The 2007 NMPCA Celebration of Clay Exhibit was held in Albuquerque at the Arts Alliance Gallery.
This show was the first show for the awarding of the Harnack Lancaster Award for excellence in the Ceramic Arts. NMPCA invited Barbara Harnack and Michael Lancaster, the sponsors of the award, to jury all awards for this show, including the Best of Show and three Honorable Mentions. The awards were be announced at the reception for the show, Friday, June 15. Below is a statement by Michael and Barbara about the jurying process:
“We found this show very challenging to judge. Although it is a member’s show, overall the work was of very high quality and could have been juried in. When we arrived we spent the first half of the day observing the show and not speaking to each other, so as not to influence one another. We left the gallery space and met to discuss what we saw. Our first decision was to judge for two separate criteria: first for the best work in the show and second for the Harnack Lancaster Award to find the most innovative work.
“It is important that everyone should understand how much really good work is in this exhibit. We would like to have given out over a dozen more awards for ‘artistic merit’. Overall, we can see the drive and spirit, in the artwork, which demonstrates a group of committed individuals striving to grow and create personal vision of what each individual aspires to – as ceramic art. From our perspective there is no right or wrong, good or bad. There is craft, attention to detail, experience, innovation, creative expression and commitment to excellence; the last being the most challenging to define. Excellence may be the constant and never ending pursuit to grow. It is never an end within itself, yet somehow may translate into a finished art work, only at a level the viewer can intuit.
“In the end of a very long day we chose the Best of show, because it was truly the best, in our judgment, for overall craft and the willingness of the artist to strive to communicate. The three ‘Honorable Mention Awards’ were selected because they were strong expressions of each artist’s dedication to [that] particular expression, albeit each is very different. The Harnack Lancaster Award was chosen for our interpretation of innovation and excellence. In this case it was for boldness and risk taking. If not for boldness and risk taking none of us would ever expand as artists.
“It was an honor for us to judge this show and award the first Harnack Lancaster Award. We will strive to see that this award may be endowed for years to come and inspire ceramic artists, from students to veteran professionals to always challenge themselves to do better. If there was one message we could share, from our thirty plus years each as professional studio ceramists, it is to commit yourself to your art, to let your joy and enthusiasm become unyielding discipline and from this allow your journey to be rich with discovery.”
–Barbara Harnack & Michael Lancaster
Below is a gallery of pieces in the show. Click on an image to see a slideshow of larger images and to show the artist name.