different kilns. This community feeds the work, and this exhibition will be a reflection of that influence.”
In addition to his work in the exhibition, Gustin is curating the show and has chosen the following eight artists to participate: Barry Bartlett, Jonathan Cross, Perry Haas, Matt Long, Jan McKeachie Johnston, Dan Molyneux, Nancy Train Smith, and Arnie Zimmerman.
Gustin has also invited the following 32 artists to create small vessels and sculptures for an adjacent gallery: Chris Archer, Ben Bates, Ashwini Bhat, Sarah Caruso, Colby Charpentier, Tom Coleman, Faith Conner, Hollis Engley, Katie Fee, Debra Fleury, Wayne Fuerst, Maurisse Gray, Craig Hartenberger, Frances Johnson, Beth Kendall, Lucien Koonce, Jim Lawton, Eric Maglio, Joe McCaffery, Maureen Mills, Tim Mitchell, Steve Murphy, Tess Oldfield, John Oles, Seth Rainville, Don Ridley, Martha Sears, Zach Shaw, Kim Sheerin, Rosanne Sniderman, and Natalie Squillante.
Gustin is best known for his large-scale curvaceous vessels that speak to the human figure as well as the artist’s hand. Scale is important to Gustin’s work and the exhibition includes three of his large sculptures that are four feet in height. His work explores abstraction in clay finished with a layer of luminous glaze in various earth tones.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Highfield Hall will present demonstrations and information about how ceramics are made, and in particular, the workings of an anagama kiln.
About Chris Gustin
Born in 1952 in Chicago, Illinois, Gustin grew up in Los Angeles, California, where he was surrounded by ceramics from an early age as his family was a co-owner of several commercial whiteware ceramic manufacturing companies. From the age of 18, he became the factory foreman and manager at Wildwood Ceramics. He received a Kansas City Art Institute, where he received a BFA in ceramics in 1975, and then in 1977 at MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Gustin taught at the Parson’s School of Design in New York (1978-1980). In 1980, he became an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at Boston University. In 1985, the Program in Artisanry moved to the Swain School of Design in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he became Associate Professor of Ceramics and the head of the ceramics program (now the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth) where he taught for 10 years. He started the tile company Gustin Ceramics Tile Production in 1996, and his tile is represented nationally by architects, designers and tile showrooms.
Gustin’s work is published extensively, and is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the World Ceramic Exposition Foundation in Icheon, Korea, and the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art. With more than 40 solo exhibitions, he has exhibited, lectured and taught workshops in the United States, Caribbean, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He has received two National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowships, and three Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowships, the most recent in 2017. He is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics and was elected to the American Craft Council College of Fellows in 2016. He was awarded the Masters of the Medium award from the James Renwick Alliance in 2017. Gustin is cofounder of the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine, and currently serves as Honorary Trustee on its board.
About Highfield Hall & Gardens
Highfield Hall & Gardens, the magnificent Victorian mansion with beautiful gardens located on Cape Cod, is a unique combination of historic home, expansive gardens and trails, and a vibrant cultural center. Built in 1878 as the summer home for Boston’s Beebe family, the mansion sits on 5.5 pristine acres surrounded by nearly 400 acres of conservation land and public walking trails. While there’s plenty of history within these glorious old walls, Highfield Hall & Gardens is not your typical historic estate. Highfield Hall offers world-class music, contemporary art exhibitions, family programs, and year-round special events. Expect the unexpected!
Highfield Hall & Gardens is open April 15 through October 31, Tuesday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $8 adults, $5 seniors, and free for members and children. In July and August, admission is free during Free Friday nights from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The gardens and grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk free of charge. Highfield Hall is wheelchair accessible and handicapped parking is available. For more information, visit highfield.org or call 508-495-1878, ext. 2.