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February Issue 2011

Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, NC, Features Works by Karen Karnes

The Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, NC, is presenting A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes, on view in the Museum's Appleby Foundation Gallery, through June 26, 2011.

The Asheville Art Museum is pleased to be one of five museums nationwide to host the first major retrospective of ceramic artist Karen Karnes. For more than 60 years Karnes (1925 ­ ) has been at the forefront of the studio pottery movement. Over her long career, she has created some of the most iconic pottery of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. She has worked in some of the most significant cultural settings of her generation including North Carolina's avant-garde Black Mountain College in the 1950s.

Karnes and her then husband, David Weinrib, were invited in 1952 to head the ceramics program at Black Mountain College. While at Black Mountain College, Karnes sold her pieces through the Allanstand Shop, now part of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. After two years, the couple left Black Mountain and moved to Stony Point, New York. Karnes is noted for her functional pieces as well as her organic sculptural forms. Since 1983, Karnes and her partner, Ann Stannard, have lived on a farm in Vermont.

Karnes's artistic output is recognized for its understated, quietly poetic surfaces and sublime biomorphic forms. From her dramatic salt-glazed pottery of the 1960s and 70s to her most recent complex joined sculptural pieces, Karnes consistently has challenged herself - with the unintentional consequence of irreversibly transforming the medium. She remains one of the most influential working potters and is a mentor to several generations working in the field.

Peter Held, curator of ceramics at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University, shares his enthusiasm for this important exhibition: "Karnes's career mirrors the burgeoning craft field in the United States starting after World War II. In the ensuing years she has produced work that is remarkable for its depth, personal voice and consistent innovation."

This exhibit was organized by Arizona State University Art Museum Ceramics Research Center, Tempe, AZ, and curated by Curator of Ceramics Peter Held. A handsome catalogue with essays by Christopher Benfey, Garth Clark, Jody Clowes, Peter Held, Janet Koplos, Edward Lebow and Mark Shapiro is available for purchase in the Museum Shop.

For further info check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call 828/253-3227 or visit (www.ashevilleart.org).


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