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Intricate and Simple: Conversations


BY ALEX THOMAS | PHOTO BY ALEX THOMAS

The Edgewood Gallery is a place where students and the community can view various genres of art and delve into its deeper meaning. Monica Rudquist brings that deeper meaning with her in the porcelain ceramic installation, Conversations, and in this exhibit nothing goes to waste.

The “conversation” that Rudquist is looking to show is between her artwork from the past, featured in the black ceramic pieces from the 1980’s, and the newer ceramic pieces from this past summer. She believes this tracks the growth of herself as an artist.

“This exhibition has given me the opportunity to think specifically about the wide range of conversations influencing my work as it moves into the realm of installations,” Rudquist explained, “I see things as connected rather than separated. I do this in everything in my life.”

Rudquist is becoming an increasingly well known, featured artist in the ceramics world. She creates intricate installations that include cut bowl form pottery and wall installations.

“I became familiar with Monica’s work through Ceramics Monthly, and then again in an exhibit in St. Paul, where she teaches at St. Catherine University,” said David Wells, the Edgewood Gallery director.

Bringing in an accomplished artist like Rudquist gives students an opportunity to see how diverse and creative they can be with their art going forward. The students also get an education in a genre that is not taught at Edgewood. Most of the ceramics taught at Edgewood are stoneware, rather than Rudquist’s porcelain style.

The process of displaying her art seems to be, by no means, easy, but with her intense organization it is straightforward.

“She’s talented.” stated Andrew Ruesch, student gallery worker. ”There was a small room-sized amount of boxes packed with the ceramic pieces, but Monica was so organized we set it up in three days.”

The process of organizing and displaying starts by Rudquist working the porcelain clay on a potter’s wheel by hand-throwing each piece. Once sculpted, these pieces are arranged on a flat surface to create the arrangement before the clay is even dry. This is where the intricacy really takes place as the layout needs to be traced and set up for the gallery.

Once the pieces are fired and prepared, the gallery workers set them up based on photographs, a numbered system, and help from Rudquist herself. To set up each piece, there is not only the nail that goes into the wall, but museum wax is applied, which needs to be held against the wall for multiple seconds. The three day set up was a five person job, including two student workers, Wells, Rudquist, and her husband.

The beauty of these sculpted pieces are that they can be viewed in different ways based on the angle in which you stand.

Wells talked about Bowl Conversations Series 2016 by saying, “Some people have looked at this piece straight on and said, ‘These feel like heads to me’’.

Her art has a floral theme, which is especially prominent in My Mother’s Jewels (2015). This piece shows her childlike interest in her mother and her jewelry, which to her, is common amongst many children.

Rudquist will be on campus tomorrow, September 29th from 4:30 to 7:30pm, to give a presentation that is open to students and the public. The presentation will showcase her work as she talks about her pieces and her past work.

The gallery will also feature three solo faculty shows, with work from their time on sabbatical over the past couple of semesters. Also, there will be another feature show that is titled Rewriting History from the Southern Plains to Matanzas Bay, describing the hardships of the native population in America.

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