Amaco generously provided two $100 dollar awards and Bruce Dehnert has chosen one Juror's Choice Award.
Words from Bruce about the awards:
Its arguable when political art has been more important. When I first encountered Ben Shahn’s “Jersey Homesteads,” I was living in Queens with two Holocaust survivors, trading carpentry work for rent. That experience, along with so many others I can’t begin to describe, has stayed with me. Our son was named from the lessons learned. As juror for this inaugural Distant Ceramics it has been difficult not to view all of the entries through the prism of current events. I thank Dr. Thomas Stollar for the opportunity to spend time with all these artists’ work. He has taken the initiative to create a platform for international artists, who use ceramics in their work, to present the outcomes of current explorations. In essence, he has responded to the sudden absence of a model [physical gallery] that we’ve all become so dependent upon. Stollar’s model has nothing to do with commercializing space. The promotional aspect is simply up to the artists presented here in the first Distant Ceramics exhibition. The objective was to inspire and contribute to our awareness of what kinds of ideas are being shifted about by sleights of hand.
Initially I couldn’t imagine selecting award winners from the artists in this show. This world of art where desire for newness is a strange and beautiful one in spite of questions otherwise. I congratulate all of the artists in the first Distant Ceramics, and the artists who offered their works for consideration. There are three prizes to be awarded for this first Distant Ceramics exhibition. Forget what you think about prizes and awards. Artists are most often uncomfortable with that sort of thing. But the awards I am giving are important. These prizewinners may explain ‘why?’
THE AMACO AWARD WINNERS
Nicholas Jacobsen. If you have been following Nicholas’ forays into the American West and the role that Mormonism has played in the psychological preponderance of all of us who were born and raised in that vast, desolate place, you will applaud this magnificent performance. He isn’t critiquing a religion. He is critiquing himself. He is burrowing deep within his soul to look in the mirror of resemblance. This, I would argue, is a very American impulse. He is working in the company of Richard Wright, Edward Abbey, and James Welch. And although Nicholas is young and untested, his research into “what the hell has gone wrong with my-self” is presented here in all its nakedness. A courage we can all learn from. I highly recommend watching one of his videos. Link here: https://www.nicholasbjacobsen.com/to-be-a-rock.html
Egle Einikyte-Narkeviciene works in Lithuania. Her work draws me to a place where “is that what I think it is?” rests. But “rest” doesn’t mean that it sleeps. It vibrates and cascades in the most slo-motion way possible. Yves Klein’s blue so blue it could never be copyrighted as he tried to do. And by the time I’ve settled into those regions where base meets undulating vertical meets body, I feel so moved by her lithe abstractions and, dare I say, falsehoods. The falsehood of what it might be. The falsehood of how it all began. The falsehood of color so deep it’s painful. Perhaps, even, the falsehood of truth.
Shoji Satake. What the hell can be said about a teacher and maker who wrangles a university job in a conservative place who offers an unflinching critique of the state of broil we’re currently in? Satake has for years played a key role in navigating those cultural boundary-lands where his American students study in China. Add to that, he’s a Japanese American who remembers. Remembers the slights. Remembers so that his ancestors aren’t forgotten in their commitment to the country in which they found themselves. It’s crazy great, his courage and his honing to the various traditions he parlays for all of us to see. He translates these experiences into works, that move us beyond our own prejudices, through the finesse and utter twist of the comic. Go buy a Marvel today. You’ll see what I mean.