‘The Kiln and the Canvas’ at Powerhouse

Published 6:00 am Sunday, July 17, 2016

The work of two University of Mississippi art graduates is on display inside Oxford’s Powerhouse Community Arts Center at 413 South 14th St.

The paintings of Avery Cordray and pots created by Taylor Mauer are part of an exhibit called “The Kiln and the Canvas.”

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council will host a reception as part of the art crawl Tuesday, July 26, from 6-8 p.m. that is free and open to the public. They will also have an after-party with live music from 8-11 p.m. Admission to the party is $5 and includes drinks.

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Artist Taylor Mauer said her love for the South is the foundation for the pots she creates.

“The South’s pace, rich history, strong tradition, love of food, and the beautiful Delta landscapes have captured my heart,” she wrote, describing her work. “I desire to be a part of these charming Southern qualities, producing pots that reference and talk about this type of lifestyle.

“The South, especially Mississippi, has a reserved and soft nature, so much so that it could be easily missed if you don’t pay attention. But when you stop and look and get to know the people and places that encompass the South, the unassuming qualities of strength and desire are evident.”

Mauer said she strives for the same personality in her work.

“Much like the Delta landscapes, there are no grandiose mountains, yet there is a quiet beauty in the simplicity of the terrain,” she said. “My choice of material is important, with my simplified color palette and use of gold details, referencing the wonderful simplicity and hidden treasures of the South.”

Mauer said she makes functional artwork designed to reflect the history and tradition of gathering around a table with family and friends.

“Food is an important part of people getting together in the South,” she said. “Whether it’s cornbread and milk, biscuits and gravy, or fried pork chops, I want my pieces to accommodate these meals, and bring people to a quiet and unpretentious setting.”

She said her pieces are first thrown on the wheel and then hand-pinched to create texture leaving a rhythmic mark in the work.

“The act of pinching affects the visual pace of the piece, referencing the purposeful pace of life in the South, which I love,” she said. “I make the surfaces bumpy, yet very soft by using terra sigillata. Your finger tips can rest comfortably in the nooks of my pinch marks when eating a bowl of chicken and dumplings or sitting on a large porch drinking a cup of coffee.”

Map paintings?

The second artist, Cordray, compares her paintings to maps.

“Maps can be defined as symbolic depictions of available paths,” she wrote, describing her work. “They can be used to measure the distance between spaces. They can also be used to define the structure of a place.”

She said she’s depicting spaces — real or imagined — using a mental map.

“I use the construction of the map to depict a structure of balance within organized chaos,” she said. “It allows one to navigate through disorder and find order.

“My painting process is sequential and is directed by my thought activity. The erratic energy within my paintings displayed through color and gestural marks relay the energy existent in my mind when I am painting. The multi-facets of my thought are layered obsessively to create a framework of a pulsing momentum.”

To learn more about the exhibit or art events hosted by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, visit oxfordarts.com.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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