Arts Council of Princeton Opens Ceramics Exhibition, “Beyond Function”

201504553f083c2aae7The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) presents Beyond Function, an exhibition of ceramic work by artists whose work references utilitarian traditions while expressing entirely new formal purposes. Visitors can expect unconventional and imaginative works from six accomplished artists; Ann Agee, Jill Allen, Rebecca Chappell, Jim Jansma, Shellie Jacobson, and Adam Welch.Beyond Function, curated by Madelaine Shellaby, will be on view in ACP’s Taplin Gallery from April 26 – June 6, 2015, with an Opening Reception on Sunday, May 9 from 3-5pm. , 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ. Parking is available in the Spring and Hulfish Street Garages and at metered parking spots along Witherspoon Street and Paul Robeson Place. For more information, please visit or call (609) 924-8777.

In her statement, curator, Madelaine Shellaby writes, “traditional precedents such as vase, plate, domestic design and masonry, as seen through the eyes of artists Ann Agee, Jill Allen, Rebecca Chappell, Jim Jansma, Shellie Jacobson, and Adam Welch, have taken radical turns towards the conceptual, the whimsical, or, perhaps, a reflective reconsideration of history and culture. Their work challenges established definitions of art mediums, and energizes our ideas about clay, installation, and sculpture while highlighting the complex interaction of contemporary disciplines.”

Shellaby is descriptive as she offers insight into the artists’ work, “Ann Agee appropriates traditional design motifs for wall installations that serve as her commentaries on domestic life. Jill Allen playfully imagines objects that, in her words, “groggle, vrt, and orlec” as they mimic functional tools we might use everyday. Employing the vernacular of baskets, Rebecca Chappell’s Fruit Bridges and Baskets connect the practical with the formal. Shellie Jacobson incorporates the sense of wonder she experienced in ancient Petra into her vessel-like sculptures. Rough and ragged, the volcanic surfaces of Jim Jansma’s work are unabashed testimony to the nature and process of fired clay, while their organic forms refer to the gourds used historically for carrying and storing. Adam Welch uses the conventional brick form to address questions on a wide range of topics – labor, color, irony – but primarily our understanding of objectivity.”

Curating Beyond Function with the Arts Council of Princeton, “has meant joining an energetic family (at ACP) with interests and responsibilities flowing in all directions, a group that works together to bring these interests to fruition,” said Shellaby. “It has been a privilege to be a part of the Art Council’s long-standing tradition of engaging the community through art. I welcomed the opportunity to explore an idea of my own and to bring artists with varying styles together to illustrate that underlying idea.”

The Arts Council of Princeton, founded in 1967, is a non-profit organization with a mission of Building Community through the Arts. Housed in the landmark Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, designed by architect Michael Graves, the ACP fulfills its mission by presenting a wide range of programs including exhibitions, performances, free community cultural events, and studio-based classes and workshops in a wide range of media. Arts Council of Princeton programs are designed to be high-quality, engaging, affordable and accessible for the diverse population of the greater Princeton region.

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