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5 Things To See At Massive Ceramics Conference In Portland

"Deacon", Doug Jeck, ceramic with graphite.

“Deacon”, Doug Jeck, ceramic with graphite.

April Baer/OPB

For three days in March, Portland will be invaded by more than 5,000 fun-loving ceramicists, as the National Conference of Ceramic Educators comes to town. The range of work is astonishing. 

There are hand thrown mugs and pitchers, but also contemporary wall-sized installations using glaze on clay like other artists use paint on canvas, and exquisite porcelain structures that look like they’re made of weightless ribbons.

Brett Binford is co-owner of Mudshark Gallery, Portland Growler Company, and Kept Goods. He’s also the co-founder of Portland’s Eutectic Gallery, which shows a dizzying array of high-quality contemporary ceramic art.

Brett Binford, co-founder of Eutectic Gallery.

Brett Binford, co-founder of Eutectic Gallery.

April Baer/OPB

With 85 exhibitions spread throughout Western Oregon, it’s hard to know where to start. We went to Binford for some recommendations for what to see on from March 22-25. 

  1. Keynote with New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz: “Where are we now? How did we get here? Where are we going? And where does clay fit in?” Binford told us he’s hoping Saltz — who seldom minces words — will address the proliferation of ceramics in the East Coast contemporary gallery scene.
  2. The Evocative Garden: NCECA’s annual exhibition represents some of the top artists in the field, curated by Gail M. Brown. Find it at the north-end gallery Disjecta.
  3. National Student Juried Exhibition: Expect to see collectors on the hunt for up-and-coming talents at this show.
  4. “Duet”, Doug Jeck and Christine Golden, Eutectic Gallery: Seattle’s Doug Jeck is one of the best ceramists in the country. His touch for the human form is honed by thirty years of contemporary practice. Arizonan Christine Golden has been about it for about half that time but shares some of Jeck’s predilection for classical forms made modern. Last year, they met up for a residency that resulted in a startling series of eleven sculptures.
  5. SOW Pick - Bay Area Clay: A Legacy of Social Consciousness: This show at Lewis & Clark College’s Hoffman Gallery includes cutting-edge Bay Area artists like Arthur Gonzalez, Michelle Gregor, Marc Lancet, Richard Notkin, Mark Messenger, Lisa Reinertson, and more.

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